Aspartame, the sweetener found in many foods and fizzy drinks, might soon be classified as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans. However, this label doesn’t provide a clear indication of the level of risk. Other substances, like aloe vera, diesel, and pickled Asian vegetables, also fall into this category. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) made this announcement on July 14.

Aspartame is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, making it a popular choice for calorie-free sweetness. It can be found in diet drinks, chewing gum, and some yogurts, as well as beverages like Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Pepsi Max, and 7 Up Free. Surprisingly, it’s present in around 6,000 different food products.

Despite being approved by food safety authorities, aspartame has sparked controversy. The IARC has reviewed approximately 1,300 studies on aspartame and its potential link to cancer. While it might be classified as “possibly carcinogenic,” this label doesn’t indicate the actual level of risk. The IARC and another expert committee on food additives made official announcements on July 14, along with a publication in the Lancet Oncology journal.