FSU professor weighs in on aspartame, now considered ‘possibly carcinogenic’ by WHO
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - It’s found in thousands of foods and drinks across the globe. Aspartame has been a staple in the American diet since the 1980s and has been the subject of scientific study for just as long.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization made waves after a committee declared aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic,” citing several studies showing the sweetener could be linked to cancer.
Pradeep Bhide, director of the Center for Brain Repair at Florida State’s College of Medicine, said the WHO’s announcement was not shocking to him.
“I was not at all surprised,” he said.
Bhide co-authored a study in 2022 that linked aspartame to high levels of anxiety in mice. He also found that consuming aspartame left its mark on mice offspring.
“It lingers in the population for two generations, though only the father consumed aspartame,” he said.
He has not studied the sweetener’s possible link to cancer.
The Brain Repair Center director said the WHO committee that determined the new “possibly carcinogenic” label reviewed already-existing studies when coming to that determination, and the conclusion was not unanimous.
“In their opinion, there is concern that aspartame, even consumed within the FDA limits, may contribute to cancer,” he said.
The FDA considers aspartame safe in normal amounts. Reaching the max FDA limit would require drinking double-digit diet sodas a day, Bhide said.
Even still, he has his reservations.
“If you have no need for it, [you are] a normal person without any kind of medical need for artificial sweetener, I would avoid it,” he said.
The FDA came out against the WHO label, arguing the committee used studies with “significant shortcomings” to make its decision.
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