These Soft Drinks Contain Aspartame which are ‘Possible Carcinogenic’

Have you been taking these soft drinks and don’t know they contain the sweetener Aspartame? The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says aspartame, one of the most common artificial sweeteners, is a possible carcinogen. It’s a harmful substance and may affect your liver and kidney at the long run.

These Soft Drinks Contain Aspartame  which are ‘Possible Carcinogenic’

The announcement, made on Thursdays, came after reports of an imminent declaration had begun circulating.

In 2023, for the first time, WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that aspartame should be categorized as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” due to a potential link to liver cancer.

To arrive at the determination, the IARC, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer research arm, conducted an evaluation of the impact of aspartame – based on scientific data collected from a range of sources, including peer-reviewed papers, governmental reports and studies conducted for regulatory purposes.

By 1973, aspartame joined the growing artificial sweetener market, and today we also know it by such brand names as Equal, NuraSweet or Sugar Twin.

Aspartame is a non-nutritive sweetener, meaning it contains an extremely tiny or zero amounts of carbohydrates and doesn’t provide the body with energy – or calories- as sugar does. However, unlike some artificial sweeteners that are excreted from the body nearly unchanged, aspartame is metabolized and has about 4 calories per gram.

Aspartame is one of the six non-nutritive sweeteners approved by the US Foods and Drugs Administration. The others are acesulfame potassium (sold as Sunett and Sweet One), saccharin (sold as Sweet’N Low, Sweet Twin and Necta Sweet), sucralose (sold as Splenda), neotame (sold as Newtame), and advantame (sold as Advantame).

Two of the six, neotame and advantame, are derived from aspartame but have no calories and are much, much sweeter. While aspartame is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, neotame is up to 13,000 times sweeter and advantame is 20,000 times sweeter than sugar.

So you see that sweeteners can be purchased for use in restaurants and homes, but manufacturers often combine a variety of each into their diet drinks and foods to develop a unique taste, according to the American Beverage Association, an industry association that has published an extensive report on aspartame.

So what is this Aspartame?

Aspartame is an odourless white powder discovered in 1965 by James Schlatter, a US chemist. It is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, which means only a small amount is needed to sweeten foods and beverages. Because it is only required in small quantities, it is used as a substitute for sugar in most soft drinks.


The ingredient is approved for use in Nigeria as a non-nutritive sweetener with an acceptable daily intake of 40mg/kg of body weight.

The low –calorie sugar substitute is also approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency, and many other countries.

While aspartame has been used for decades, there have been several controversies around the ingredient. For instance, a 2017 review of studies found evidence that suggested those who regularly consume sweeteners, including aspartame, might be at greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

A number of studies have found correlations between artificial sweeteners and various health issues, such as migraines, depression, heart disease, cognitive, behavioral and developmental issues, and the development of dementia, diabetes and cancer.

Is aspartame harmful to the body?

 In july 2023, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. The World Health Organization/FAO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives reaffirmed the acceptable daily intake of 40mg/kg body weight.

Why you should avoid Aspartame?

One of the 2022 studies from France of 100,000 adults showed that people who consumed food or beverages with lot of artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, had a slightly higher cancer risk than those who consumed fewer sweeteners.

Is aspartame bad for kidneys?

Although aspartame may have a positive effect in obesity as low-calorie, non-weight-bearing dietary alternatives, historical analysis proved that it produces severe cellular toxicity especially in liver and kidney. The toxicological effects performed mechanically via inflammatory and apoptotic pathways.

See some of the Drinks that contains Aspartame

Even though aspartame is largely associated with Diet Coke, some the drinks that contain aspartame include;

·       Diet Coke

·       Coca-Cola Zero Sugar

·       Sprite Zero Sugar

·       Fanta Orange –Zero Sugar

·       Schweppes Ginger

·       Schweppes Pineapple with Malt Extract

·       Schweppes Bitter Lemon

·       Red Bull Sugar-Free

·       Pepsi Max

·       Fanta Zero

·       7Up Zero Sugar

·       7Up Free

Past rulings made by the IARC on other substances had raised concerns among consumers, leading to lawsuits, and forcing manufacturers to recreate recipes and shifts to alternatives.

WHO said it will continue to monitor new evidence and encourage independent research groups to develop further studies on the potential association between aspartame exposure and consumer health effects.

Lastly, aspartame today may be part of 6,000 food products sold worldwide, according to the Calorie Control Council. The sweetener is frequently found in carbonated diet beverages and sodas such as those listed above.

Aspartame, or a mixture of the sweetener with others, is often refrigerated and unrefrigerated ready-to-drink beverages such as low-calorie coffee sweeteners and low-calorie juices and drink mixes.

What’s more, the low-calorie sweetener is found in sugar-free salad dressings, sugar-free cocoa mixes, instant gelatins and puddings, low-calorie ice cream, and much more. Aspartame is also found in some toothpaste, suagr-free cough drops and some multivitamins and drugs.