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Can Artificial Sweetners Cause Cancer?

Artificial sweeteners are food items used in the place of table sugar. They are sweeter and have fewer calories than ordinary sugar. In spite of these benefits, artificial sweeteners are considered to be unsafe by many. Though the United States Food and Drug Administration allows the use of these sweeteners, it is a fact that research done on these food items link them to cancer. This article tries to gain further insight.

The sweeteners approved by the government are saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium and stevia.

S.No. Artificial Sweetner Sweetness when compared to Sugar
1. Table Sugar
1
2. Cyclamate
45 times
3. Aspartame
180 times
4. Saccharin
300 times
5. Sucralose
600 times
6. Neotame
13,000 times

Knowledge Gained from Research about each of these sweeteners: Studies to understand the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners started there can be a possible nexus between cyclamate sweeteners and bladder cancer in particular. But to date no such association is firmly established in human beings.

artificial-sweeteners-1

About Saccharin: Studies on this sweetener started in the 1970s. Laboratory experiments conducted on male rats with this sweetener proved that it may cause bladder cancer in rats. When further studies were carried out in humans in the later years, no such evidence was found. In the year 2000, this sweetener was delisted from the cancer causing substances lists.

About Aspartame: It got approved by the government for the first time in the year 1981. When its status was reviewed in 1996, it was doubted that this sweetener was responsible for an increase in brain tumors between 1975 and 1992 in United States. Again in the year 2005, laboratory research claimed to have established a link between this sweetener and blood cancer. But the links never got clearly established.

About Cyclamate: It was banned in the year 1969 by the FDA. Later studies proved the substance to not be responsible for spreading cancer. It is still in the news as there are petitions filed against it with the FDA. However, these cases are not active anymore.

Sucralose, Neotame, Acesulfame potassium are the sweetners which got clean chit from the government of not being cancer causing agents in recent times. More than 100 safty studies were carried on each of these sweetners and their role in cancer was closely monitored before they were allowed to be sold in the market.

S.No. Artificial Sweetner Year of Approval by FDA
1. Sucralose
1999
2. Neotame
2002
3. Acesulfame Potassium
2002

2 responses to Can Artificial Sweetners Cause Cancer?

  1. I have always stayed away from aspartame, in particular because I have a variant of Phenylketonuria (you may have seen the warnings for phenylketonurics on labels where aspartame is listed).

  2. i thought aspartame can cause cancer in laboratory animals .

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