Aspartame, an artificial sweetener commonly used in carbonated drinks like Coca-Cola, ice cream, chewing gum, and other products, is set to be declared as ‘a possible carcinogen’ by WHO, as per a Reuters report. Earlier, WHO had already warned about this artificial sweetener.

What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is an odourless, white powder-like non-nutritive sweetener (NNS) that is sweeter than normal sugar, used in products, even those that say no sugar, sugar-free, no or low calorie, states Healthline Media. Aspartame contains amino acids - aspartic acid and phenylalanine.

How does Aspartame affect the body?

According to Healthline Media, when aspartame is ingested, it breaks into methanol. Methanol production can also be caused by some fruits, aerated drinks, and some vegetables.

When aspartame is heated it causes free methanol and may pose a threat if consumed regularly, forming formaldehyde, a known carcinogen and neurotoxin, in the body.

People with phenylketonuria (PKU), an inherited disorder, are suggested to avoid products containing aspartame. They are not able to digest phenylalanine fully: hence, dangerous levels are present in the body.