WHO says aspartame can cause cancer, Israel issues no warnings

Science and Health

The Health Ministry in Jerusalem has finally commented on the official announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its cancer research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), that there is “certain evidence that shows that there may be a connection between certain types of cancer and the consumption of aspartame, an artificial sweetener that is common in a variety of beverages or diet foods.”

However, the Finance Ministry – under pressure from then-health minister Arye Deri and under intensive criticism from Israeli public health experts – canceled a tax on soft drinks because they are popular among haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Israelis. 

The ministry said on Friday that there is “currently no warning not to consume drinks containing aspartame, but care should be taken not to consume high doses.” It added that its recommendation is to “drink water. In the coming years, a close follow-up will be conducted to examine the relationship between the things.

Best health practices with beverages and food

The best way to maintain health and avoid unnecessary risks is to completely avoid sugary drinks (sugar or artificial sweeteners) and drink water and avoid processed food,” the ministry concluded. 

Diet coke and coke zero bottles. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A few weeks ago, the IARC said that aspartame will be listed as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” and now the WHO has kept its promise.