HomeConsum-actorsAspartame, the probable carcinogen in chewing gum and soft drinks

Aspartame, the probable carcinogen in chewing gum and soft drinks

The synthetic sweetener aspartame (E 951) - classified as a 'probable carcinogen', as of July 2023 by IARC (International Agency for the Research on Cancer, WHO) and reported as source of various health risks – is still widespread in the chewing gum and energy drink sugar-free, other than sodas'diet'. Some examples, among leader market and discount.

1) Diet Coke, Pepsi DietCole and sodas low-cost of the  discount

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo they insist on using aspartame in their versions 'diet' and/or 'sugar-free', after obtaining confirmation from the JECFA (FAO-WHO) committee of the acceptable daily intake of aspartame established in 1981 (40 mg/kg body weight), a few weeks after the alarm raised by IARC, the WHO agency for research on cancer. (1)

US Right to Know explains the contradiction between the assessments of IARC and JEFCA by noting the links of some experts of the latter committee with Coca-Cola and ILSI, the 'scientific' arm of big sodas e Big food. If this hypothesis were confirmed – and suspicions are not lacking, as we have seen (2) -, JEFCA's conclusions would be tainted by the conflict of interests.

LIDL and Eurospin (discount Italian) in turn offer drinks low-cost Cola-flavoured, sugar-free with aspartame:

– Freeway cola zero, under the LIDL brand,

– Blues Cola zero, Eurospin.

2) Energy drink, Red Bull and discount

- energy drink sugar-free with aspartame in turn are products under the brands of leader of market and of discount:

– Red Bull sugar free,

– LIDL, Kong Strong energy,

– Eurospin, Energy drink with taurine.

Il retail in Italy it has instead already eliminated aspartame from soft drinks ed energy drink own brand (private labels).

3) Chewing gum, sugar free with aspartame

I chewing gum sugar-free with aspartame crowd the market. Perfetti-van Melle – one of the three global giants – is leader absolute sales in Italy, with a number of brands of chewing gum:

– Vigorsol,

– Vivident,

– Mentos,

– Daygum,

– Brooklyn,

– Happydent.

All tires 'sugar-free' chews of the aforementioned Perfetti van Melle brands still contain aspartame. LIDL and Eurospin, also in this category of products, offer sugar-free products with aspartame.

microtech daygum with aspartame
instawhite daygum with aspartame
Brooklyn gum with aspartame
daygum protex with aspartame
Mentos Pure Fresh with aspartame
vivident with aspartame
vigorsol air action with aspartame
Jetgum LIDL with aspartame
eurospin extrafresh gum with aspartame
eurospin xylitol gum with aspartame

3.1) Perfetti van Melle, the '100% xylitol' deception

Perfect van Melle it also slips on an exemplary deception that in the USA would have already caused one class action millionaire. 'Vivident 100% Xylitol' gums – in defiance of the promise contained in the product name itself – are not sweetened exclusively with xylitol.

'Vivident '100% xylitol' of Perfetti van Melle in fact, according to what is reported in the ingredients list, contain 99,4% (64% in the previous formula still reported on some sites E-commerce) of xylitol, but also aspartame (0,6%) and acesulfame k (0,03%).

Vivident 100% Xylitol contains aspartame

Customers who buy these chewing gum trusting only in the presence of the bulk sweetener xylitol, generally considered safe - albeit with some doubts for the health of the microbiota (Jodi et al., 2020. See paragraph 4.7 below) - they thus find themselves forced to take the aforesaid intensive sweeteners.

Marta Strinati


(1) Marta Strinati. Aspartame is a possible carcinogen, according to IARC. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(2) Marta Strinati. Aspartame, the shadow of Coca-Cola and Big Soda on the advice of the WHO additives committee. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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