Are Artificial Sweeteners A Public Health Hazard?


  • Rahul Bansal Subharti Medical College Meerut, Uttar Pradesh



It was a shocking news for all of us in India that a 10 year old Patiala girl Manvi died after consuming a cake on her birthday ordered from a local bakery through a food delivery app. Some media reports have blamed high level of saccharine in the cake.(1) According to another media report Health Minister of Punjab has ordered enquiry on her death.

Whatever may have been the reason for this unfortunate event one thing is for sure that there is going to be a review/debate about the safety of these artificial sweeteners which are routinely added to various fast foods to enhance their taste including many soft drinks. Some of the commonly used artificial sweeteners are – aspartame, saccharine, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame-K, and stevia.

Recently a news was published in Times of India - ‘Artificial Sweetener in sodas possibly carcinogenic: WHO’.(2) In this article it was written that – “World Health Organisation agency declared on Thursday that aspartame, an artificial sweetener widely used in diet drinks and low sugar foods could possibly cause cancer. The declaration by WHO agency of a cancer risk associated with aspartame reflects the first time the prominent international body has weighed in publicly on the effects of nearly ubiquitous artificial sweetener. Aspartame has been a contentious ingredient for decades.”


Download data is not yet available.


High saccharine levels found in cake that led to patiala girl’s death: All you need to know about this artificial sweetener (2024) The Indian Express. Available at:,have%20led%20to%20Manvi’s%20death&text=In%20a%20tragic%20incident%20that,ordered%20online%20for%20her%20birthday (Accessed: 30 April 2024).

Agencies / Updated: Jul 15, 2023 (2023) Artificial sweetener aspartame ‘possibly’ carcinogenic: Who - times of India, The Times of India. Available at: (Accessed: 30 April 2024).

Sharma, Arun; Amarnath, S.; Thulasimani, M.; Ramaswamy, S.. Artificial sweeteners as a sugar substitute: Are they really safe?. Indian Journal of Pharmacology 2016;48(3):237-240

Abbott A. Sugar substitutes linked to obesity. Nature. 2014 Sep 18;513(7518):290

Ghusn W, Naik R, Yibirin M (December 29, 2023) The Impact of Artificial Sweeteners on Human Health and Cancer Association: A Comprehensive Clinical Review. Cureus 15(12): e51299

Debras C, Chazelas E, Srour B, Druesne-Pecollo N, Esseddik Y, Szabo de Edelenyi F, et al. (2022) Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk: Results from the NutriNet-Santé population-based cohort study. PLoS Med 19(3): e1003950

Blaylock, R.L. (1997) Excitotoxins: The taste that kills. Santa Fe, NM: Health Press.




How to Cite

Bansal R. Are Artificial Sweeteners A Public Health Hazard?. Indian J Community Health [Internet]. 2024 Apr. 30 [cited 2024 Jul. 24];36(2):159-61. Available from:




Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>