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The artificial sweetener aspartame, which is consumed by millions every day as a sugar substitute in products such as diet soft drinks, has long been the topic of fierce debate over its impact on health.

On Friday, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified aspartame as "possibly carcinogenic to humans," citing "limited evidence" suggesting a link to cancer.

But the WHO emphasised that it will not change its maximum level of acceptable daily intake of aspartame and that more research is needed.

Here is a brief explainer about the sweetener.

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