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FTC Has Pulled up Food Influencers and Brands Over Paid Posts Promoting Artificial Sweeteners

A spokesperson for the American Beverage Association claimed that the group was transparent about the collaboration with the dieticians online. 
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Michael Morse
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Michael Morse

In the age of viral trends, influencers are being paid to market an array of products, and they tend to make a larger impact since things that food influencers promote are more likely to find acceptance among young consumers. In light of the rising clout of social media content creators, The Federal Trade Commission has pulled up two food and beverage industry groups and more than a dozen social media influencers for not being transparent about their paid posts that promote artificial sweeteners and other similar sugary products. 

On the other hand, a spokesperson for the American Beverage Association named William M. Dermody Jr told the Associated Press that the group was transparent about the collaboration with the dieticians and influencers online.

Pexels | Breakingpic
Pexels | Breakingpic

As per The Washington Post, the food and beverage industry has paid many influencers on TikTok as well as Instagram to reportedly spread misinformation about the safety of the artificial sweetener, aspartame. The promotional campaign was intelligently designed to blunt the warnings which were issued by The World Health Organisation. Many influencers claimed that the WHO warnings were not based on proper information and facts. The campaign has reportedly reached more than 11 million people online.


The artificial sweetener is found in a variety of food as well as drinks including sugar-free soda and diet food. As per sources, around 6,000 products in the market use aspartame, while the WHO recommends that one should limit their daily intake of aspartame to 40 mg/kg body weight to avoid cancer-causing effects.

As per nutritionist Rebecca Heald, dietitians should base their advice on credible scientific evidence, but the internet and social media platforms have been known to amplify unverified claims and sensational information.

Limited intake of aspartame is not harmful to humans as it has undergone extensive safety testing and is considered safe for consumption by regulatory agencies like the FDA and EFSA. However, some individuals may have specific sensitivities or allergies to aspartame, resulting in adverse reactions.

A large quantity of aspartame can cause headaches as well as allergic reactions. Some studies have even found that it can disrupt natural appetite, potentially leading to overeating or cravings for sweeter, high-calorie foods, which, in turn, may affect gut health and contribute to weight gain.


Two separate committees at the World Health Organisation examined aspartame. The International Agency for Research on Cancer used a system to rank the potential of aspartame to cause cancer and it landed on 2B which means "possibly carcinogenic to humans."  The other committee however said that the evidence was not enough or convincing to prove that aspartame consumption and cancer are related. 

The bottom line is everything should be consumed in moderation and aspartame is no exception. It's a good idea to avoid the artificial sweeteners as much as possible. For starters, one should start reading the labels on any food item or beverage and conducting their own research instead of taking an influencer's word on it.