The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a new guideline on non-sugar sweeteners such as saccharin or stevia in which it advises against their use for controlling body weight.
The recommendation is based on the results of a systematic review of the available evidence, which suggests that the use of sweeteners does not provide any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children.
The review results also suggest that long-term use of these products may have potentially undesirable effects, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and adult mortality.
They do not help in controlling weight
“Substituting unsweetened sweets for free sugars does not seem to help with weight control in the long term. People should consider other ways to reduce their intake of free sugars, such as eating foods with natural sugars, such as fruit, Or eating non-sugary foods. And beverages. Sweetened foods,” said Francesco Branca, WHO director of nutrition and food safety.
Likewise, experts assure that they have no nutritional value. “Non-sugar sweeteners are not an essential dietary factor and have no nutritional value. People should completely eliminate sweet flavors from their diets from an early age to improve their health.”
This recommendation applies to all people, except those with pre-existing diabetes, and includes all synthetic and natural or modified non-nutritive sweeteners that are not classified as sugar and are found in food and beverages. or are sold plain for use. Consumers add them to food and beverages.
They advise against stevia or saccharin.
Common non-nutritive sweeteners include acesulfame K, aspartame, avantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, and stevia derivatives.
This recommendation does not apply to hygiene and personal care products containing these sweeteners, such as toothpaste, skin creams and medicines, nor to sugars and low-calorie sugar alcohols (polyols), which are sugars or sugar derivatives that contain calories and That’s why the one without sweetness is not considered sweet.
Because the evidence-based link between sweeteners and disease outcomes may be confounded by baseline characteristics of study participants and complex patterns of use of these substances, the recommendation is assessed as conditional, following WHO processes for guideline development.
This indicates that policy decisions based on this recommendation may need to be discussed in specific national contexts, for example, as to the extent of consumption in different age groups.
The WHO Guidelines on Unsweetened Sweeteners is one part of existing and future guidelines on healthy diets that aim to establish lifelong healthy eating habits, improve diet quality and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases in all.