The World Health Organization (WHO) states that sweeteners are not effective for long-term weight control and may have unwanted effects when used over a long period of time. Among them, they highlighted an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and mortality among adults.
For this reason, he advised against its use and explained that, in general, people should reduce sweets from their diet, and do so from an early age, in order to enjoy better health.
“Replacing free sugars (refined and natural present in fruits, honey and others) with sweeteners does not provide any long-term benefit in terms of reducing body fat in adults or children,” said the global public health governing body.
Specific products that are discouraged include acesulfame K, aspartame, avantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, as well as stevia and its derivatives.
“People need to consider other ways of reducing their intake of free sugar, such as eating foods that naturally contain sugars, such as fruit; or food and drink that are not sweetened,” said Francesco Branca, WHO director of nutrition and food safety.
This recommendation applies to everyone except those with pre-existing diabetes.
Similarly, the WHO points out that this new recommendation for weight control includes synthetic, natural or modified sweeteners, “that are not classified as sugars. These are found in industrial foods and beverages» or that are sold separately.
On the other hand, the organization clarified that its position regarding sweeteners does not apply to personal hygiene products. These include toothpaste, skin cream or medicines.
It also does not mean low calorie sugar or sugar alcohol. These are derived from sugar and contain calories, so they are not considered sweeteners.
This set of recommendations is based on the findings of a review of the scientific evidence. Likewise, it is part of WHO’s efforts to encourage countries to adopt policies that favor healthy eating habits and quality diets.