Geneva, 15 May, 2023 , The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a new guideline on non-sugar sweeteners, in which it advises against their use to control body weight or reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The recommendation is based on the results of a systematic review of the available evidence, which suggests that the use of non-sugar sweeteners provides no long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children. The review results also suggest that long-term use may have potentially undesirable effects, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and adult mortality.
“Substituting free sugars with sweeteners 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 without Eating cooked foods and beverages.” Francesco Branca, WHO’s director of nutrition and food safety. “Sugar-free sweeteners are not an essential dietary factor and lack nutritional value. People should completely eliminate sweeteners from their diets from an early age to improve their health,” he added.
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 that are added to manufactured foods and beverages. are found in, or are sold to, consumers. for food and beverages. Common non-nutritive sweeteners include acesulfame-K, aspartame, avantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, and stevia derivatives.
The recommendation does not apply to hygiene and personal care products containing non-sugar sweeteners, such as toothpaste, skin creams and medicines, nor to sugars and low-calorie sugar alcohols (polyols), which are sugars or sugar derivatives. Sugar contains calories. And therefore they are not considered unsweetened sweets.
Because the evidence-based link between non-sugar sweeteners and disease outcomes may be confounded by baseline characteristics of study participants and confounding patterns of use of these sweeteners, the recommendation is assessed as conditional, WHO for guideline development after procedures.
This indicates that policy decisions based on this recommendation may require significant discussion in specific national contexts, for example, as to the extent of consumption in different age groups.
The WHO guideline on unsweetened sweeteners is part of a set of existing and future guidelines on healthy diets that aim to establish lifelong healthy eating habits, improve diet quality and reduce the risk of NCDs worldwide.