The WHO advises against the use of sweeteners to control weight

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a new guide with recommendations on non-sugar sweeteners, in which he advises against their use to control body weight or reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.

The warning is based on the results of a systematic review of the available evidence, which suggest that the use of sugar-free sweeteners does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children.

also the report also argues that there may be potential unwanted long-term effects from using these sweeteners, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and adult mortality.

“Replacing free sugars with sweeteners does not help with long-term weight management. People should consider other ways to reduce their intake of free sugars, such as eating foods with natural sugars, such as fruit, or sugar-free foods and drinks,” said Francesco Branca, WHO Director of Nutrition and Food Safety, in a statement. guide note.

The recommendation includes all synthetic and natural or modified non-nutritive sweeteners that are not classified as sugars.

“Sugar-free sweeteners are not essential dietary components and lack nutritional value. People should completely reduce the sweetening of food from an early age to improve health”, says the expert.

The advice is addressed to all persons, except those with pre-existing diabetes, and includes all synthetic and natural or modified non-nutritive sweeteners that are not classified as sugars and are found in processed foods and beverages or sold plain to consumers. add them to food and drinks.

Among the most common non-nutritive sweeteners are acesulfame-K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and their derivatives.

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Among the most common non-nutritive sweeteners are aspartame, cyclamates, saccharin, sucralose or stevia.

However, the alert does not apply to hygiene and personal care products that contain sugar-free sweeteners, such as toothpastes, skin creams and medications. It also does not apply to low-calorie sugars and sugar alcohols (polyols), which are sugars or sugar derivatives that contain calories and therefore are not considered sugar-free sweeteners.

conditional evaluation

As the link seen in the evidence between sugar-free sweeteners and disease outcomes may be conditioned by baseline characteristics of study participants and complicated patterns of sweetener use, the recommendation was assessed as conditional, following WHO processes for developing such sweeteners. guidance.

This means that policy decisions based on this recommendation may require in-depth discussion in specific country contexts related, for example, to the level of consumption in different age groups.

WHO instructions on non-sweetened sweeteners form part of a set of existing and future standards on healthy diets, whose objective is to establish healthy eating habits for life, improve the quality of the diet and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases all around the world

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