The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new guideline on non-sugar sweeteners (NSS), which recommends against the use of NSS to control body weight or reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
recommendation is based on the findings of a systematic review of the available
evidence which suggests that use of NSS does not confer any long-term benefit
in reducing body fat in adults or children. Results of the review also suggest
that there may be potential undesirable effects from long-term use of NSS, such
as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality
free sugars with NSS does not help with weight control in the long term. People
need to consider other ways to reduce free sugars intake, such as consuming
food with naturally occurring sugars, like fruit, or unsweetened food and
beverages,” says Francesco Branca, WHO Director for Nutrition and Food Safety.
"NSS are not essential dietary factors and have no nutritional value.
People should reduce the sweetness of the diet altogether, starting early in
life, to improve their health."
recommendation applies to all people except individuals with pre-existing
diabetes and includes all synthetic and naturally occurring or modified
non-nutritive sweeteners that are not classified as sugars found in
manufactured foods and beverages, or sold on their own to be added to foods and
beverages by consumers. Common NSS include acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame,
cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and stevia derivatives.
recommendation does not apply to personal care and hygiene products containing
NSS, such as toothpaste, skin cream, and medications, or to low-calorie sugars
and sugar alcohols (polyols), which are sugars or sugar derivatives containing
calories and are therefore not considered NSS.
link observed in the evidence between NSS and disease outcomes might be
confounded by baseline characteristics of study participants and complicated
patterns of NSS use, the recommendation has been assessed as conditional,
following WHO processes for developing guidelines. This signals that policy
decisions based on this recommendation may require substantive discussion in
specific country contexts, linked for example to the extent of consumption in
different age groups.
The WHO guideline on NSS is part of a suite of
existing and forthcoming guidelines on healthy diets that aim to establish
lifelong healthy eating habits, improve dietary quality and decrease the risk
of NCDs worldwide.
Source: WHO Website