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Do not use sugar substitutes for weight reduction: WHO

May 15, 2023 – People attempting to drop extra pounds shouldn't use sugar substitutes, so-called sugar-free sweeteners, the World Health Organization said in a brand new report.

There is not any evidence that sugar substitutes help reduce body fat and so they may even increase the danger of diabetes or cardiovascular problems, WHO experts said.

Non-sugar sweeteners are sometimes added by manufacturers to drinks and packaged foods, but in addition by consumers on to foods and drinks, for instance by adding a packet to a cup of tea or coffee. The sweeteners that the WHO now advises against are “all synthetic and naturally occurring or modified non-nutritive sweeteners that are not classified as sugars,” the WHO says. new guideline These include the sweeteners acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamate, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and stevia derivatives.

“The replacement of free sugars with [non-sugar sweeteners] does not help with weight control in the long term. People need to consider other ways to reduce free sugar intake, such as eating foods with naturally occurring sugars, such as fruit, or unsweetened foods and beverages,” said Francesco Branca, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Nutrition and Food Safety on the World Health Organization, in a opinion. “[Non-sugar sweeteners] are not essential nutritional factors and have no nutritional value. To improve health, people should completely reduce the sweet part of their diet from an early age.”

According to the WHO, 4 out of ten people worldwide are chubby or obese. Together with the US Department of Agriculture, the WHO recommends that lower than 10% of every day calories should come from sugar. Many people use sugar substitutes to sweeten their drinks and food while still meeting the advice to limit sugar intake.

The latest US Nutritional guidelinespublished in 2020 by the Department of Agriculture indicates that “replacing added sugars with low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners may reduce calorie intake and help with weight control in the short term, but questions remain about their effectiveness as a long-term weight control strategy.”

The recent WHO advice doesn't apply to individuals who have already got diabetes and use sugar-free sweeteners to manage their blood sugar levels. Giving advice to diabetics on the usage of sweeteners goes “beyond the scope” of the brand new advice, the report's authors wrote.