The World Health Organization warned Monday against the use of artificial sweeteners to control body weight or reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases, saying their long-term use is ineffective and could pose health risks.
These sugar substitutes, when taken in the long term, do not reduce body fat in either adults or children. WHO said in a recommendationadding that continued consumption can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in adults.
“The recommendation applies to all people except individuals with pre-existing diabetes and includes all non-nutritive artificial, natural, or modified sweeteners that are not classified as sugars found in processed foods and beverages, or sold on their own for addition to foods and beverages by consumers,” the WHO said. Globalism.
The WHO recommendation is based on a review of available evidence, the agency said, and is part of a set of guidelines for healthy diets being published.
Some examples of sweeteners include aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and stevia. The WHO declaration contradicts previous studies that said These sweeteners do not provide any health benefits, but they also do not cause any harm.
Nutrition research is constantly evolving and findings are being updated with stronger data, said Stephanie McBurnett, RD, registered dietitian and nutrition educator with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Examining the effects of saturated fats and other parts of the diet may provide people with more insight into the general causes behind some of the health problems that have been blamed on sugar.
“It’s not surprising to me that the World Health Organization hasn’t really found any difference in health benefits between regular soda and diet soda,” said Ms. Burnett, a licensed registered dietitian and nutritionist. “Both are processed foods.” “If you look at the causes of these chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity, sugar is not always the only factor,” she added.
The WHO recommendation does not directly affect the policy of any individual country. Ms. McBurrent said the FDA, for example, might take that guidance into consideration and establish its own concerns or adjust labeling. But she is not obligated to do so either.
The US Food and Drug Administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The WHO said the WHO recommendation was currently considered conditional.
“This indicates 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 statement said.
The World Health Organization said the recommendation does not extend to personal care and hygiene products that include artificial sugars such as toothpaste, skin creams and medicines. It also does not include the low-calorie sugars and sugar alcohols that come from sugar itself.
“People need to consider other ways to reduce their intake of free sugars, such as eating foods that contain naturally occurring sugars, such as fruit, or unsweetened foods and drinks,” said Francesco Branca, WHO’s director of nutrition and food safety. He said that sugar-free sweeteners “are not essential nutritional factors and have no nutritional value. People should completely reduce the sweetness of the diet, beginning early in life, to improve their health.”