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WHO Says Don’t Take No-Sugar Sweetener

After the pandemic, many Americans have gained a few pounds of weight, especially those who work from home, which is the most significant change from a few years back. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to this weight gain.

Today, WHO 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).

WHO says the use of NSS does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children after its findings of a systematic review of the available pieces of evidence. Results of the review also suggest that there may be unfavorable effects from long-term use of NSS, like an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortalities in adults.

According to WHO, “Replacing free sugars with NSS does not help with weight control in the long term. People need to consider other ways to reduce free sugars [intakes], 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.”

The most common NSS include acesulfame K, aspartame, advantage, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, and stevia derivatives. Some exception applies to personal care and hygiene products like toothpaste, skin cream, and medications or low-calorie sugars and sugar alcohols (polyols) which are sugars or sugar derivatives containing calories are not considered NSS.

The WHO guideline on NSS is for establishing lifelong healthy eating habits, improving dietary quality, and decreasing the unnecessary health risk of NCDs worldwide.

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