Bahama Times

Friday, Mar 01, 2024

WHO warns against long-term health risks of artificial sweeteners

WHO warns against long-term health risks of artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners won’t help with weight loss and may raise the risk of diabetes, heart disease and death, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

Sugar substitutes such as stevia, aspartame and sucralose do not help people lose weight in the long run and may instead pose health risks, the World Health Organization has warned.

A systematic review of the available evidence "suggests that use of NSS [non-sugar sweeteners] does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children,” the WHO said in a statement.

“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 in adults,” it added.

Francesco Branca, WHO director for nutrition and food safety, said replacing sugars with artificial sweeteners "does not help with weight control in the long term,” and instead, “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”.

Artificial sweeteners are “not essential dietary factors and have no nutritional value,” Branca emphasised.

“People should reduce the sweetness of the diet altogether, starting early in life, to improve their health”.

Last year, a large study in France flagged a possible link between artificial sweeteners and an increased risk of cancer. And national health organisations such as Canada’s have long warned that zero-calorie or low-calorie sugar substitutes are neither necessary nor helpful.


Aspartame, stevia, sucralose all targeted


“Sugar substitutes do not need to be consumed to reduce the intake of free sugars,” the guidelines say, adding that, because “there are no well-established health benefits associated with the intake of sweeteners, nutritious foods and beverages that are unsweetened should be promoted instead”.

The WHO discourages the consumption of “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”.

That includes acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and stevia derivatives.

The recommendations do 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). These sugars or sugar derivatives do contain calories - they are therefore not considered sugar substitutes - and are commonly present in various food products such as sugar-free chewing gum and sugar-free candy.


New guidance sparks criticism


WHO’s new guidance applies to all people except those with pre-existing diabetes.

However, WHO emphasised it had been assessed “as conditional” due to the diversity of participants in the studies that formed the basis for its conclusions, as well as the very complex consumption habits of sugar-free sweeteners.

Some nutrition experts have quickly jumped in to point these out, saying the new guidelines were largely based on observational studies that do not establish a direct link between sweeteners and weight control.

First of all, it is important to understand the WHO’s advice “is to governments and policymakers, not to individuals,” said Tom Sanders, a professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King's College London.

However, because of the way they have been presented, people are taking these recommendations as direct advice, he told Euronews Next, adding he expects them to create “a lot of confusion amongst consumers”.

“On one hand, they are being told by government, ‘avoid sugar-sweetened beverages,’ and on the other, ’well, actually you shouldn't be drinking artificial sweeteners’”.

The WHO’s review “does not really show any definite adverse effects, and they do sort of miss out on quite an important one, which is dental caries in children,” Sanders added, noting there is “clear evidence” that replacing sugar sweeteners does help with dental care.

Sanders criticised the guidance for not taking into account “the real-world situation,” particularly in the field of dietetics.

“Sometimes what you're trying to do is get people to control their weight, which is to reduce their calorie intake, and it can help if people are drinking a full sugary drink to switch to a reduced-calorie drink or zero-calorie drink,” he explained.

Indeed, artificial sweeteners have no nutritional value, but a lot of other things in our diet, like tea or coffee, also don’t, he said, “but, you know, people drink them rather than just drink water because they like the taste of it”.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Bahama Times
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×