WHO Says No to Artificial Sweeteners for Weight Loss

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Artificial sweeteners linked to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and early death in adults

By Physician’s Briefing Staff HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Sugar substitutes are not effective for weight loss and may also cause harm, warns the World Health Organization.

Long-term use of sugar substitutes may cause “potential undesirable effects,” according to new WHO guidance. This can include an “increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in adults.”

Consuming foods and beverages with ingredients like saccharin or sucralose or adding them to foods “does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children,” the WHO said after completing a systematic review.

Among the artificial sweeteners WHO officials considered were acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, and stevia derivatives.

“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,” said Francesco Branca, WHO director for nutrition and food safety. Artificial sweeteners “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.”

These recommendations do not apply to people who already have diabetes. That group was not included in the review.

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