Sugar substitutes not advised for weight loss or disease prevention, says World Health Organization


The World Health Organization (WHO) Not too sweet on the use of sugar substitutes for weight loss or disease prevention.

In the new guidance, the WHO has specifically recommended against the intended use of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS). Control body weight or reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases.

In a May 15 press release announcing the new report, Francesco Branca, WHO director for nutrition and food security in Geneva, Switzerland, said, “Replacing free sugars with NSS does not help weight control in the long term. ”

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“People need to consider other ways to reduce their intake of free sugars, such as eating foods with naturally occurring sugars, such as fruit, or unsweetened foods and drinks,” he added. .

The director also said that non-sugar sweets have no nutritional value.

In new guidance released on May 15, the WHO recommends against the use of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) for the purposes of controlling body weight or reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases. (iStock)

“People should completely reduce dietary sweeteners early in life to improve their health,” advises Branca.

The WHO recommendations are based on a “systematic review” of 283 unique studies that measured the health effects of sugar substitutes in adults, infants and children. pregnant women.

In addition to determining that NSS use is not effective in reducing body fat, the review found that long-term consumption of sugar substitutes could potentially lead to increased risk. heart diseaseType 2 diabetes and mortality in adults, WHO said.

“Replacing free sugars with NSS does not help weight control in the long term.”

According to the press release, the recommendation applies to “all synthetic and naturally occurring or modified non-nutritive sweeteners” that are not classified as added sugars in manufactured foods and beverages, or that are consumed by consumers. are sold by themselves for inclusion in food and beverages.

Packets of sugar

Shown is an array of both artificial and natural sweeteners, including Splenda, Sweet ‘N Low, Equal, Truvia, Stevia in the Raw and Plain Sugar. (iStock)

Popular types of NSS include aspartame, acesulfame K, advantame, neotame, cyclamates, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and stevia derivatives.

The new guidance does not apply to low-calorie sugars or sugar alcohols (polyols).

Lifestyle factors may come into play, experts say

After reviewing the WHO findings, registered dietitian Erin Plinsky-Wade, a nutrition consultant Based in New York CityAdvised caution about drawing subjective recommendations and conclusions from studies that “show association and not causation.”

“Sometimes, the same population that is already seeking the use of NSS is a population that may be involved in other dietary and lifestyle factors that may increase the risk of obesity,” he told Fox News Digital. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

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“This may include individuals who consume a low diet of fruits and vegetables and drink large amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages or individuals who engage in less daily physical activity,” he added.

A woman with diabetes

The new WHO guidelines do not apply to people with pre-existing diabetes. (iStock)

It’s also possible that people who are genetically at greater risk for these conditions had parents or caregivers who also engaged in NSS in hopes of losing weight or managing blood sugar, Plinski-Wade explained. .

“Without knowing more Lifestyle factors Which can affect body weight, body composition and disease risk, making it difficult to say what the benefits are [that] NSS may or may not offer,” he concluded.

‘Operation and diversity are key’

In her own nutrition practice, Plinsky-Wade tailors NSS intake recommendations to each individual’s health goals and needs.

“As with any food or nutrient, moderation and variety are key,” she said. “I recommend reducing added sweeteners, both caloric and non-caloric, whenever possible and adding more whole foods when available.”

“As with any food or nutrient, moderation and variety are key.”

For those who choose to use NSS, Palinski-Wade recommends adding a mixture of types, such as monk fruit extract, stevia and others, to prevent excessive intake of any one particular sweetener.

“NSS may offer benefits such as reducing the impact on blood sugar levels and reducing the caloric intake of certain foods, but it also involves consistently engaging in many health behaviors to improve body composition and reduce disease risk. needs to be done — from increasing fiber to adding daily. physical activity, along with reducing added sugars in the diet,” he said.

A person eating fruit

“People need to consider other ways to reduce their intake of free sugars, such as eating foods with naturally occurring sugars, such as fruit, or unsweetened foods and drinks,” said the WHO director. substances,” said the WHO director. (iStock)

“NSS alone will not improve health, but can be included as part of a meal plan that promotes health benefits.”

Calorie Control Council (CCC) in Atlanta, GeorgiaContinues to support the use of low- and no-calorie options as a safe and effective means of reducing sugar and calorie consumption.

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“This is supported by a large body of scientific evidence, supported by the world’s highest-ranking health and regulatory agencies, which have been responsible for these,” said Robert Rankin, president of the Calorie Control Council, in a statement to Fox News Digital. Validate the role of ingredients.” .

“Along with exercise and a healthy diet, low- and no-calorie sweeteners are an important tool that can help consumers manage body weight and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.”

The recommendation did not include people with diabetes

WHO’s new guidance does not apply to people with Pre-existing diabetesThe press release said.

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Dr. Keith Ayoub said, “It is surprising that people living with diabetes, for whom non-sugar sweeteners can play a particularly important role in meeting essential dietary requirements, were not considered when developing these guidelines. was not conveniently considered,” Dr. Keith Ayoub, scientific adviser for the Washington, DC-based Calorie Control Council, said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

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“Their doing so dismisses the value and utility of non-sugar sweeteners for individuals with diabetes and pre-diabetes, which make up more than 10% of the world’s population,” he added.

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