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WHO’S Stance on Non-Sugar sweeteners Worries Users

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The world Health organization (WHO) has advised people that consuming free-sugars with non-sugar sweeteners(NSS) does not help with weight control in the long term.

The newly released WHO guidelines on NSS followed careful review of evidence that suggest that “use of NSS does not necessarily confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children.

According to Francesco Branca, the director for nutrition and food safety at the WHO, people need to consider other ways to reduce free sugar intake such as consuming food with naturally occurring sugars or unsweetened food.


She also added that nonon sugar sweeteners that people have been adopted to are not essential dietory factors and hence no nutritional value .

WHO reported that there maybe potential undesirable effects from long-term use of NSS and the named effects include increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mortality in adults.

The recommendation applies to all people except individuals with pre-existing diabetes and includes 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.

Common NSS include acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and stevia derivatives.

The recommendation does 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), which are sugars or sugar derivatives containing calories and are therefore not considered NSS.


However, Vicky Pyrogianni, a Dietitian and Nutrition Science Director, International Sweeteners Association (ISA) says WHO’S advise on Non-Sugar sweeteners does not conform with evidence.

Evidence from higher quality research reviewed recently by WHO supports the useful role of low/no calorie sweeteners in sugar and energy reduction and, in turn, in weight loss, despite a draft recommendation by WHO suggesting against their use in weight control

A large battery of controlled clinical trials confirming beneficial effects of low/no calorie sweeteners’ use in place of sugars on post-prandial glycaemia and dental health have not been considered in this draft guideline.

The draft recommendation by WHO may be confusing for people with diabetes for whom low/no calorie sweeteners are a useful dietary aid to manage their carbohydrate and sugar intake

On 15th July 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its draft guideline on the use of non-sugar sweeteners aiming to provide guidance on their intake for the general population, especially regarding their impact on weight control and non-communicable diseases. As highlighted by WHO, the assessment of the safety of low/no calorie sweeteners, which has been repeatedly confirmed by food safety authorities around the world, including the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), was not within the scope of the WHO guideline. All approved low/no calorie sweeteners are safe within the established Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) levels.

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