WHO Says People Shouldn’t Use Artificial Sweeteners To Control Weight

WHO Issues Warning On Artificial Sweeteners

(LibertySociety.com) – After conducting a meta-analysis of previous research studies of non-sugar sweeteners, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidance for them, recommending against their use for losing weight. Instead, they recommend eating healthy foods that have naturally occurring sugar and drinks that are not sweetened, excluding people who have Type II diabetes from the guidance. The WHO Director for Nutrition and Food Safety was quoted saying that these types of sweeteners “have no nutritional value.” The announcement also stated that such items could be associated with a number of health risks, including diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

These sweeteners are often present in diet beverages and processed, pre-packaged foods, with names that most people are familiar with, such as aspartame and stevia. Erythritol is another sweetener that is not recommended and is often mixed with other artificial sweeteners to reduce the cooling effect that it produces in the mouth. The analysis found that the use of these sweeteners “does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat,” adding that this guidance is for children and adults.

The WHO instead encourages people to avoid over-consumption of any type of sweetness in their diets, also recommending implementing this practice as early in life as possible. The organization is not targeting any single sweetener in their guidance, instead recommending avoiding all of them, which would exclude all diet sodas currently on the market. Ingredients like aspartame and sucralose are popular sweeteners for beverages.

The WHO guidance was not received well by the Calorie Control Council, which issued a statement in disagreement, noting that the conditional tag on the recommendation is indicative of a lack of certainty from the organization. The Council cited a vast amount of research from various agencies, including the FDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has deemed these sweeteners to be safe and effective.

Another group called the International Sweeteners Association blasted the guidance, calling out the WHO for using studies that were conducted through observation rather than experimentation, also noting the uncertain nature of the results of the meta-analysis.

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