WHO has released new guidelines advising against the use of synthetic sweetening agents.
"Replacing free sugars with NSS (Non-Sugar Sweeteners) does not help with weight control in the long term. 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,” says Francesco Branca, WHO Director for Nutrition and Food Safety.
WHO also noted that there may be possible undesirable effects from long-term use of synthetic sweeteners, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The recommendation against the use of NSS 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.
WHO’s recommendation does not apply to personal care and hygiene products containing non-sugar sweeteners - 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 not considered NSS.
The WHO guideline on NSS is part of a suite of existing and upcoming guidelines on healthy diets that aim to establish lifelong healthy eating habits, improve dietary quality, and decrease the risk of noncommunicable diseases worldwide, the UN health agency said.