Losing Weight? Don’t Use Non-Sugar Sweeteners

Various sweeteners on store shelf | Image by Zety Akhzar, Shutterstock

If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t use sugar substitutes, the World Health Organization said in guidelines issued Monday.

The review concluded that non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) have no benefit in reducing body fat. They also added that prolonged use could increase the risk of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

“Replacing free sugars with NSS does not help with weight control in the long term,” Francesco Branca, WHO director for nutrition and food safety, said in a news release. 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.”

NSS have no nutritional value, he said.

“People should reduce the sweetness of the diet altogether, starting early in life, to improve their health,” Branca added.

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

“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,” WHO said in the news release.

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