According to the World Health Organization, non-sugar sweeteners are, in fact, not as healthy as you may think.
More specifically, they cautioned against using sugar substitutes for dropping the pounds such as Splenda, stevia, and Sweet’n Low, and warned against the potential long term health hazards of excessive use.
Except for people with diabetes, everyone should follow this advice.
Since consumers view artificial sweeteners as an alternative to sugar, their use has increased.
The WHO advice, however, adds to the mounting worry over the possible detrimental long-term health effects of sugar alternatives.
The WHO’s examination of research on non-sugar sweeteners, revealed a lack of agreement about their efficacy for weight reduction or maintenance.
The evaluation made use of information from small studies that suggested a link between sugar replacements and a higher Type 2 diabetes risk, cardiovascular illness, and mortality.
According to dietitian Alissa Rumsey, author of “Unapologetic Eating,” another paper from a few months prior revealed that the artificial sweetener erythritol, which is acceptable for use in the keto diet, may raise cardiovascular health risks.
However, according to the expert, “it’s not apparent if it’s truly the sweeteners causing the rise or another variable that wasn’t accounted for.”
This study comes after others on artificial sugar that were published recently and identified issues with heart disease and glycemic response.
The WHO’s conclusions, according to a spokeswoman for the International Sweeteners Association via Axios, are “disappointed that they are mostly based on poor confidence data from observational studies.”
The organization distributed a statement in opposition to the WHO recommendation.
Sugar replacements may pose some problems since they may encourage bad eating habits.
Rumsey stated that consuming artificially sweetened food knowingly may add to the “concept that it’s healthier for me so I can eat as much as I want.”
In the meantime, sugar substitutes don’t provide the same level of satisfaction as real sugar, which “for some people, leads to them continuing to eat and graze on foods to attempt to obtain that sensation of fulfillment,” according to research.
Francesco Branca, WHO’s head for nutrition and food safety, noted that sugar replacements, unlike sucrose, have no nutritional benefit.
Branca said that “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.”
This doesn’t mean that you should always stay away from sugary meals.
Rumsey noted that if artificial sweeteners are something you enjoy, “it’s OK to consume them in moderation, along with an eating plan that includes a range of foods.”
Real sugar, on the other hand, “may improve the flavor of food and deliver a useful boost of energy” if consumed in moderation as part of a snack that also contains protein, fat, and fiber, according to Rumsey.