The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends against using non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) to control weight or reduce the threat of non-communicable diseases.
The UN specialised agency also notes, in a press release issued on Monday in Geneva, that the use of these sweeteners could have long-term adverse effects.
The WHO recommendation is based on the findings of a review of the available evidence which suggests that use of NSS does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children.
“Results of the review also suggest that there may be potential undesirable effects from long-term use of NSS, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in adults,” WHO notes.
“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,” Francesco Branca, WHO Director for Nutrition and Food Safety, is quoted as saying in the press release.
The recommendation applies to all natural, synthetic or modified non-nutritive sweeteners. These include acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and stevia derivatives..
It does not, however, apply to health and hygiene products such as toothpaste, creams or medicines.