People looking to shed a few pounds often turn to artificial sweeteners as an alternative to real sugar, but it’s not really doing them any favors, new research finds. The World Health Organization is now advising against using these non-sugar sweeteners for weight loss in a recommendation out this week.
The WHO’s new guideline is based on a review of 283 studies assessing the potential health effects of zero-calorie sweeteners, including aspartame, saccharin and stevia. It finds that these sugar substitutes don’t help with long-term weight loss in adults or kids, but even worse? Using them can raise the risk for diseases including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, as well as death.
"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," explains Francesco Branca, WHO director for nutrition and food safety. He adds that non-nutritive sweeteners have no nutritional value and stresses that people should cut back on the sweetness in their diet altogether, and start early in life, to improve their health overall. The agency says the only exception to the recommendation is for people with pre-existing diabetes.
Source: ABC News