2023-08-01 18:46

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Use Of Non-Sugar Sweeteners: WHO Guideline Published

No evidence that they are effective in weight control

Following the publication of the detailed report into the use of sweeteners replacing the use of sugar, and the link with cancer that Aspartame has been suspected of since the 1980s; the World Health Organisation (WHO) has produced a separate guidance on the use of such food additives as Aspartame, Sucralose, and Saccharin; to name just three.

They do not however go into the safety of such food additives.

Entitled: 'Use of Non-Sugar Sweeteners'; the WHO’s introduction to the guidance states:

image: WHO guidance on use of non-sugar sweeteners - click to download'This guideline provides evidence-informed guidance on the use of non-sugar sweeteners to reduce the risk of  unhealthy weight gain and diet-related non-communicable diseases in adults and children.

The guidance in this guideline is not based on toxicological assessments of the safety of individual non-sugar sweeteners and is therefore not intended to update or replace guidance on safe or maximal levels of intake established by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) or other authoritative bodies.

This guideline is intended for a wide audience involved in the development, design and implementation of policies and programmes in nutrition and public health.

This guideline includes a recommendation on the use of non-sugar sweeteners which can be used by policy-makers and programme managers to address non-sugar sweetener use in their populations through a range of policy actions and public health interventions.

The guidance in this guideline should be considered in the context of that from other WHO guidelines on healthy diets, says the WHO.'

image: WHO guidance on health effects of non-sugar sweeteners - click to downloadWith regard to dieting and the use of non-naturally occurring sweeteners, the WHO’s report entitled:' Health Effects Of The Use Of Non-Sugar Sweeteners: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis' shows there is no true evidence that they help in body weight control:

'Non-sugar sweeteners have been developed as an alternative to sugars and are widely used both as an ingredient in pre-packaged foods and beverages and added to food and beverages directly by the consumer.

Individual non-sugar sweeteners undergo toxicological assessment by the by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and other authoritative bodies to establish safe levels of intake (i.e. acceptable daily intake or ADI).

While results of randomised controlled trials have generally suggested non-sugar sweeteners may have little impact on glucose metabolism and result in lower body weight when coupled with energy restriction in the short-term, there is no clear consensus on whether non-sugar sweeteners are effective for long-term weight loss or maintenance, or if they are linked to other long-term health effects at intakes within the ADI.

This systematic review brings together the most current scientific evidence on health effects of non-sugar sweetener use.'

Both reports are available to download from the Unionsafety E-Library under the category of 'Food Safety' or simply click on the image to download.

Source: World Health Organisation

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