(CNN) – Don’t use sugar substitutes if you’re trying to lose weight, according to new guidelines from the World Health Organization.
The WHO said a systematic review of the available evidence indicates that the use of non-sugar sweeteners, or NSS, “confers no long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children.”
The review also noted that there may be “potential unwanted effects” from long-term use of sugar substitutes such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“Replacing free sugars with NSS does not help with weight control in the long term. People need to consider other ways to reduce their intake of free sugars, such as by eating foods that contain contain naturally occurring sugars, such as fruit, or unsweetened foods and drinks.
“NSS are not essential nutritional factors and have no nutritional value. People should completely reduce the sweetness of the diet, starting early in life, to improve their health,” Branca said.
The organization said its recommendation applies to all people except those with pre-existing diabetes.
said ian johnson, nutrition researcher, emeritus fellow at Quadram Bioscience Institute, formerly known as the Food Research Institute, in Norwich, UK.
“However, this should not be interpreted as an indication that sugar intake is unrelated to weight control,” Johnson said in a statement.
Instead, sugar-sweetened drinks should be minimized, Johnson added, and try to use “raw or lightly processed fruit as a source of sweetness.”
Dr. Keith Ayoub, scientific advisor to the Calorie Control Council, an international association representing the low-calorie food and beverage industry, told CNN via email that “WHO’s insistence on focusing solely on preventing unhealthy weight gain and non-communicable diseases is at least misleading.”
Robert Rankin, chair of the Calorie Control Council, said, “Low-calorie, no-calorie sweeteners are an important tool that can help consumers manage body weight and reduce their risk of non-communicable diseases.”
A total of 283 studies were included in the review. Both randomized controlled trials, considered the gold standard for research, and observational studies were included in the review. Observational studies can only show an association, not direct cause and effect.
“This suggests that policy decisions based on this recommendation may require substantive discussion in specific country contexts, linked for example to the extent of consumption in different age groups,” said the WHO press release.
The results of the randomized trials found that the use of non-sugar sweeteners had a “low” effect on reducing body weight and calorie intake when compared to sugar, and did not change in mean indicators of diabetes such as glucose and insulin, according to the report.
Observational studies also found a reduced effect on body weight and adipose tissue, but no change in calorie intake. The report indicated that those studies found a low increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and death due to heart disease. Very low risks of bladder cancer and early death from any cause were also found.
The World Health Organization said the recommendation was “conditional” because the specific association between sweeteners and disease outcome may be confused by the complex patterns of sweetener use and the characteristics of study participants.
In an emailed statement, the International Sweeteners Association, an industry association, said, “The lack of recognition of the public health benefits of low/no-calorie sweeteners is harmful, and is disappointed that WHO’s conclusions are so largely based on evidence.” Low certainty from observational studies., which are at high risk for reverse causation.”
The WHO said the recommendation included low- or no-calorie artificial sweeteners and natural extracts, which may or may not be chemically modified, such as acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, and derivatives. Stevia, and stevia derivatives.
Many people consider stevia products to be more “natural” because they are derived from the stevia plant. Some natural and artificial sweeteners add bulk sugars to their products to reduce their sweetness and add bulk to the product for baking.
A recent study by researchers at the US-based Cleveland Clinic found that erythritol — which is used to add bulk or sweeten to stevia, monk fruit and low-sugar keto products — is linked to blood clotting, stroke, heart attack and early death.
The study found that people with existing risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke if they had the highest levels of erythritol in their blood.
Non-sugar sweeteners are widely used as an ingredient in pre-packaged foods and beverages, and are also sometimes added to foods and beverages directly by consumers.
The World Health Organization issued guidelines on sugar intake in 2015, recommending that adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. After this recommendation, interest in sugar substitutes intensified, the review said.
Registered dietitian Lisa Dreyer said in an article for CNN that even if you’re a true sugar “addict,” the good news is that you can tame your sweet tooth. Provides the following steps:
Train your flair. Dreyer said if you gradually reduce sugar — including artificial sweeteners — and include more protein and high-fiber foods in your diet, it may help you crave less sugar.
When we consume protein and fiber, it slows down the rise in blood sugar if we eat it with food containing sugar. “It can help keep us satisfied and help us reduce our sugar intake, too,” she said in a previous interview.
Choose sugar-free foods and avoid all sugar-sweetened drinks. For example, choose whole grain or Greek yogurt without sweeteners. Sugar-sweetened beverages that should be removed from your grocery list should include soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices. Choose water instead.
“If you like sweet sodas, add a little cranberry or orange juice to your soda or try flavored drinks. You can also flavor your own water with fruit slices for natural sweetness or try an herbal fruit tea,” said Dreyer.
Drink coffee and tea with little or no sugar. Dreyer suggested caution in coffee shops. All lattes and flavored coffees can contain as much sugar as a can of soda or more.
Enjoy fruits as dessert. Try baked apples with cinnamon, raspberries, or roasted peaches instead of cookies, cake, ice cream, pastries, and other sweet treats, Dreyer says.
Watch for hidden sugars. Added sugars are often found in foods you might not think of as “sweet,” such as sauces, breads, dressings and salad dressings, Dreyer says.
“Pre-packaged sauces—like ketchup, barbecue sauce, and tomato sauce—tend to be some of the biggest offenders with hidden added sugars in the diet,” Kristi King, senior pediatric dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Dreyer. in a previous interview.
Check nutrition facts labels. All foods and drinks must state the amount and type of sugar on the label.
Added sugars may be used by other names such as “agave, brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, fruit nectar, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, maple syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, trehalose, and turbinado sugar.”
The more these added sugars are in the ingredient list, she said, the more added sugar is in the product.
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