Artificial sweeteners may not help people lose weight, the World Health Organization said in new guidelines that warn against products like diet sodas.
The WHO’s advice is based on a scientific review that found products containing aspartame and stevia — often marketed as diet foods — likely do not help reduce body fat in the long term.
“People should reduce the sweetness of the diet altogether,” Francesco Branca, WHO director for nutrition and food safety, said Monday last week.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons 照片：維基共享資源
Artificial sweeteners were also linked with higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as of dying, according to the WHO.
The new guidance applies to all non-sugar sweeteners, including stevia derivatives and sucralose. Such products have become widely used and are commonly added to processed foods and beverages, like diet soda, or sold on their own.
Photo: Pixabay 照片：Pixabay
Artificial sweeteners “are not essential dietary factors and have no nutritional value,” Branca said. They are also often used to replace sugar in highly processed foods and drinks, and therefore may encourage low-quality diets.
Popular consumer products like Diet Coke and Diet Snapple, rebranded last year to Zero Sugar Snapple, contain aspartame. Keurig Dr Pepper Inc, the maker of Snapple, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Coca-Cola Co referred Bloomberg to a statement from the Calorie Control Council that called artificial sweeteners “a critical tool that can help consumers manage body weight and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.”
The International Sweeteners Association, another industry group, said in a statement that it is “disappointed that the WHO’s conclusions are largely based on low-certainty evidence from observational studies.” Observational studies often do not have safeguards like comparison groups, which can introduce bias into findings.
The new recommendation applies to everyone except those who already have diabetes, the WHO said. The agency issued a draft guideline against sweeteners in July last year, and opened it up to public consultation.
The WHO has previously advised adults and kids to limit their sugar intake to 10 percent of total energy consumption, highlighting the connection between lower sugar intake and lower body weight.
受歡迎的消費產品，如健怡可樂與健怡思樂寶飲品（去年更名為零糖思樂寶飲品），含有阿斯巴甜。面對詢問，思樂寶製造商克里胡椒博士公司（Keurig Dr Pepper Inc.）並未立即做出回應。可口可樂公司則向彭博社提供了「卡路里控制協會」的一份聲明，該聲明說人工甜味劑是「可幫助消費者控制體重與降低非傳染性疾病風險之重要工具」。
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Artificial sweeteners may not help people lose weight, the World Health Organization said in new guidelines that warn against products like diet sodas. The WHO’s advice is based on a scientific review that found products containing aspartame and stevia — often marketed as diet foods — likely do not help reduce body fat in the long term. “People should reduce the sweetness of the diet altogether,” Francesco Branca, WHO director for nutrition and food safety, said Monday last week. Artificial sweeteners were also linked with higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as of dying, according to
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