The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that people avoid using sweeteners to control their weight.
Low or no calorie sweeteners are used in place of sugar to sweeten a variety of foods and beverages.
Many people also add non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) to their own foods and drinks as an alternative to sugar, in an effort to avoid becoming overweight or obese.
Now the WHO has found that the use of sweeteners “provides no long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children.”
Although short-term use of NSS may result in minor weight loss, there could be “adverse effects” associated with long-term use, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and deaths, the WHO said.
“NSS are not essential dietary factors and have no nutritional value,” warned Francesco Branca, director of nutrition and food safety at WHO.
“People should consider other ways to reduce their intake of free sugars, such as eating foods that contain natural sugars, such as fruit, or unsweetened foods and beverages.
“People should completely reduce the sweetness of the diet, starting early in life, to improve their health.”
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The organization reviewed data from 283 studies conducted in adults, children, pregnant women or mixed populations.
As a result, it issued a new conditional guideline recommending that people – except people with diabetes – avoid using NSS to control body weight or reduce the risk of non-communicable (non-infectious) diseases.
But the authors said more research was needed.
Dr Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior lecturer at Aston Medical School, said sweeteners may still have a place as a “stepping stone” to help people reduce their sugar intake.
Meanwhile, Cadbury says it is “working hard” to produce alternative versions of products with 75% less sugar, fat and fewer calories.
The famous chocolate brand first revealed last year that it was working on releasing low-calorie versions of some of its existing chocolate bars and cookies and creating new products.
In a statement to Sky News, the brand’s US owner, Mondelez, said: “We have no intention of changing the original recipe of the existing bars, but we believe it is important to give consumers a choice. consumers”.
Dirk van de Put, chief executive of Mondelez, reportedly told The Sunday Telegraph: “It’s going to be a bit like diet drinks and growing very slowly, but we have to keep them in the market.
“It’s going to take a while before the consumer really gets on with it, because it’s still not quite the same taste – although it’s getting close.”
The previous years, Cadbury has launched a 30% less sweet version of its Dairy Milk chocolate bar. However, the product did not prove popular with customers.
Other products to follow include Maynards Bassetts wine gums and Belvita biscuits.