In its recent guideline, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended against the use of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) to control body weight or reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases.

Based on a systematic review, the WHO suggested that the use of non-sugar sweeteners does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat.

“Replacing free sugars with NSS does not help with weight control in the long term,” said Francesco Branca, WHO Director for Nutrition and Food Safety.

In fact, there may be potential health risks from its long-term use, such as an increased risk of Type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in adults.

“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,” he added.

“NSS are not essential dietary factors and have no nutritional value. People should reduce the sweetness of the diet altogether, starting early in life, to improve their health,” he advised.

Common non-sugar sweeteners include acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, and stevia derivatives.

The recommendation applies to all people except individuals with pre-existing diabetes.

The recommendation does not apply to personal care and hygiene products such as toothpaste, skin cream, and medications.