WHO: Stop using sugar substitutes for weight loss

The World Health Organization is advising people that non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) should not be used to control weight loss or reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases. 

Researchers said artificial sweeteners do not to have any long-term effect in reducing body fat in adults or children. In fact, they believe long-term use can potentially lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in adults.

The recommendation applies to all synthetic and naturally occurring or modified non-nutritive sweeteners found in manufactured foods and beverages, or sold on their own to be added to foods and beverages. It does not apply "to personal care and hygiene products containing NSS, such as toothpaste, skin cream, and medications, or to low-calorie sugars and sugar alcohols (polyols), which are sugars or sugar derivatives containing calories and are therefore not considered NSS."

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WHO officials are offering other ways to satisfy their sweet tooth when looking to reduce weight.

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

"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," she added. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.