WHO advises against sweeteners for weight loss

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    Raphaël Gruman (nutritionist)

    Medical validation:
    May 16, 2023

    According to the World Health Organization, the use of sweeteners may be more harmful than beneficial to health. The opinion of Raphaël Gruman, dietitian-nutritionist, on the subject.

    Do you usually slip a sweetener into your coffee or tea? Big mistake. According to the WHO, this bad habit could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mortality.

    An increased risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, and even cancer

    The WHO issues a clear reminder: the consumption of sweeteners (acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, etc.) is harmful to health. The latter are widely used in processed foods and beverages.

    Indeed, the use of sugar-free sweeteners (NSS), “confers no long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children“, warns the organization.

    An observation, based on the results of a systematic study and validated by Francesco Branca, director of the Nutrition and Food Safety Department at WHO.

    Replacing free sugars with sweeteners does not help with long-term weight control. Individuals should consider other ways to reduce the intake of free sugars, such as eating foods that contain natural sugars, such as fruits, beverages, and unsweetened foods“, he asserts.

    The study also indicates that long-term use of these fake sugars could have “epotential adverse effects“, such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even mortality.

    “Sweeteners will mimic the action of sugar”

    A warning about sweeteners, shared by Raphaël Gruman, dietitian-nutritionist:

    Sweeteners will act at the level of the brain, by mimicking the action of sugar. Now, there will be no sugar in the blood. This will lead to hypoglycemia, which will cause people to eat more sugar, and therefore create diabetes behind“, warns the expert. “These diabetic problems can then lead to metabolic problems, such as weight gain. This overweight will then disrupt the production of cholesterol, which will start to produce excess. However, this additional cholesterol is associated with aortic stenosis, but also with an increased risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, and even cancer, which will themselves increase the mortality rate.he concludes.

    Faced with these risks, Raphaël Gruman recommends “eat as few processed foods as possible“.

    Diabetics, exempt from this recommendation

    The only exception to the rule? Diabetes.

    The WHO specifies that this new recommendation applies to all people, “except those with pre-existing diabetes.

    Diabetics already have a problem with blood sugar regulation. It is therefore better that they consume a can of coke zero than a can of sugar. This will have less impact on their health, although it is not insignificant: the best thing is to avoid sweeteners as much as possible.“, says the expert.

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