Friday, December 8, 2023

The sweetener industry lashes out at the WHO

The International Sweetener Association (ISA) considered that the recommendation made by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the health effects of sweeteners is based on “low-certainty evidence”.

Likewise, the ISA qualified as a “harm to health not recognize the benefits” of the aforementioned sweeteners, through a statement in response to the WHO.

“WHO can only conclude with a recommendation conditional, which does not have scientific rigor nor is it based on a solid empirical base or supported by the evidence presented in the systematic review commissioned by the WHO”, he said.

The entity explained that the sweeteners low in calories and no calories represent a useful tool to control obesity, diabetes and oral diseases and, in his opinion, are among the most exhaustively studied in the world.

According to this, they offer consumers an alternative to reduce the intake of sugars and calories with a sweet taste. He also points out that there is a “overwhelming” amount of scientific literature supporting the usefulness of low-calorie and/or no-calorie sweeteners for weight control.

This Monday, the WHO said that sweeteners are not effective in controlling weight and can cause unwanted effects if used long term. The agency cited the increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, as well as mortality in adults.

The products that it advises against are: acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, as well as stevia and its derivatives.

Here are the benefits of sweeteners, according to the ISA:

  • They are safe and have been extensively studied and approved by safety organizations around the world, such as JECFA, the US FDA or the EFSA.
  • They play a role in the fight against obesity, helping adults and children to reduce their caloric intake and body weight, when used instead of sugar, and as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
  • They offer people with diabetes an important alternative to sugar, as low-calorie/no-calorie sweeteners cause less of a rise in blood sugar levels when used instead of sugars.
  • They do not contribute to dental caries and, in fact, their use instead of sugar “contributes to the maintenance of dental mineralization” and to the neutralization of dental plaque acids.
    -They are an essential tool to help food and beverage companies reformulate products, in order to reduce the amount of sugar and calories they contain.


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