From doughnuts and candies to drinks and shakes, sugar cravings can take various forms. As children, anything sugary used to be a treat for us, and even as adults, not much has changed. We still love to indulge in sugar-loaded mithais, halwas, chocolates, and cakes. It's not easy to resist these delicious treats. However, while adding sugar can make anything sweeter, it can also increase your calorie intake and lead to weight gain. This is where sugar substitutes like stevia and aspartame come into play, allowing us to enjoy sweetness while avoiding the negative effects of sugar. These sweeteners are known to have very low or no calories, making them preferable to traditional sugar. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), even sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners (NSS) may have their drawbacks.
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According to the latest guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), individuals should steer clear of consuming non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) in order to prevent weight gain and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases. WHO's recommendations state that artificial sweeteners offer no benefits and, in fact, increase the likelihood of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality in adults.
If you've been adding artificial sweeteners to your desserts and beverages, assuming they have no negative impact on your health, the WHO Director for Nutrition and Food Safety, Francesco Branca, has some advice for you.
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The director emphasizes that "substituting free sugars with non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) does not contribute to long-term weight control." According to him, individuals should reduce their sugar consumption by opting for alternatives such as consuming fruits or choosing unsweetened foods and beverages. He further states that NSS are not essential dietary components and lack nutritional value. To enhance their health, people should gradually decrease the overall sweetness in their diet, starting from an early age.
So, keep these guidelines in mind the next time you reach for your artificial sweetener.