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WHO’s advice on non-sugar sweeteners

Facts for Prelims:

Source: TH

 Context: The WHO’s new guidelines advise against the use of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) as a “healthy” alternative to sugar.

Non-sugar sweeteners (NSS)
MeaningThey are marketed as low or no-calorie alternatives to free sugars which aid in weight loss, and in controlling blood glucose in individuals with diabetes.
CategoriesAspartame (to sweeten diet colas), advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin (to sweeten tea or coffee), sucralose, stevia, etc.
Rise in PopularityIn 2015, when WHO said that a high intake of free sugars is linked to weight gain and obesity.


WHO’s new guidelines?NSS should not be used as a means of achieving weight control or reducing the risk of diet-related non-communicable diseases. Long-term use of NSS could lead to increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic kidney disease and cancer.
Concerns for IndiaOne in 9 women and one in 25 men are obese (NFHS5), and an estimated 25 million people living with pre-diabetes in India (WHO).
WHO’s nutritional adviceHaving alternative foods which are minimally processed, unsweetened foods and beverages.