Experts are warning people to switch to natural alternatives for sweetening food and drinks, as artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of various health disorders. While many people assume that non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) are good for weight management, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned against using them to control body weight or reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases. Long-term use of NSS is not effective for weight reduction or management, nor for reducing NCDs, and can pose health risks. NSS do not reduce body fat in adults or children.
Although WHO says that NSS can lead to weight loss and a reduction in Body Mass Index (BMI) in the short term, they have been linked to weight gain in the long run. The report also says that higher intake of NSS is linked to an increase in the risk of type-2 diabetes when consumed in the form of beverages or added to foods. Regular intake of these sweeteners was also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.
NSS have no nutritional value, and it is advised that people should reduce the sweetness of their diet altogether, starting early in life, to improve their health. Dr Sandeepta Burugula, Associate Professor of Microbiology at Osmania University, added that artificial sweeteners should be avoided, as some of them can increase cancer risk and pose other health risks. Some sweeteners cannot be metabolized by our body and can cause digestive issues. The consumption of sweeteners like xylitol and erythritol should be limited.