World Health Organization Warns Against Non-Sugar Sweeteners
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Remember when, as kids, the mere presence of anything sugary would send our hearts aflutter? Well, nothing much has changed, even as adults, since our love for indulging in sugar-laden delights remains unwavering. From mithais and halwas to chocolates and cakes, sugary treats continue to captivate our taste buds in various forms, making it challenging to resist their sweet seduction. They are sweet and affect your health even when they are sugar-free.

Yet, as we tread the path of conscious consumption, we are confronted with the reality that adding sugar to our lives comes at a cost. The sweet embrace of sugar can lead to an increased intake of calories, potentially resulting in unwanted weight gain. However, our desire for sweetness persists, giving rise to a solution: sugar substitutes such as stevia, aspartame, etc. These alternative sweeteners offer us the opportunity to relish sweetness while sidestepping the negative consequences of traditional sugar. With their low or zero-calorie content, they emerge as favourable choices for those mindful of their overall well-being. 

Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that every coin has two sides. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued a warning, cautioning us that sugar substitutes, or artificial sweeteners (NSS), may also present their own set of drawbacks.

The latest guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) advocate for the avoidance of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) as a means to prevent weight gain and lower the risk of non-communicable diseases. In line with the WHO's recommendations, artificial sweeteners are deemed to provide no discernible benefits and, instead, are associated with an elevated probability of health issues including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortality among adults. 

For those who have been incorporating artificial sweeteners into their desserts and beverages under the assumption that they bear no adverse effects on health, Francesco Branca, the Director for Nutrition and Food Safety at the World Health Organization (WHO), has valuable counsel to offer. 

In accordance with Branca's expert opinion, it is advised that individuals try to diminish their sugar intake by embracing alternatives like incorporating fruits into their diet or opting for unsweetened foods and beverages. Branca emphasises that non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) are not essential elements of a healthy diet and do not contribute significant nutritional value. "Substituting free sugars with non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) does not contribute to long-term weight control," said Branca. To promote overall well-being, it is recommended to gradually reduce the overall sweetness in one's diet, beginning at an early age.

So the next time you are about to cater to your sweet cravings with "sugar-free’ ice cream or chocolate, maybe think again and go for a choice of fruit?