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Artificial Sweetener: WHO Says No Need to Cut Daily Intake

Why in News? : A World Health Organization’s (WHO) committee categorised artificial sweetener aspartame as....
Why in News?

A World Health Organization’s (WHO) committee categorised artificial sweetener aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. However, another committee simultaneously assessing the levels that can be safely consumed has said there is no need to reduce the previously established acceptable daily intake (ADI) for the sweetener.

How much are artificial sweeteners consumed in India?
  • The sugar and sweetener sector in India witnessed a 4% growth in volume terms in 2022.
  • The market is projected to grow at an average annual pace of 2.6% in value terms over the next four years.
  • Approximately 13.2 million tonnes of sugar and sweeteners were sold in India last year.
  • The rapid rise of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases is a significant concern.
  • The health ministry estimates a loss of $3.5 trillion in economic output due to NCDs between 2012 and 2030.
Concerns about Artificial Sweeteners and Health 
  • Saccharine was used to ration sugar during both World Wars. It was found to cause bladder cancer in lab animals.
  • Patients with phenylketonuria, a rare condition, are toxic to aspartame. Brain tumors and chronic fatigue syndrome have been linked to it.
  • A really harming study (distributed in a top diary, ‘Nature Medication’ a couple of days prior) shows that a fake sugar, erythritol (sold separately or joined with other counterfeit sugars like stevia), can prompt apoplexy (coagulating), subsequently having the capacity to cause cardiovascular failure or stroke north of three years.
What are the recommendations by WHO?
  • Lacks long term benefits – Artificial sweeteners do not provide any long term benefits in reducing body fat in adults or children.
  • Diseases caused – The use of sugar alternatives has been found to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, depression, cardiovascular diseases, and causes digestive issues.
  • It also causes bladder cancer and preterm births when consumed by pregnant women.
  • Weight loss – Even though there could be weight loss in short term, in long term it leads to weight gain.
  • The WHO has made these recommendations for everyone other than those who are already diabetic.
What is the way forward?
  • More research is needed so that it could help to clarify the risks and benefits of artificial sweeteners, and it could also lead to the development of new, safer artificial sweeteners.
  • Artificial sweeteners could be regulated more strictly.
  • Consumers could be educated about the potential risks and benefits of artificial sweeteners.
FAQs Related with Artificial Sweetener
Ques 1: What are artificial sweeteners?

Answer: Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes used as alternatives to traditional sugar. They provide sweetness without the high caloric content and are often used in food and beverages labeled as “sugar-free” or “diet.”

Ques 2: How do artificial sweeteners work?

Answer: Artificial sweeteners typically have intense sweetening power, meaning they are much sweeter than sugar. They work by stimulating the sweet taste receptors on the tongue, providing a sweet taste sensation without the accompanying calories.

Ques 3: Are artificial sweeteners safe for consumption?

Answer: Artificial sweeteners have been approved as safe for consumption by regulatory authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, some individuals may have sensitivities or adverse reactions to specific artificial sweeteners, and moderation is generally advised.

Artificial Sweetener: WHO Says No Need to Cut Daily Intake,Artificial Sweetener: WHO Says No Need to Cut Daily Intake

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