‘Sweetener’ can be as bad as sugar if we consume lots of it.

Many people might have heard or thought that sweetener in beverages means less sugar in consumption. However, in mid-May 2023, the World Health Organization issued a warning about “sugar substitute” or non-sugar sweeteners as a long-term health risk that does not benefit the body in controlling or losing weight either in adults or children. In addition, continuous consumption may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and death in adults.

Furthermore, the statement said: “This guidance applies to all people except those already with diabetes and includes all naturally occurring or modified sweeteners which have no nutritions that are not classified as sugars found in foods and beverages manufactured or sold to add in food and beverages by consumers.”

What is sweetener?

There are both energy-giving sweeteners and non-energy-giving sweeteners.

  • Energy-giving sweeteners

The type of alcohol sugar such as mannitol, xylitol, and sorbitol. Not suitable for people who want to control their weight and those with diabetes.

  • Non-energy-giving sweeteners.

Such as Aspartame, Stevieoside (sweet grass), sucralose, and saccharine. Suitable for diabetics and weight controllers.

Disadvantages of “sweetener”

  • Regular consumption of sweeteners can make us feel addicted to sweet flavors, making it impossible to control our diet.
  • In the alcohol sugar group, such as sorbitol and mannitol are a type of sugar that cannot be completely digested and can cause abdominal gas mass, bloating, and diarrhea.
  • Some sweeteners, if consumed excessively, can experience side effects such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and some stimulating stomach acidification which is a risk to have a stomach disease.
  • In a study by the American Heart Association, it was found that eating sweeteners instead of synthetic sugars increases the risk of stroke and amnesia.

Advice on sugar consumption

  • It should be used with caution, especially in high-risk groups such as pregnant women, breastfeeding women, diabetic patients, migraine sufferers, epilepsy patients, and children younger than two years of age.
  • Not more than 6 teaspoons/day shall be consumed.
  • Stevieoside (sweet grass) is a safe sweetening substance. It should be consumed no more than 4 mg/kg body weight per day.
  • It is better to avoid too much sweet food as much as possible because sweet addiction harms the body. Whether it’s fat accumulation, bones, and teeth are weak, blood is acidic, or high pressure, the body is not refreshed and aging fast.

The World Health Organization has recommended changes in consumption and dietary preferences that do not go through the process of over-filling or may choose to eat sugar from fruits and vegetables instead but need to consider the amount as well.

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