Instead of relying on sugar substitutes, individuals should reduce their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and opt for raw or lightly processed fruit as a source of sweetness. The new guidelines aim to assist government health organizations in implementing policy changes based on the latest scientific analysis.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation includes both low or no-calorie synthetic sweeteners and natural extracts, such as acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and stevia derivatives, and monk fruit. According to Francesco Branca, stevia and monk fruit are newer sweeteners with less published research, but they likely share a similar physiological mechanism with other sweeteners. He states, “We cannot say they are different from the others based on the data we have — they play the same role.”
Branca emphasizes the importance of reducing dependence on free sugars and non-nutritive sweeteners, particularly in early childhood. Registered dietitian Lisa Drayer suggests training your taste buds by gradually cutting back on sugar, including artificial sweeteners, and incorporating more protein and fiber-rich foods into your diet. Additionally, she advises Sportschoosing no-sugar-added foods, avoiding sugar-sweetened drinks, enjoying fruit for dessert, and being aware of hidden sugars in various food products.
By checking nutrition facts labels and recognizing alternative names for added sugars, individuals can make healthier choices and reduce their sugar intake. This approach can help tame one’s sweet tooth and lessen dependence on sugar and sweeteners.