India reiterates no-go stance on sweetener use for weight management

The agency has made this statement in the wake of the World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline earlier this year that made a ‘conditional recommendation’ against the use of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) to control body weight or reduce the risk of non-commmunicable diseases such as diabetes.

“FSSAI has already laid down safety limits for these NSS additives to be used in various food products,”​ the agency stated via a formal statement, which FoodNavigator-Asia​ has viewed.

“Stricter labelling requirements are in place which [for such food products], requiring due declarations on the food labels along with the names of such sweeteners, whether these have been added either singly or in combination with others.

“These are thoroughly scrutinised before any NSS are allowed in food products, keeping in view of the Indian scenario, the global regulatory practices & risk assessments carried out by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives.

“Please note that FSSAI has also not recommended these NSS for weight loss or the maintenance of healthy weight, nor as a means of controlling blood glucose in individuals with diabetes.

The NSS in question here include a wide range across both caloric and non-caloric sweeteners (that contain less than 2% of the caloric value of sucrose per equivalent unit of sweetening capacity) such as stevia, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, saccharins, sucralose and sorbitol.

“The WHO has already highlighted in its report that the guideline is still conditional, and there is still a need for country-specific, meaningful input – [FSSAI] has taken cognisance and [concur] that country-specific studies are needed to explore the impact of NSS on metabolic processes as well as its links to other diseases,”​ it said.


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