Rude Health by Vir Sanghvi: Why sweeteners aren’t all made equal - Hindustan Times
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Rude Health by Vir Sanghvi: Why sweeteners aren’t all made equal

Jul 21, 2023 05:35 PM IST

The WHO has advised against using non-sugar sweeteners. But it has created more confusion in the process. Let’s sort it out

I was going to write about the campaign against highly processed foods this week. If you follow nutrition trends, then you will know that this takes a commonsensical position: Try to eat natural foods, not those that have been created in factories. Except that it then ruins the basic message by throwing in excess after excess: You must avoid ketchup because it is made in an industrial plant (as, in fact, are most of the condiments used in the Western world). And, in the general hysteria it creates, it neglects to specify which cooking processes are bad for us. Nor does it set limits on how much ketchup, for instance, is okay and how much is dangerous.

Sugar causes weight gain, so people use sweeteners to reduce their dependence on it. Therefore, they avoid the weight gain that would have been caused by sugar. (Shutterstock)
Sugar causes weight gain, so people use sweeteners to reduce their dependence on it. Therefore, they avoid the weight gain that would have been caused by sugar. (Shutterstock)
Many low-sugar or sugar-free products use aspartame, including most diet sodas. (Shutterstock)
Many low-sugar or sugar-free products use aspartame, including most diet sodas. (Shutterstock)
Stevia is plant based and 300 times sweeter than sugar. The advisory does not distinguish between Stevia, chemical sweeteners and sugar alcohol. (Shutterstock)
Stevia is plant based and 300 times sweeter than sugar. The advisory does not distinguish between Stevia, chemical sweeteners and sugar alcohol. (Shutterstock)
No matter what the WHO says, hardly anyone is going to give up all sweets. It is possible to argue that we should cut back on sweets, but foolish and unrealistic to say that we should all give them up completely. (Shutterstock)
No matter what the WHO says, hardly anyone is going to give up all sweets. It is possible to argue that we should cut back on sweets, but foolish and unrealistic to say that we should all give them up completely. (Shutterstock)
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