Reduction in consumption added sugarsrecommends to European citizens the European Commission.

The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakidou, in response to a question from EPP MEP, Maria Spyrakis, emphasizes that “the European Commission supports efforts to reduce the consumption of added/free sugars”.

“Preferably, NSS, sugar-free sweeteners, (acesulfame K, aspartame, avantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and its derivatives) should not be used to compensate for reducing added/free sugar levels in foods, so that it is possible to adjust the taste to lower levels of sweetness”, notes Ms. Kyriakidou.

Mrs. Spyrakis had underlined in her question that “the long-term consumption of added sugars may be harmful to the health of citizens, based on the WHO, calling for a reduction in their consumption, as well as measures to promote health and disease prevention “, as stated in a related announcement.

Also, the MEP of the EPP put before the European Commission “the recent recommendation of the World Health Organization, which is based on the findings of a systematic review of the available data, as well as “the use of sugar-free sweeteners – NSS (acesulfame K, aspartame, avantame, cyclamates , neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and its derivatives) does not provide long-term benefits in reducing body fat, while their long-term consumption may bring about unwanted effects, such as increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mortality in adults.”

The Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, in her response, urges a reduction in the consumption of added sugars, but, “at the same time, assures citizens that they are safe to use, due to the constant re-evaluations by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) )”.

Specifically in her answer she states: “Food additives approved in the EU are subject to safety assessments by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Exposure (consumption) estimates are included in these. EFSA opinions on several non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) are publicly accessible. For the rest of the NSS, the opinions of the Scientific Committee on Food are available. During 2024-25, EFSA will reassess the safety of the remaining NSS. So far, no health concerns have been identified.”

Regarding the WHO recommendation, Ms. Kyriakidou underlines that “the World Health Organization’s recommendation not to use NSS for weight control depends on the lack of certainty about the overall effects associated with their consumption, including the possibility reverse causation. It does not provide updated or alternative guidance on the safety of NSS for which EFSA’s assessments remain the benchmark.”

In addition, it notes that “Member States are encouraged to actively continue their joint participation in the EU4Health programme, which has a budget of €5.3 billion for the period 2021-27” and that “this budget does not foresee funds per country”.