Low- and No-Calorie Sweeteners and Reduced-Calorie Sweeteners

Low- and reduced-calorie ingredients including sweeteners and dietary fiber offer consumers healthy alternatives and a greater variety of products from which to choose. These ingredients can be found in chewing gum, candies, ice cream, baked goods, fruit spreads, and canned fruits, fillings and frostings, beverages, yogurt, and tabletop sweeteners. They are also used in toothpaste, mouthwashes, and pharmaceutical products such as cough syrups and throat lozenges.


Safety of Low- and No-Calorie Sweeteners

When it comes to the world’s highest-regarded health and regulatory agencies, there is a unified response to low- and no-calorie sweeteners: they are completely safe for consumption. Additionally, most of these agencies point to low- and no-calorie sweeteners as an excellent tool to combat the issue of obesity and resulting health issues. By replacing sugar-laden beverages and sweets with ones made with low- and no-calorie sweeteners, consumers are able to reduce calories, a key factor in weight loss and management.

The following agencies have utilized the most rigorous and extensive testing methods to evaluate low- and no-calorie sweeteners.

International Government and Regulatory Agencies

European Food Safety Authority
… there is sufficient scientific information to support the claims that intense sweeteners as all sugar replacers lead to a lower rise in blood sugar levels after meals if consumed instead of sugars …

More from EFSA


As for all food additives, sweeteners are regulated substances which are subject to safety evaluation prior to market authorisation. 

More from EFSA

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
High-intensity sweeteners are commonly used as sugar substitutes or sugar alternatives because they are many times sweeter than sugar but contribute only a few to no calories when added to foods. High-intensity sweeteners, like all other ingredients added to food in the United States, must be safe for consumption.

More from FDA


Public Health England
We endorse the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific opinion on low calorie/non-caloric sweeteners. Sweeteners that have been approved through EFSA’s processes are a safe and acceptable alternative to using sugar and it is up to businesses if and how they wish to use them.

More from PHE


Food Standards Australia and New Zealand
Sweeteners are food additives that have a relative sweetness many times that of sugar which means they can be used in much smaller amounts. They are added to foods to replace the sweetness normally provided by sugars…. Food additives are approved only if it can be shown no harmful effects are likely to result from their use…

To assess their safety, extensive testing of food additives is required, including animal studies and human studies if they are available. For sweeteners human studies are sometimes conducted on diabetic patients to establish whether the specific sweetener will be tolerated by this population group.

More from FSANZ


Health Canada
Sugar substitutes are useful to diabetics who wish to sweeten their foods. They allow people to cut back on their sugar intake and may aid people in trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight…Consumption of sugar substitutes during pregnancy does not pose a health risk. However, pregnant women should avoid consuming too many products containing sugar substitutes, since they may be replacing nutrient-dense, energy-yielding foods needed for a healthy pregnancy.

More from Health Canada


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
Moderate and generally consistent evidence from short-term RCTs (randomized control trials,) conducted in adults and children supports that replacing sugar-containing sweeteners with low-calorie sweeteners reduces calorie intake, body weight, and adiposity.

More from HHS

International Health Organizations and Professional Societies

American Heart Association
Replacing sugary foods and drinks with sugar-free options containing (nonnutritive sweeteners) NNSs is one way to limit calories and achieve or maintain a healthy weight. Also, when used to replace food and drinks with added sugars, it can help people with diabetes manage blood glucose levels.

More from AHA


American Diabetes Association
The use of nonnutritive sweeteners as a replacement for sugar-sweetened products may reduce overall calorie and carbohydrate intake as long as there is not a compensatory increase in energy intake from other sources. There is evidence that low- and no-calorie sweetened beverages are a viable alternative to water...

More from ADA


American Heart Association & American Diabetes Association Research
The evidence reviewed suggests that when used judiciously, (nonnutritive sweeteners) NNS could facilitate reductions in added sugars intake, thereby resulting in decreased total energy and weight loss/weight control, and promoting beneficial effects on related metabolic parameters.

More from AHA & ADA

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive sweeteners and nonnutritive sweeteners (NNS) when consumed within an eating plan that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Reference Intakes, as well as individual health goals and personal preference.

More from The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


British Dietetic Association
Opting for an artificial sweeteners may assist in the management of weight and in the management of other health conditions such as diabetes mellitus in some individuals.

More from BDA


Diabetes UK
Artificial sweeteners are also safe for people with diabetes when consumed within the ADI [554]  and the EFSA Panel concluded that there is sufficient scientific information to support the claims that intense sweeteners lead to lower postprandial blood glucose concentrations if consumed instead of sugars [555]. For people who are accustomed to sugar sweetened products, (non nutritive sweeteners) NNS have the potential to reduce overall energy and carbohydrate intake and may be preferred to sugar when consumed in moderation and can be a useful strategy for those individuals seeking to control their calorie and manage their weight.

More from Diabetes UK (see page 62 of PDF)

European Food Information Council
Sweeteners can play a role in contributing to the healthfulness of a diet without having to sacrifice the pleasure of eating sweet foods.

More from EUFIC

Institute for Food Technologists
Low-calorie sweeteners provide people with diabetes the opportunity to enjoy foods and beverages without sacrificing taste. Unlike sugar, low-calorie sweeteners are not carbohydrates and generally don’t raise blood sugar levels. Low-calorie sweeteners also allow people to indulge their sweet tooth while avoiding cavities.

More from IFT

National Cancer Institute
Results from carcinogenicity studies (studies that examine whether a substance can cause cancer) of these sweeteners have not provided clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans. Studies of (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) FDA-approved sweeteners have not demonstrated clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans.

More from NCI


Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD)
Non-nutritive-sweetened beverages, when replacing sugar-sweetened beverages, reduce body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors in people with or at risk for diabetes and are associated with reductions in the risk of obesity and cardiovascular outcomes in participants inclusive of people with diabetes, with reductions similar to those seen with the standard of care, water..

More from EASD