The recent publication by Rios-Leyvraz and Montez, entitled “Health effects of the use of non-sugar sweeteners – a systemic review and met-analysis,” serves as an update to the 2019 systematic review by Toews, et al. and attempts to address inherent health effects of non-sugar sweeteners (NSS) as well as those effects compared to sugar or water, when consumed at safe levels as established by authoritative bodies.
The review reports favorable findings regarding NSS intake and weight management outcomes, without significant effects on other measures of adiposity or cardiometabolic health, including fasting glucose, insulin, blood lipids and blood pressure (very low to high certainty evidence).
Although long-term cohort studies suggested less favorable outcomes, the evidence certainty is very low to low. The authors note that these findings may be due to reverse causation and/or residual confounding.
Based on the lack of significant data from studies involving children, as well as largely inconclusive results in those that exist, and very low to low certainty of evidence regarding pregnant women, it is recommended more research is necessary to investigate consumption among these two population groups.
The review concluded that NSS consumption may be associated with short-term weight loss when used to reduce total energy intake. These results are largely in agreement with the findings of other systemic reviews and the current body of evidence.
Additionally, numerous health and regulatory organizations from around the world maintain their confirmation of the safety of low- and no-calorie sweeteners for consumption by the general population. The unified position of worldwide food safety authorities is supported by robust evidence and extensive research, which contradict the recent review’s conclusions regarding long-term effects.
Given the totality of evidence and official assessments in support of low- and no-calorie sweeteners, CCC maintains that these ingredients are safe and valuable tools to aid in sugar reduction, weight management, blood glucose management and other positive outcomes.