Leading Medical Journal Finds Low-Calorie Sweeteners Brought Weight Loss Comparable to Water Alone

Study also found no increase in appetite or energy intake

ATLANTA (NOVEMBER 4, 2015) — After conducting a meta-analysis of more than 100 peer-reviewed and published studies to answer the question “Does low calorie sweetener consumption affect energy intake and body weight?”, researchers found that the answer to be “Yes”. In humans, the use of low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) led to weight loss similar to, or in some instances better than, water alone. Additionally, researchers found no increase in appetite when using LCS. In the animal studies, researchers found that, for the most part, the use of LCS did not increase energy intake. More about the study can be found in the September 2015 issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

The research by Rogers et al. and published in the International Journal of Obesity was conducted by university researchers from the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and France and scientists from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the National Institute for Health and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Europe, as well as the private sector. The researchers set out to analyze the totality of the evidence to determine whether the consumption of low-energy sweeteners (LES) have an effect on energy intake (EI) or body weight (BW) when replacing caloric sweeteners.

Researchers found LES in place of sugar aided in weight loss and reduced energy intake

Researchers stated that the short-term studies comprise a large body of evidence showing that replacing sugar with LES reduced short-term energy intake, noting also that “EI did not differ for LES versus water, LES versus unsweetened products, or LES versus nothing.”

Study debunks claims of weight gain from LES

Researchers noted that claims of weight gain are often tracked back to a smaller set of specific studies. However, when researchers reviewed a large and systematically identified body of evidence from human intervention studies of varying designs, settings and populations (including children and adults, males and females, lean and overweight), the claims didn’t bear out.

In the sustained controlled trial studies, “the use of LES led to a relative reduction on EI, and greater loss (or reduced gain) of BW.” Further researchers found no examples of an increased mean energy intake or body weight. The researchers concluded, “A large majority of studies of compulsory and voluntary long-term consumption of LES by rodents found that LES did not increase BW.”

In the observational human studies, which can’t prove cause and effect, researchers found inconsistent associations reported among the studies. Further, the larger studies found a lower risk of obesity with low-calorie sweetener consumption.

Given the obesity epidemic, it is important that consumers have available a wide variety of good tasting, reduced-calorie products which can be used as tools to assist them in addressing their health goals. Low-calorie sweeteners can help people enjoy the foods and beverages they love while helping them to manage their weight.

faq2Do you have questions about low-calorie sweeteners? Want to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You asked and we listened. Our resident Registered Dietitians answered the most popular questions about low-calorie sweeteners.