Myth or Fact? Decrease satiety.

MYTH: Low-calorie sweeteners, such as aspartame, increase desire for sweets, promote hunger, and decrease satiety.

Claim: By “confusing” our taste preferences, leading to altered taste perception and a preference for high-calorie ad sweet-tasting foods and beverages.

FACT: Studies on humans (as opposed to rats) show that including low-calorie sweeteners like aspartame have no impact on satiety and do not increase desire for sweets.



“CHOICE” RCTPiernas et al, AJCN, 2013 (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/97/3/604)
  • 6 month, 3-arm study (RCT), n=318 (UNC/Chapel Hill)
  • Investigated whether energy intakes and dietary patterns were different in subjects who were randomly assigned to substitute caloric beverages with either water or diet beverages (included aspartame)
 Findings The diet beverage group showed decreases in most caloric beverages and specifically reduced more desserts than the water group did.
Conclusion excerpt“Our study does not provide evidence to suggest that a short-term consumption of diet beverages, compared with water, increases preferences for sweet foods and beverages.”


 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics EAL 2009, Reaffirmed JAND 2012 (http://bit.ly/1L6SRXx)
Question In adults, does aspartame affect appetite or food intake?
Conclusion statement
(Grade 1)
 “There is good evidence that aspartame does not affect appetite or food intake. “
 Bellisle, Curr Obes Rep, 2015 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4438179/)
Overview Reviewed specific effects of LCS use on appetite for sweet products; included observational studies, experimental laboratory studies, randomized controlled trials, and brain imaging studies. (38 studies included)
  • Use of LCS showed no consistent association with a heightened appetite for sugar or sweet products.
  • In many instances, the use of LCS is associated with a lower intake of sweet tasting substances.
Conclusion excerpt “Recent intervention studies in children and adults confirm that LCS use tends to reduce rather than increase the intake of sugar-containing foods and facilitate, rather than impair weight loss.”


Presented at: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics FNCE 2015

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.

Media Contacts