ATLANTA (July 10, 2012) – Using low-calorie sweeteners in beverages and other foods has the potential to help people reach and maintain a healthy body weight and is helpful for glucose control for people with diabetes, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. The statement is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation and the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care, and confirms previous support statements from these two major health organizations.
According to scientific statement lead author, Christopher Gardner, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at Stanford University in California, “While they are not magic bullets, smart use of non-nutritive sweeteners could help you reduce added sugars in your diet, therefore lowering the number of calories you eat. Reducing calories could help you attain and maintain a healthy body weight, and thereby lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. But there are caveats.”
“For example, if you choose a beverage sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners instead of a 150-calorie soft drink, but then reward yourself with a 300-calorie slice of cake or cookies later in the day, non-nutritive sweeteners are not going to help you control your weight because you added more calories to your day than you subtracted,” said Dr. Gardner. “However, if you substitute the beverage with non-nutritive sweeteners for a 150-calorie sugar-sweetened soft drink, and don’t compensate with additional calories, that substitution could help you manage your weight because you would be eating fewer calories.”
Non-nutritive (low-calorie) sweeteners covered in the statement include acesulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, stevia and sucralose. The safety of these non-nutritive sweeteners is supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
A full PDF of the statement can be found on the American Heart Association’s website.