ATLANTA (April 9, 2015) — While some in social media and in the press allege that the consumption of products made with low-calorie sweeteners may lead to weight gain, the majority of scientific research on these sweeteners shows otherwise. Many healthcare advocates, professionals and associations who rely on scientific evidence recommend no- and low-calorie sweeteners (NLCS) to reduce carbohydrate and calorie intake. Studies conducted by a number of researchers, and the evaluation of findings from several studies in meta-analyses, support the use of NLCS by individuals attempting to lose or maintain their weight.
Many research studies have shown that consuming low-calorie sweeteners as part of a typical diet can help reduce total caloric intake and body weight6-10. Assessing the combined results of many studies, via a meta-analysis of data from multiple studies, is often useful in determining patterns of study results. A recent meta-analysis of 24 studies showed low-calorie sweeteners have a positive effect on weight loss11. Furthermore, several studies have shown that low-calorie sweeteners do not cause weight gain and cravings. As the American Heart Association points out, “Foods and beverages that contain NNSs [non-nutritive sweeteners] can be included in a healthy diet, as long as the calories they save you are not added back by adding more foods as a reward later in the day, adding back calories that take you over your daily limit.”
Millions of Americans are advised to reduce calorie intake to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight and/or manage blood glucose. The American Diabetes Association recommends using low-calorie sweeteners to help individuals manage sweet cravings with less calories and carbohydrates1. The American Heart Association also recommends the use of these products to limit added sugars2.
With a global rise in obesity, health advocates around the world recommend using low-calorie sweeteners as a simple substitution to reduce sugar intake. Public Health England’sChange4Life campaign recognizes the importance of feasible recommendations such as substitution products sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners for calorically sweetened products3. Recent research has shown that individuals that have maintained weight loss of at least 30 pounds for at least one year and are in the National Weight Control Registry regularly consumed low- and no-calorie sweetened beverages, highlighting the use of these beverages as tools that consumers use when they are limiting their caloric intake4. Research, published in 2014, evaluating data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of more than 22,000 people found that Americans who consume foods and beverages made with no-, low-, and reduced-calorie sweeteners also have better quality diets, as measured using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and are more likely to be physically active5.
NLCS have been researched for more than a century. While this research varies greatly in its purpose and scope, the findings are frequently evaluated by scientists and regulatory authorities. Hundreds of studies have concluded that low-calorie sweeteners are safe for human consumption and do not cause unfavorable effects. Low-calorie sweeteners can help people enjoy the foods and beverages they love while helping them to manage their weight. The Calorie Control Council supports the critical role that industry has in the research process, including occasionally provides unrestricted grants for researchers that publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals.