Recent Research Strengthens Body of Evidence for Latin American Sweetener Intake Estimates

A manuscript entitled, “Low- and No-Calorie Sweetener Intakes in the Brazilian Population Estimated Using Added Sugar Substitution Modelling” has been published in the Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A journal. Given the lack of data available on replacing added sugars with low- and no-calorie sweeteners (LNCS) in foods and beverages for many regions globally, the aim of this assessment was two-fold:

  • Estimating daily intakes six LNCS (acesulfame-K, aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, steviol ‎glycosides, and sucralose) within ‎the Brazilian population; and
  • Examining alternative models for ‎assessing intakes of these sweeteners which do not involve use-level information (i.e., utilizing an added sugar substitution approach).

Each intake estimate was derived from documented added sugar intakes in the Brazilian population ‎and reported levels of added sugar in food, in conjunction with sucrose sweetness ‎equivalence data for each LNCS and usage patterns in the Brazilian market. The resulting intake estimate was then ‎compared to the sweetener’s Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI), a conservative calculation of the amount of a substance a person can consume on a daily basis for their lifetime without adverse effects established by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food ‎Additives (JECFA) for all population groups.‎

In both replacement models, researchers found that the intakes of all LNCS included in the study, except for cyclamate, were below the ADI by average (mean) and ‎heavy LNCS consumers (90th and 95th percentiles) for all population groups over 10 years of age.‎ However, it was noted that the assessment does not represent realistic patterns of replacement based on actual usage patterns of LNCS, which would vary by product type, and is not the most suitable for LNCS that have a high sucrose sweetness equivalence, such as cyclamate.

This work contributes to the body of evidence for intake estimates for Latin America, and Brazil specifically, which were previously quite limited. Additional research is needed for younger age groups to confirm whether these findings are applicable to the entire Brazilian population.

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