Study Shows Low-Calorie Sweeteners Helpful with Lowering Calorie Intake, Weight, Disease Risk

In a review study titled “Artificial Sweeteners: a place in the field of functional foods?  Focus on obesity and related metabolic disorders” authors Raben and Richelsen concluded that evidence from short-term intervention studies show that low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) do not stimulate hunger or appetite, increase energy intake, body weight, body fat, blood sugar levels, insulin levels, or blood fat levels.  They also reported that large population studies found decreased body weight and lower risks of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in users of LCS, although they noted that those studies cannot show cause and effect. This study adds to the growing body of scientific literature supporting the consumption of low-calorie foods and beverages to assist with weight loss in humans.

Here are more details on what the researchers found:

  • In their review of epidemiological studies, Raben and Richelsen found that the associations between diet soda intake and weight gain, risk of type-2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease were non-significant.
  • Their review of clinical trials determining the effects of LCS on health outcomes found that low-calorie sweeteners reduced energy intake when compared with sucrose by 250-500 kcal per day.
  • In regards to appetite, they noted that the effects of LCS on appetite have not been consistent and there is no convincing evidence to prove that such an effect exists. They cited a recent study that showed that the effect of LCS on all appetite scores was similar to water.
  • Randomized controlled trials measuring the effects of LCS on body weight and risk factors for metabolic disorders found that body weight, fat mass, and blood pressure decreased with an LCS diet, while it increased with consumption of sucrose-sweetened beverages.
  • The authors reported that population studies have shown an association between diet beverages and weight-related outcomes, although observational studies cannot prove cause and effect.

According to Theresa Hedrick, a dietitian with the Calorie Control Council, this study is good news for people looking for simple, easy and effective ways to reduce calories, lose weight and improve their health. “Making small, simple changes you can live with over a lifetime is a great way to reduce calories and ultimately lose weight. This research review shows that small changes, such as choosing reduced- or sugar-free foods and beverages, can be helpful in overall health and wellness.”

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.