Low-calorie sweeteners in the human diet: scientific evidence, recommendations, challenges and future needs. A symposium report from the FENS 2019 conference

Alison M Gallagher, Margaret Ashwell, Jason C G Halford, Charlotte A Hardman, Niamh H Maloney, Anne Raben

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Abstract

Overconsumption of free sugars, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), has potential negative health impacts. Implementation of a range of public health strategies is needed to reduce intakes of free sugars, including reducing portion sizes, promoting healthier dietary choices and reformulating foods and beverages. Although low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) are a useful tool for reducing energy intake and control glucose response when consuming sweet foods and drinks, several opinions persist about the adverse health effects of LCS, many of which are based on poor, little or no scientific evidence. This symposium report summarises key messages of the presentations and related discussions delivered at a scientific symposium at the 13th European Nutrition Conference (FENS 2019). These presentations considered the scientific evidence and current recommendations about the use and potential benefits of LCS for human health, with a particular focus on current evidence in relation to body weight and glycaemic control. Many of the studies to date on LCS have focused on low-calorie sweetened beverages (LCSB); however, the psychological and behavioural factors influencing consumer beliefs and consumption of LCSB need to be further explored. Current recommendations for LCS use are described, including the conclusions from a recent expert consensus report identifying the challenges that remain with LCS research. Finally, existing knowledge gaps and future actions are described, as well as two large ongoing research projects: SWITCH and SWEET.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutritional Science
Volume10
Issue numbere7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Low-energy sweeteners
  • Intense sweeteners
  • Non-nutritive sweeteners
  • Weight management
  • Glycaemic control
  • Nutrition policy

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