Infographic: The facts behind low calorie sweetener consumption

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

Infographic: The facts behind low calorie sweetener consumption

Related tags: Low calorie sweeteners, Nutrition, Obesity

Sweeteners are widely used to replace sugar in diet and low calorie products within the food and beverage industry. However, many consumers are still worried about these ingredients. So, what are the facts behind low calorie sweeteners?

While there is much evidence to show that consumption of low- or zero-calorie sweeteners can help in weight management, there is also a vast amount of confusion caused by contracting reports that suggest such sweeteners may have negative effects.

So what is the truth?

Are low calorie sweeteners really bad for you? Can they cause weight gain? 

Check out our infographic on the facts behind low calorie sweeteners.

The research summarised in the inforgraphic was presented at the IUNS 20th International Congress of Nutrition in Granada, Spain, recently - and suggests that low calorie sweeteners can be an effective tool in weight management.

The presentation, from Professor Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center of Public Health Nutrition, at the University of Washington - who is also director of the University's Center for Obesity Research - concluded that when combined with a healthy diet, being physically active and adopting other healthy behaviours, the use of low-calorie sweeteners to reduce calories can form part of a winning strategy for improved weight management and better health.

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2 comments

Asked, then not answered

Posted by NH,

I completely agree with SB's assessment. Furthermore, the study declares that "using low calorie sweeteners to reduce calories is a winning strategy for improved weight management and better health." This seems to ignore the physiological effects of LCS and makes the assumption that if you are not overweight you must be healthy. The question "Are low calorie sweeteners really bad for you?" is posed in the third paragraph and then never addressed. This research in its current format smacks of propaganda, and makes me wonder about the researchers relationship with the LCS industry.

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I'm confused

Posted by SB,

So reading this.... how does the fact that older people consume more LCS, or that people who consume more LCS take steps for being healthy in ways such as exercise/good HEI, tell us ANYTHING AT ALL about whether LCS do or don't contribute to weight gain or whether there is anything concerning about consuming LCS's in and of themselves? This is like saying that, if those who smoke, but also eat better & exercise, are healthier/weight less than those who smoke but eat/exercise poorly - therefore we can conclude that SMOKING can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. When will we move past the concept that calories in= calories out? There is so much more to weight management and good nutrition and just taking steps to reduce caloric intake will not solve (has not solved!) the obesity crisis. After all, smoking can reduce caloric intake if one uses the cig to replace a donut craving - but not about to recommend my patients start smoking to reduce caloric intake! One of many articles raising the flags in the literature about LCS consumption for weight management: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23088901 We're starting to look at the mechanism of this "counter-intuitive" concept of weight gain with LCS - the idea of metabolic changes: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23850261 Another: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22697049 Yes, we need human studies (they are more complicated to conduct/interpret) but there's enough evidence that this "don't worry everyone, educated people consume more LCS's so they are OK" is propaganda and should not be promoted - especially when it doesn't answer the question you posed in the first place (do LCS's possibly contribute to weight GAIN).

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