Benefits for people with diabetes

Author: ISA | Posted: April 2016

Low calorie sweeteners do not affect insulin secretion nor blood glucose control and lead to a lower rise in blood sugar levels after meals if consumed instead of sugars. This benefit of low calorie sweeteners on post-prandial glucose for people with diabetes has also been recognized as a health claim by EFSA: “Consumption of foods containing low calorie sweeteners instead of sugar induces a lower blood glucose rise after their consumption compared to sugar-containing foods”.

Low calorie sweeteners offer more “sweet” food choices to people with diabetes Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when a person’s body either can no longer produce insulin, or can no longer make enough insulin, or even cannot use insulin properly. Based on the latest figures released by the International Diabetes Federation, it is estimated that, in Europe in 2015, 59.8 million people between 20-79 years of age suffer from diabetes, a number that is expected to increase to 71.1 million adults by 2040.

Low calorie sweeteners offer people with diabetes broader food choices by providing the pleasure of the sweet taste without raising blood glucose. As low calorie sweeteners have no impact on insulin and blood sugar levels and do not provide calories, they can also have a role in weight loss and weight control for people with type II diabetes.

Low calorie sweeteners may aid in glucose control

In 2012 the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) issued a joint scientific statement on low calorie sweeteners and their potential usefulness and concluded that they may help people with diabetes to better control their glucose levels and maintain a healthy body weight, when used in place of sugars. The statement highlights that:

  • Substituting low calorie sweeteners for sugars added to foods and beverages may help people reach and maintain a healthy body weight – as long as the substitution doesn’t lead to eating additional calories later as “compensation.”
  • For people with diabetes, low calorie sweeteners used alone or in foods and beverages remain an option and when used appropriately can aid in glucose control.

For more information on the role of low calorie sweeteners in diabetes management you may download the ISA factsheet:
Sweet talk on diabetes. How can low calorie sweeteners help?


  1. Gardner C, et al. Nonnutritive sweeteners: current use and health perspectives: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. (2012) Aug;35(8):1798-808.
  2. 2. IDF, Diabetes Atlas 7th edition 2015,