Low calorie sweeteners & healthful habits


Posted: 01 Oct 2016

A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best allies for a good health. And it’s not even as hard as we may think! We just have to make smarter food choices and small, simple steps towards a more balanced and active lifestyle!

Recent studies have found that the consumption of low calorie sweetened products is associated with lower energy intake and healthier diets, which include more fruits, vegetables, wholegrain products, low fat dairy, and less fat- and sugar-containing foods.

Low calorie sweeteners use is associated with healthier diets

In early 2016, Gibson et al. analysed data from a sample of 1590 participants of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) in order to explore if people who consume low calorie sweetened beverages tend to follow healthier diets. The study found that diet drinks’ consumers had indeed a better diet quality, which was similar to non-consumers, as both groups had higher fish, fruits and vegetables consumption, and lower meat, saturated fats and sugars intake, compared to sugar-sweetened beverage (SSBs) consumers and/ or those individuals drinking both SSBs and sugar-free beverages. Most importantly, diet drinks’ consumers had an identical mean total energy intake (1719 kcal/ day) as non-consumers (1718 kcal/day) and a significantly lower energy intake compared to SSBs consumers (1958 kcal/day) and consumers of both type of beverages (1986 kcal/day).

Read more about the study by Gibson et al

Previously, a 2014 analysis of the 1999-2008 data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners is linked to higher diet quality and overall healthier lifestyle. The study by Drewnowski and Rehm found that the use of low-calorie sweeteners was associated with higher healthy eating index scores, more physical activity and less smoking.

Watch the interview with Prof Drewnowski talking about the association between low calorie sweeteners use and diet quality here.

Similarly, these findings are also supported by an earlier study by Sigman-Grant and Hsieh published in 2005, which found that people who regularly use low calorie sweeteners may choose healthier diets.

In addition, in a 2014 online survey by Catenacci et al., consumption of low calorie sweeteners was found to be high among successful “weight loss maintainers” (individuals who have not only lost weight, but also kept it off), as they use low calorie sweeteners instead of caloric sweeteners in their effort to manage their energy intake. This study also showed that successful maintainers are eating higher-quality, more balanced diets and getting more physical activity.

When combined with a healthy lifestyle, which includes being physically active and adopting a balanced diet, using low calorie sweeteners to reduce calories is a winning strategy for improved weight management and better health.

References

  1. Gibson, S.A.; Horgan, G.W.; Francis, L.E.; Gibson, A.A.; Stephen, A.M. Low Calorie Beverage Consumption Is Associated with Energy and Nutrient Intakes and Diet Quality in British Adults. Nutrients 2016, 8(1), 9
  2. Drewnowski A and Rehm CD. Consumption of low-calorie sweeteners among U.S. adults is associated with higher Healthy Eating Index (HEI 2005) scores and more physical activity. Nutrients. 2014 Oct 17; 6(10): 4389-403.
  3. Sigman-Grant M, and Hsieh G. Reported use of reduced sugars foods and beverages reflect high quality diets. Journal of Food Science. 2005; 70(1): S42-S46.
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