World Obesity Day 2024

Let’s talk about obesity and the joy of healthy eating

On World Obesity Day (WOD), celebrated annually on 4th March, the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) aims to talk about obesity and encourage conversations about how every sector including the food industry has a role to play in creating healthy and sustainable environments where people can live longer, healthier lives.

For this year’s campaign, the ISA has developed a series of online materials to “talk about obesity and the joy of healthy eating”, including a booklet and videos with new healthy, good tasting recipes, and a factsheet with smart food/drink swaps for sugars and calorie savings. In addition, the ISA factsheet about obesity, weight control and the role of low/no calorie sweeteners has been updated with the latest scientific evidence.

As part of this campaign, the ISA is honoured to be partnering with renowned obesity and health-related organisations, including: ADEXO1, the association for people living with obesity in Portugal; the Brazilian diabetes association (ANAD)2, the Brazilian Association of Diabetes Educators (ANBED)3 and the Brazilian Federation of Diabetes’ Organisations (FENAD)4.

Let’s talk about obesity and… how low/no calorie sweeteners can contribute to the joy of healthy eating

Humans’ appetite for sweet taste is something that we are born with1. However, this innate propensity for sweet taste does not mean that individuals have to give up the taste they enjoy in order to maintain a healthy weight. A healthy eating pattern can include a range of sweet tasting foods such as fruits, a limited amount of sugars, and foods or drinks with low/no calorie sweeteners. By using low/no calorie sweeteners instead of sugars in home recipes and by swapping a sugar-sweetened food or drink with its low/no calorie sweetened equivalent, people can reduce the intake of sugars and energy (calories), while maintaining the pleasure of sweet taste as part of a healthy diet.

Low/no calorie sweeteners are used in food and drink products in place of sugars to confer the desired level of sweet taste while contributing very little or no energy at all to the final product1. Therefore, by substituting sugars with low/no calorie sweeteners, it is possible to lower the energy density in a variety of foods and especially in drinks2. This means people can continue to enjoy the sweet taste while reducing or managing their daily sugars and calorie intake, which in turn can assist with weight management and glycaemic control3,4. In addition, swapping sugars for low/no calorie sweeteners in food products such as sugar-free chewing gum may also offer dental health benefits5.

We invite you to watch the newly developed videos and to follow the steps for preparing healthy, good-tasting, sweet recipes. You may also download the new recipe booklet for more great-tasting breakfast, dessert, and drink recipe options.

Healthcare professionals may find useful to read two updated ISA factsheets presenting smart swaps with low/no calorie sweeteners and the latest evidence on the role of low/no calorie sweeteners in weight control, respectively. More scientific information about their role and benefits is available in the recently updated ISA booklet, a guide to the science of low/no calorie sweeteners published in September 2023.

Engage in the conversation about World Obesity Day 2024 using #WorldObesityDay, #ObesityAnd and #ISA4WOD.

  1. Associação de Doentes Obesos e Ex-obesos de Portugal
  2. Associação Nacional de Atenção ao Diabetes
  3. Associação Nacional Brasileira de Educadores em Diabetes
  4. Federação Nacional de Associações e Entitades de Diabetes
  5. Drewnowski A, Mennella JA, Johnson SL, Bellisle F. Sweetness and Food Preference. J. Nutr. 2012;142:1142S–1148S
  6. Gibson S, Drewnowski J, Hill A, Raben B, Tuorila H, Windstrom E. Consensus statement on benefits of low calorie sweeteners. Nutrition Bulletin. 2014;39(4):386-389
  7. Gibson S, Ashwell M, Arthur J, et al. What can the food and drink industry do to help achieve the 5% free sugars goal? Perspect Public Health. 2017;137(4):237-247
  8. Ashwell M, Gibson S, Bellisle F, Buttriss J, Drewnowski A, Fantino M, et al. Expert consensus on low-calorie sweeteners: facts, research gaps and suggested actions. Nutr Res Rev. 2020;33(1):145-154
  9. Rogers PJ, Appleton KM. The effects of low-calorie sweeteners on energy intake and body weight: a systematic review and meta-analyses of sustained intervention studies. Int J Obes (Lond). 2021;45(3):464-478
  10. FDI Policy Statement: Sugar substitutes and their role in caries prevention. Adopted by the FDI General Assembly, 26th September 2008, Stockholm, Sweden. Available at: