The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) Conference 2018

Date: 6th November 2018, London, UK

“The science behind low calorie sweeteners: where evidence meets policy”

ISA Conference 2018 registration link Tuesday, 6 November 2018
Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole street, London, UK

Registration now open!

We are delighted and proud to announce that the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) is organising its next Conference in 2018, themed “The science behind low calorie sweeteners: where evidence meets policy”. We are pleased to announce that registration to the conference is now open, and to invite you to attend this leading scientific event around low calorie sweeteners’ science in London, on 6th November 2018. More information about the ISA Conference 2018, the scientific programme and practical details is available below. Don’t miss the opportunity to join us for what promises to be an insightful scientific day and register today for the early bird rate by clicking here!

Additionally, we are pleased to inform you that the ISA Conference 2018 has been endorsed by the Association for Nutrition (AfN) and the British Dietetic Association (BDA). Please note that BDA endorsement applies only to the educational content of the learning activity.

ISA Conference 2018 contact us

About the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) Conference 2018

Committed to its mission to inform about and to enhance understanding of the most up-to-date nutritional and scientific information in relation to low calorie sweeteners’ use, role and benefits, the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) organised its first scientific conference in Brussels in 2011, followed by a second ISA Conference in 2014.

This year, the third ISA Conference is moving to London and is held at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM), one of London’s premier conference venues located in the city centre, and home of the RSM since 1912. So, don’t forget to save the date: Tuesday, 6th November 2018.

Since the last ISA Conference in 2014, a wealth of new scientific research has been conducted providing further evidence about low calorie sweeteners’ use, benefits and role in the diet, and new recommendations and nutrition policies regarding sugar reduction have been developed in Europe and around the world. Therefore, in times when these subjects are of high relevance to public health, we believe that the theme of the ISA Conference in 2018, which is “The science behind low calorie sweeteners: where evidence meets policy”, will be of high scientific interest.

The ISA Conference 2018 will bring together leading international scientific experts on low calorie sweeteners who will present latest research and evidence-based information and discuss recent public health and nutrition policies related to sugar reduction. Hence, the scientific programme will cover subject areas around the use, safety and benefits of low calorie sweeteners in weight management and glucose control, as well as their role in today’s dietary recommendations.

We therefore look forward to welcoming you in London on 6th November 2018 for the third and insightful International Sweeteners Association (ISA) Conference.

The ISA Conference 2018 programme will cover a wide range of scientific and nutrition policy subjects around low calorie sweeteners. To set the scene, the conference will open with a keynote speech by Prof Adam Drewnowski (USA) on the current setting regarding low calorie sweeteners’ role in the context of public health. This will be followed by three sessions with the participation of international scientific experts on low calorie sweeteners who will present latest evidence and research around low calorie sweeteners’ use and intake, as well as their role in weight management and diabetes control. The conference will conclude with a panel discussion session around sugar reduction and the use of low calorie sweeteners from a public health perspective.

Please find below the final scientific programme of the ISA Conference 2018, which will be moderated by Stefan Gates (UK). The full list of speakers confirmed is included in the below programme.

Conference programme: "The science behind low calorie sweeteners: where evidence meets policy"

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and Introduction Robert Peterson, ISA Chairman
Keynote speech Chair: Prof Alison Gallagher (UK)  
Keynote speech: Low calorie sweeteners in the current public health discussion Prof Adam Drewnowski (USA)
Session 1 (10.00-11.25) Setting the scene: An introduction to low calorie sweeteners
Chair: Prof Carlo La Vecchia (Italy)
Regulation and approval of low calorie sweeteners by international authorities Dr Rebeca López-García (Mexico)
Evaluating research by understanding the metabolic fate of different low calorie sweeteners Dr Berna Magnuson (Canada)
Low calorie sweeteners’ use: a review of recent dietary intake assessment data Dr Séverine Goscinny (Belgium)
Tea and coffee break
Session 2 (11.50-13.20) Does evidence support a role for low calorie sweeteners in weight management?
Chair: Dr France Bellisle (France)
Sweet taste, appetite and obesity: Is there a link? Prof Kees de Graaf (Netherlands)
Latest evidence on low calorie sweeteners’ role in weight management in children and adults Dr John Sievenpiper (Canada)
How does consumer perception about low calorie sweeteners affect food behaviour and energy intake? Dr Charlotte Hardman (UK)
Lunch break
Session 3 (14.10-15.40) Low calorie sweeteners and glucose control: can they be an aid in diabetes management?
Chairs: Dr Marc Fantino (France); Dr Wendy Russell (UK)
Do low calorie sweeteners affect glycaemic control and insulin sensitivity? Dr Hugo Laviada-Molina (Mexico)
Low calorie sweeteners and gut microbiota: Why is there a debate? Prof Ian Rowland (UK)
Low calorie sweeteners’ role in the dietary recommendations for people with diabetes Dr Duane Mellor (UK)
Tea and coffee break
Panel discussion session (16.00-17.00) Sugar reduction and low calorie sweeteners’ use from a public health perspective
Chair: Prof Peter Rogers (UK)
The use of low calorie sweeteners in sugar reduction: challenges and opportunities Prof Judith Buttriss (UK)
Panel discussion: Prof Peter Rogers (chair)
Panel speakers: Prof Judith Buttriss, Prof Adam Drewnowski, Prof Alison Gallagher, Prof Carlo La Vecchia, Dr France Bellisle, Dr Marc Fantino
Closing remarks  

Conference speakers (listed in alphabetical order)

  • Dr France Bellisle, Nutri Psy Consult, France
  • Prof Judith Buttriss BSc PhD DipDiet RNutr FAfN, Director General, British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), UK
  • Prof Kees de Graaf, Wageningen University, Netherlands
  • Prof Adam Drewnowski, University of Washington, USA
  • Dr Marc Fantino, CreaBio Rhône-Alpes research center, France
  • Prof Alison Gallagher, Ulster University, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Dr Séverine Goscinny, Scientific Institute of Public Health, Belgium
  • Dr Charlotte Hardman, PhD, Lecturer, Department of Psychological Sciences, Univeristy of Liverpool, UK
  • Prof Carlo La Vecchia, University of Milan, Italy
  • Dr Hugo Laviada-Molina, MD, MMedSci, Marist University of Merida, Mexico
  • Dr Rebeca López-García, PhD, Logre International Food Science Consulting, Mexico
  • Dr Berna Magnuson, Health Science Consultants, Canada
  • Dr Duane Mellor, Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition, Coventry University, UK
  • Prof Peter Rogers, Univeristy of Bristol, UK
  • Dr Ian Rowland, Emeritus Professor of Human Nutrition, University of Reading, UK
  • Dr Wendy Russell, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Dr John Sievenpiper, University of Toronto, Canada

The conference will provide a unique opportunity to network with international delegates from academia and research, public health, civil society, professional health organisations, and the medical field.

We are excited about what promises to be a strong scientific programme with the participation of globally renowned scientific speakers. If you would like to be the first to get all updates about the speakers and the final scientific programme of the ISA conference, please sign up to our newsletter here.

[Abstracts and speakers’ biographies will be available soon]

Congress Language

The official language of the congress is English. No simultaneous translation will be provided.

Dr France Bellisle, Nutri Psy Consult, France
Following her Bachelor Degree (McGill University, Montreal) and a Masters Degree (Concordia University, Montreal) in experimental psychology, France Bellisle worked at the College de France in Paris in the laboratory of Jacques Le Magnen. She obtained Doctorate Degrees from the University of Paris. From 1982 until 2010, in the context of French National Research Institutes (CNRS, INRA), she developed original research in the field of human ingestive behaviours. Her research interests cover all types of determinants of food and fluid intake in human consumers, including psychological, sensory and metabolic factors as well as environmental influences. She has published over 250 articles in peer reviewed journals and contributed chapters to several books. She is now an independent consultant for scientific projects in the field of human appetite.

Prof Judith Buttriss, British Nutrition Foundation, UK
Professor Buttriss became Director General of the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) in October 2007, having been BNF’s Science Director for almost 10 years. She has longstanding links with several universities and over 30 years of experience in providing targeted advice on nutrition and applying science to develop nutrition policy (including several UK government initiatives focusing on nutrient profiling in relation to children’s diets and healthy eating in general). She sits on a number of advisory committees considering nutrition and the food supply and has written numerous reviews, articles and book chapters on a wide range of diet and health topics, including topics as diverse as health claims, plant foods and health, child nutrition, healthy ageing, and sustainable diets.

Prof Kees de Graaf, Wageningen University, Netherlands
Kees (C) de Graaf is a Professor in Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour, Division Human Nutrition and Health, at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The objective of the Sensory Science and Eating Behavior group is to unravel the psychobiological mechanisms underlying eating behaviour. The mission of the group is “to make healthy choice the happy choice”. Wageningen University is responsible for the 2-year MSc program on Sensory Science, including technological, biological, psychological and sensometric approaches to sensory science. De Graaf is educated as a nutritionist. In 1988 he defended his Ph.D thesis on the perceived sweetness intensity of mixtures of sweeteners. He published about 260 papers, and his h-index is 53. His teaching focuses on the meaning of sensory signals for eating behaviour and the regulation of energy intake. His attention focuses on different groups (children, elderly, normal – overweight people), effects of properties of food on choice and intake with modern techniques of measurement (e.g. MRI). De Graaf is associate editor of Food Quality and Preference, and section editor of Physiology and Behavior.

Prof Adam Drewnowski, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Prof. Dr. Adam Drewnowski is the Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition and of the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. He obtained his MA degree in biochemistry at Balliol College, Oxford University and PhD degree in psychology at The Rockefeller University in New York. His Nutrient Rich Food Index (NRF), a measure of nutrient density, helps to identify foods that are healthy, affordable, sustainable, and appealing. His work on nutrient profiling has helped food industry to reformulate product portfolios for better alignment with national and global guidelines. His research on food and beverage consumption patterns in relation to body weight and health outcomes has focused on food prices, diet disparities, and health equity issues. Prof. Drewnowski is the author of over 300 research publications. He advises governments, foundations, NGOs, and the private sector on geopolitical strategies related to diets and health.

Dr. Marc Fantino, Burgundy University, France
Marc Fantino is a Medical Doctor (MD) and Doctor of biological sciences. Appointed as full professor of medicine at the Medical School / University-Hospital of Dijon-France (1982), he was the head of the Department of Human Physiology and Nutrition from 1987 to 2013. At the same time, he was Director of the Doctoral School of life sciences of the Universities of Burgundy and of Franche-Comté (1993 to 2001), expert at the French National Agency for Food Safety (1996-2006) and also Chairman of the National Nutrition and Health Program logo award committee (2004-2011). Being an honorary Professor of the Burgundy University since 2013, he co-founded and now manages a clinical research organization, CREABio Rhône-Alpes®, accredited by health authorities to conduct human studies. In this center, basic and applied research is implemented in the field of the sensorial and metabolic processes which regulate feeding behaviours and fat mass in humans. For these works, different behavioural, neurophysiologic or pharmacological approaches and models are developed.

Prof Alison Gallagher, Ulster University, UK
Alison Gallagher is Professor of Public Health Nutrition at Ulster University where she contributes to the research conducted within the Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health (NICHE). Her research interests resonate within the area of obesity and include low calorie sweeteners and their potential impact on health, development of risk factors for disease and lifestyle interventions at key stages across the lifecycle particularly to enhance physical activity and health. A Registered Nutritionist (Public Health), she was the first Fellow of the Association for Nutrition (FAfN) on the island of Ireland. An active member of the Nutrition Society, she currently co-Chairs the Science Committee for the next FENS European Nutrition Conference. She is a passionate advocate for the European Nutrition Leadership Platform (ENLP), having participated in the ENLP seminar in 1997 and being involved with this international leadership programme ever since, now as Chair/President of the ENLP Board (

Stefan Gates, UK
Stefan Gates is a hugely popular writer and TV presenter with a vast breadth of knowledge and a confident, sparky presenting style. He’s renowned for his love of quirky culinary quests and extraordinary food adventures. Stefan Gates has written and presented 18 TV series including food science series Harvest (BBC2), Food Factory (BBC1) and E Numbers: An Edible Adventure (BBC2), and three series of Cooking in the Danger Zone (BBC2) about global hunger and the politics of food. His programmes are shown in over 50 countries around the world. He also makes the acclaimed kids’ series Incredible Edibles and Gastronuts (CBBC). He appears as a guest on dozens of others from Newsnight to Blue Peter. He has recently finished two BBC4 documentaries: Can Eating Insects Save the World? and Calves Heads and Coffee: the Golden Age of English Food. He has won several awards for his TV series and books. Stefan gives numerous talks at Science Festivals, and has been guest director of Cheltenham Science Festival. He has written eight books, performed more than 1000 live shows and is in production on a new Channel 5’s series. His latest book, Insects: An Edible Field Guide, published in June 2017, explores the origins of insect eating, tips on finding edible bugs as well as providing some ideas for how to eat them once tracked down!

Dr Séverine Goscinny, Scientific Institute of Public Health, Belgium
Will be made available soon.

Dr Charlotte Hardman, University of Liverpool, UK
Dr Charlotte Hardman is a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Liverpool. She is interested in psychological determinants of appetite and eating behaviour and the application of this knowledge to interventions for health behaviour change. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Leeds and her PhD research at Bangor University. Her research portfolio encompasses experimental studies on basic mechanisms of appetite control through to interventions to increase healthy dietary behaviours in children. In current work, she is examining the effects of low-calorie sweetened beverages on appetite in a large randomized controlled trial for weight management (the SWITCH study). In the recently-awarded SWEET project grant (European Commission Horizon 2020) she will be working with 28 partners from across Europe to investigate the consequences of sugar replacement in foods and beverages. She has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and co-ordinates the North West Network for the Association for the Study of Obesity.

Prof Carlo La Vecchia, University of Milan, Italy
Dr. La Vecchia received his medical degree from the University of Milan and a master of science degree in Medicine (epidemiology) from Oxford University. Presently, he is Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Milan. Dr. La Vecchia serves as an editor for numerous clinical and epidemiologic journals. He is among the most renowned and productive epidemiologists in the field with over 2050 peer-reviewed papers in the literature and is among the most highly cited medical researchers in the world, according to ISI, the developer and publisher of the Science Citation Index (2003, 2017, H index 154, H10 index 1571, second Italian in Clinical Medicine). Dr. La Vecchia is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt Medical Centre and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Centre (2002-18).

Dr Hugo Laviada Molina, Marist University of Mérida, Mexico
Dr Hugo Laviada Molina is a clinical endocrinologist who obtained his medical degree from the University of Yucatan, in Merida, Mexico, and graduated from the postgraduate unit of the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He received a master's degree in Medical Sciences (in endocrinology) from the University of Sheffield, UK. He is also a graduate in clinical nutrition and obesity at the Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey, (Campus Guadalajara), in Mexico. Currently, he is a professor-researcher in Metabolism and Human Nutrition at the Marist University of Mérida, Mexico. He belongs to the national system of researchers of the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACyT). He is titular member of the Mexican Society of Nutrition and Endocrinology and of the Latin American Diabetes Society being coordinator of their position papers on low calorie sweeteners.

Dr Rebeca López-García, Logre International Food Science Consulting, Mexico
Dr Rebeca López-García has been an independent consultant in the areas of food safety, toxicology, regulations and crisis management for almost 20 years. She has worked with organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); universities such as the University of Arizona, Michigan State University, New Mexico State University and Universidad La Salle; and companies around the world. Rebeca is a guest lecturer on Latin American Food Regulations for Michigan State University since 2002. Dr. López-García belongs to the scientific advisory board of food and beverage companies. She has been instrumental in the regulatory approval of several food additives and novel ingredients in Latin American countries. In 1998, she received a Ph.D. in Food Science and Toxicology from Louisiana State University.

Dr Berna Magnuson, Health Science Consultants Inc., Mississauga, ON Canada
Berna Magnuson is Vice President of Health Science Consultants, Inc. in Mississauga, Canada. Dr. Magnuson obtained a BSc (Honors) in Foods and Nutrition and worked in the food industry in quality assurance and product development. She then completed a MSc in Toxicology, a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, and postdoctoral research in pathology and biochemistry of colon cancer in Canada. Dr. Magnuson was a university professor for over 15 years in the US, conducting research in diet and colon cancer, and teaching food, nutrition and toxicology courses. Dr. Magnuson now works as a consultant providing expertise in food regulations, nutrition and toxicology to food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient industries, as well as health professional and consumer associations. Dr. Magnuson has extensive expertise in ingredient safety, including low calorie sweeteners, and serves as an expert advisor and speaker globally. In additional to confidential client reports and regulatory submissions, she has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and professional articles. Dr. Magnuson is also a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences (ATS).

Prof Peter Rogers, University of Bristol, UK
Peter Rogers is Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Bristol, UK. He trained in biological sciences and experimental psychology at the University of Sussex UK. He completed his PhD and postdoctoral work at the University of Leeds UK, moving to the Institute of Food Research, Reading UK in 1990. He moved to the University of Bristol UK in 1999, where he teaches biological psychology and does research on nutrition and behavior: which includes work on human appetite and weight control, low-calorie-sweeteners, food choice, dietary effects on mood and cognitive function, and the psychopharmacology of caffeine. He is a Chartered Psychologist, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a Registered Nutritionist. His publications include over 200 peer-review journal papers.

Prof Ian Rowland, University of Reading, UK
Ian graduated with a BSc (Hons, First Class) and PhD in microbiology from University College London. Prior to joining the University of Reading in 2007 as the Hugh Sinclair Professor of Human Nutrition, he was head of nutrition at the University of Ulster and Director of the Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health. Currently, he is Editor in Chief of the European Journal of Nutrition. His main research area is the interaction of diet, gut microbiota and health with a particular focus on the metabolism of phytochemicals and impact on health. In 2005 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Gent in Belgium for his work on nutrition and cancer. He has published over 400 papers and is on the Thompson-Reuters List of Most Highly Cited Researchers 2016.

Dr Wendy Russell, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health (Gut Health Theme Lead), University of Aberdeen, UK
Wendy is a chemist specialised in molecular nutrition researching the complex interplay between diet and health. Her research aims to establish the effect of our diet on several population groups and through dietary interventions, to understand the role of food in preventing disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Wendy has funding from the Scottish Government to investigate the potential of novel crops, particularly in protein provision for the future and the exploitation of underutilised plant species to improve nutrition and agrobiodiversity. As well as researching new opportunities for the UK Food and Drink industry, Global Challenges funding is allowing translation of this work to benefit small-scale rural farmers and co-operatives in sub-Saharan Africa. Wendy is an associate editor for Microbiome and chairs International Life Science Institute expert groups on ‘nutritional management of postprandial glycaemia’ and ‘efficacy of intervention in those with metabolic syndrome’.

Dr John Sievenpiper, University of Toronto, Canada
Dr. Sievenpiper is a Clinician Scientist, who holds appointments as an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Lifestyle Medicine Lead in the MD Program at the University of Toronto. He also holds appointments as a Staff Physician in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism and Scientist in the La Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Sievenpiper completed his MSc, PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowship training in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. He completed his MD at St. Matthew’s University followed by Residency training in Medical Biochemistry at McMaster University leading to his certification as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada (FRCPC). His research is focused on using randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews and meta-analyses to address questions of clinical and public health importance in relation to diet and chronic disease prevention. He currently holds a Diabetes Canada Clinician Scientist Award and Banting & Best Diabetes Centre Sun Life Financial New Investigator Award. He has authored more than 150 scientific papers and 13 book chapters. Dr. Sievenpiper is directly involved in knowledge translation with appointments to the nutrition guidelines’ committees of Diabetes Canada, European Association for the study of Diabetes (EASD), Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS), and the Canadian Obesity Network.

Registration now open

Registration to the ISA Conference 2018 is now open. Only limited places will be available, so do not miss the opportunity to attend this conference and register now by clicking here. Please find below the registration rates:

Registration type Early bird rate - EXTENDED!
(until 15th September 2018)*
Standard rate
(from 16th September 2018)*
Industry £250 £300
Academics, HCPs, NGOs and Public Health representatives £150 £195
Accredited journalists Free of charge  

* Registration fees include 20% UK VAT.

Registrations for students will open in October. Limited places may be available.

Questions about the ISA Conference 2018? Contact us here.

Register today for the lower early bird rate!

ISA Conference 2018 registration link

Conference venue

The conference will be held at the building of the Royal Society of Medicine (1 Wimpole street, W1G 0AE, London, UK), home of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) since 1912 and one of London’s premier scientific conference and event venues located in the heart of London city centre.

For more information about the RSM venue and about how you can get there, please visit the venue’s website at:


The conference venue, the Royal Society of Medicine, is centrally located near many hotels and is conveniently located between Bond Street and Oxford Circus underground lines. For an overview of the hotels available in this area, please visit the HotelMap website (external website) by clicking here.

About previous ISA Conferences

The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) organised its first scientific conference in Brussels, in 2011, on “Low calorie foods, beverages and sweeteners: Can they really contribute to a healthier future?”. More information can be accessed here. This was the starting point of the organisation of a successful scientific event around low calorie sweeteners’ science, leading to another ISA Conference in 2014 in Brussels, on “Making low calorie count: the effective use of low calorie sweeteners in the diet”. For more information about the ISA Conference in 2014 please click here.

About the ISA

The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) AISBL is an international non-profit organisation with scientific aims representing suppliers and users of low/no calorie sweeteners, including tabletop sweetener manufacturers. The ISA shares new and existing science on the benefits of consuming foods and drinks with low calorie sweeteners as part of a balanced diet. The ISA is recognised by the European Commission, national and international regulatory authorities, and the World Health Organization, and has Non-Government Observer status with the Codex Alimentarius Commission which establishes international food standards. To read more about the ISA, please click here.