ISA responds to claims made by Chia et al in new observational study

Posted: 09 January 2017

ISA comments on new observational study by Chia et al

A strong body of evidence based on high quality clinical studies shows that low calorie sweeteners can help reduce energy intake and thus can be a useful tool in weight loss, when used in place of sugar and as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. This is also confirmed in a thorough systematic review and meta-analysis1, which analysed the totality of the available scientific literature in relation to low calorie sweeteners’ effect on energy intake and weight loss.

There is no evidence that low calorie sweeteners cause fat accumulation or obesity. The study by Chia et al is an observational study. Researchers know that observational studies, by their nature, cannot prove cause and effect. Direct research shows that low calorie sweeteners do not cause weight gain. This is completely consistent with the fact that low calorie sweeteners have no calories to contribute to either gaining weight or developing fat. Importantly, there is also no substantiated mechanism for low calorie sweeteners to lead to such possible outcomes.


  1. Rogers PJ, Hogenkamp PS, de Graaf K, et al. Does low-energy sweetener consumption affect energy intake and body weight? A systematic review, including meta-analyses, of the evidence from human and animal studies. Int J Obes 2016; 40(3): 381-94