ISA statement in response to the study published by Kuk and Brown, York University, Canada regarding aspartame intake and glucose intolerance in obese individuals
The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) has examined the results of the observational study by Kuk and Brown entitled “Aspartame intake is associated with greater glucose intolerance in individuals with obesity”1 published recently in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, and supports that there is no evidence whatsoever to prove any direct link between the aspartame consumption and glucose intolerance by obese people.
A number of limitations is acknowledged by the authors including the methodology used for dietary reporting as well as the observational nature of the study, which cannot prove a causal association. As the authors note, ‘the results of this study are based on a 24-hour self-reported diet, and may not be reflective of chronic intake patterns.’ Moreover, it is important to note that there is always a risk for error in self-reported dietary outcomes, as the 24-hour recall is a tool that is known to have important limitations. More importantly, as with all observational studies, the possibility that the results might be influenced by a number of residual and unmeasured confounding factors that have not been examined in this study cannot be excluded, therefore, the authors recognise that their observations and findings might also be due to chance.
On the contrary, scientific evidence coming from human clinical studies have repetitively shown that low calorie sweeteners can help provide people with diabetes with wider food choices and the pleasure of sweet taste without contributing to raised blood glucose or insulin levels.2 More importantly, in 2012, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that ‘Consumption of foods and drinks containing low calorie sweeteners instead of sugar induces a lower glucose rise after their consumption compared to sugar-containing food and drinks.’3You may find interesting information about the use of low calorie sweeteners for people with diabetes in the ISA factsheet ‘Sweet talk on diabetes: How can low calorie sweeteners help?’ by clicking here