Experts conclude that a wealth of well controlled human studies suggest low calorie sweeteners can be a helpful tool in weight management

34th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition, Prague: Worldwide renowned scientists agree that “there is high quality research in humans that consistently affirms the useful role of low calorie sweeteners in short- and long-term weight control and management.” In the context of the 34th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition, held in Prague between June 29th and July 1st, four renowned experts in their fields were invited by the organisers to participate in an enlightening session and panel discussion around low calorie sweeteners and their role in obesity and diabetes epidemics.

The 34th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition, which was organised by the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), brought together worldwide renowned scientists, nutrition and diabetes experts and healthcare professionals from around the world to discuss and debate emerging science developments on the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

In the session entitled “Sweet Living: Can non–caloric sweeteners help in the fight against obesity and diabetes?”, which took place on Friday 1st July, Prof Fred Brouns, Dr France Bellisle, Prof Peter Rogers, and Dr James O. Hill, presented the results of their recent respective research1, 2, 3 and the most up-to-date data from the scientific literature on the role of low calorie sweeteners in weight management. During the panel discussion the speakers concluded that the latest high quality human studies and systematic reviews published in 2016 add further value to an already existing wealth of data that have repeatedly demonstrated that low calorie sweeteners and foods and drinks containing them can help people reduce sugar and energy intake, when used as part of a weight control dietary programme and in place of sugars. More specifically, the panel speakers stressed out that “Based on the strong body of evidence of human studies, we can be confident that low calorie sweeteners can be an effective tool in weight management. When used as part of a weight control programme, low calorie sweetened foods and drinks can help people reduce overall caloric intake while keeping the preferred sweet taste of their favourable foods and drinks.”

In contrast to what is often believed, sound scientific studies do not show that the use of low calorie sweeteners leads to eating more sugar-containing foods or drinks. Individuals who start using low calorie sweetened drinks appear to make healthier choices in their diets, in favour of an improved overall diet quality. By providing sweet taste without the calories, low calorie sweetened options can make a useful contribution in empowering people to make smart choices without compromising on the pleasant taste of sweetness and help them achieve a balanced diet and lifestyle.

For more details on the congress and the session entitled “Sweet Living: Can non–caloric sweeteners help in the fight against obesity and diabetes?”, and to read more about the speakers’ presentations please click here.

  1. Rogers PJ. 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 (Lond). 2016 Mar;40(3):381-94. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.177. Epub 2015 Sep 14
  2. Peters JC, Beck J, Cardel M, Wyatt H, Foster G, Pan Z, Wojtanowski A, Vander Veur S, Herring S, Brill C, Hill J, The Effects of Water and Non-Nutritive Sweetened Beverages on Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Feb;24(2):297-304. doi: 10.1002/oby.21327. Epub 2015 Dec 26.
  3. Bellisle F. Intense Sweeteners, Appetite for the Sweet Taste, and Relationship to Weight Management. Curr Obes Rep. 2015;4(1):106-10. doi: 10.1007/s13679-014-0133-8