Low calorie sweeteners are helpful in weight control and do not predispose individuals to diabetes

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ISA statement in response to a Press Release by The Endocrine Society

The collective body of evidence supporting low calorie sweeteners’ benefits in weight control overshadow claims in a sucralose study presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting (ENDO 2018) on Sunday 18th March 2018.1

The claims by Kundu et al. regarding the potential for sucralose to affect body fat and to cause metabolic dysregulation are wholly inconsistent with the strong body of evidence based on a wealth of well-controlled human clinical studies showing that when used in place of sugar, low calorie sweeteners, including sucralose, can help in reduced overall energy intake and weight loss.2,3 Furthermore, by helping individuals including people with weight management issues to control their calorie and sugar intake without affecting glucose metabolism, low calorie sweeteners cannot predispose people to diabetes, as this experimental study suggests.

Importantly, the preliminary findings of this experimental cellular study were first presented at the Endocrine Society’s conference in 2017.4 One year later there is still no publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in order for experts to be able to review and assess the methods and results of the study and the clinical significance, if any, of these findings.

The types of studies presented at ENDO by researchers from The George Washington University are not the kinds of studies that can be considered appropriate for actual assessment of effects on human body weight or adiposity. While these cellular (in-vitro) and fat tissue biopsy (in-vivo) experiments examined effects of high exposure to sucralose outside of a living organism, it is highly questionable that actual habitual consumption of sucralose in humans would result in its accumulation in the body, including in the fat tissue, since sucralose is poorly absorbed, minimally metabolised and thus is excreted primarily unchanged in the faeces in humans.5 Therefore, experimental studies like the one presented at ENDO 2018 may lead to results that simply do not correspond to the human body.

It is widely recognised by the scientific community that it is critical to both avoid premature conclusions that might result from a single research study, especially when few details are available, and to look at the entire body of evidence. The collective body of evidence, based on a wealth of well-designed research, supports that all approved low calorie sweeteners can help safely lower calorie and sugar intake. They can be a useful tool in nutritional strategies for maintaining or lowering body weight and fatness in all people who wish to manage their body weight.

  1. https://www.endocrine.org/news-room/2018/consuming-low-calorie-sweeteners-may-predispose-overweight-…
  2. Peters, J. C., & Beck, J. Low Calorie Sweetener (LCS) use and energy balance. Physiology & behavior, 2016; 164: 524-528
  3. 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, 2016; 40(3): 381-94.
  4. https://www.sweeteners.org/category/32/news/230/low-calorie-sweeteners-benefits-in-weight-control-ar…
  5. Magnuson, B.A.,Carakostas, M.C., Moore, N.H., Poulos, S.P., Renwick, A.G. (2016). Biological fate of low-calorie sweeteners. Nutrition Reviews, 74(11): 670-689