Low calorie sweeteners’ role in the dietary recommendations for people with diabetes

A presentation by Dr Duane Mellor at the ISA Conference 2018
The first recommendation of the Diabetes UK Nutritional Guidelines is to support ‘an individualised approach to diet taking into consideration the person’s personal and cultural preferences’. This is framed in recommendations based on foods rather than nutrients. There are recommendations which encourage a reduced consumption of red and processed meat along with less refined carbohydrates and sugar sweetened beverages. With respect to the latter points, low calorie sweeteners have a potential role in helping individuals to reduce their sugar and energy intake. There has been a number of reports suggesting that intakes of sweeteners may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, this data is not consistent and relates to the development of type 2 diabetes and not its management. Therefore, it is apparent, in line with current guidelines low calorie sweeteners have the potential to be part of an individualised dietary approach. Although low calorie sweeteners are not the dietary solution on their own to manage type 2 diabetes, they can be a useful way to reduce energy and free sugars intakes. Whether the inclusion of low calorie sweeteners is likely to benefit someone living with diabetes is likely to depend on which foods and drinks they are found in and how these foods are incorporated in a dietary pattern. Consuming low calorie sweeteners as part of a diet based on vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, fish, nuts and pulses could be a way of maintaining quality of life through the addition of sweet flavours without energy or sugar.

ISA-FINUT Webinar: “Science update on low/no calorie sweeteners: from safety assessment to evidence-based recommendations and emerging research” [English recording]

ISA-SBAN Webinar: “Recommendations and regulation on the use of low/no calorie sweeteners: global and Brazilian perspectives” [English recording]

ISA Webinar: “Safety of low/no calorie sweeteners and their role in weight control and diabetes” [English recording]