Perspectives on Low Calorie Intense Sweeteners with a Focus on Aspartame and Stevia

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Author(s): Caomhan Logue, Stephan J. A. C. Peters, Alison M. Gallagher and Hans Verhagen
Publication name: European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, 2015; 5(2): 104-112
Publication year: 2015


The safety of some food additives/E-numbers, including low calorie (intense) sweeteners (LCS), is constantly the subject of dispute and controversy. However, since LCS have been assigned an acceptable daily intake (ADI) and an E-number following extensive assessment of available safety and toxicological data, consumer safety is assured. These substances have been carefully evaluated, for example by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), leading to the conclusion that they are essentially safe when consumption is below ADI levels. Although, intake data indicate that general consumption of LCS is relatively low, many people appear to remain concerned about their safety, particularly aspartame (E951). More recently, stevia (steviol glycosides, E960) has been marketed as a “natural” alternative to aspartame. However, it is unclear whether stevia can live up to its promises. With regards to public health, the real risk within our diet is not the safety of food additives, but rather more likely to be the potential impacts of consuming too much energy and/or an unhealthy dietary pattern.


All approved low calorie sweeteners (LCS) are safe to consume. The impact of substituting LCS for sugar in commonly consumed food and beverage products on health, particularly weight status, has been the subject of debate in recent years. Recent research has shown that both in adults and children drinking beverages sweetened with sweeteners instead of beverages with sugar could lead to lower energy intake and more efficient weight loss and management. This suggests that LCS could indeed make a positive contribution to public health, as previously calculated.

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