Use heart to live a healthier life

The ISA joins the World Heart Federation in supporting World Heart Day 2020

Brussels, 29th September 2020: The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) proudly joins the World Heart Federation for another year in supporting World Heart Day today and its related activities, as well as to raise awareness about the value of using our heart to make better choices, including adopting a healthier diet and lifestyle.

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the world’s number one cause of death today:

  • By 2035, 45% of people will have at least one cardiovascular disease;1
  • Cardiovascular disease is preventable: by controlling risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided;2
  • World leaders are committed to reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one third by 2030,3 as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, are more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.4

World Heart Day is celebrated every year on 29th September and aims to raise awareness about the actions that we, individuals, healthcare professionals, employers and governments, can take to prevent and control cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). World Heart Day 2020 is about encouraging every one of us to use our heart to beat CVDs and to live a heart-healthier life. Everyone can use their heart to make better choices: to eat more healthily and to adopt a healthier lifestyle, including by getting more active. Everyone can use their heart and mind to help themselves, their family, friends, patients, and even employees to take steps towards beating CVDs.1

Use your heart for small lifestyle changes towards living a heart-healthier life

Small steps can be taken towards eating well and getting more active, which can help achieve a heart-healthier life, such as:

  • Turning to fruit and vegetables aiming to eat 5 portions a day (about a handful each); variety helps meet your target – they can be fresh, frozen, tinned or dried!
  • Limit foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar; the nutrition information on food labels can help you choose wisely!
  • Cut down on sugary treats and beverages; low/no calorie sweetened food and drink alternatives have less sugar and fewer calories and can therefore be a useful option if you want to keep enjoying the pleasure of sweet taste. Also, you may swap sweet, sugary treats for fresh fruit as a healthy alternative.
  • Keep the amount of alcohol you drink within recommended guidelines.
  • Prepare your own healthy school or work lunches at home.
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 times a week. Or more!
  • Remember: changes can be small and do not need to happen all at once, but the impact on your heart health can be huge.

Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease

Obesity is a major risk factor for heart diseases. Increased body weight leads to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and may affect blood pressure and blood lipid levels.5 Similarly, people with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease.6 Importantly, in the current Covid-19 pandemic underlying health conditions, including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are associated with increased risk and severity of COVID-19 outcomes7, and this is reflected in public health policy strategies to address the pandemic8,9The current pandemic has made all the more urgent tackling NCDs, including their diet-related risk factors.

Low/no calorie sweeteners have a beneficial role to play when used in place of sugar and as part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, including for people at risk of heart disease. In fact, low/no calorie sweeteners provide virtually no calories, so they can help reduce the total amount of calories people consume and thereby help people manage their weight.10,11 Furthermore, consumption of low/no calorie sweeteners causes a lower rise of blood glucose levels compared to sugars.12 They can therefore offer a significant aid to people with diabetes who need to manage their carbohydrate intake13 but who want to keep enjoying sweet-tasting food and drinks. Importantly also, low/no calorie sweeteners do not contribute to tooth demineralisation, which is one of the reasons for tooth decay.12

Engage in the conversation on social media about World Heart Day 2020 and share the above information and tips by using #WorldHeartDay and #UseHeart.

  5. World Heart Federation. Factsheet: Diet, overweight and obesity. Published 30 May 2017. Available at:
  6. World Heart Federation. A roadmap on the prevention of cardiovascular disease among people living with diabetes. Global Heart 2019 Sep 2; 14(3): 215-240
  7. ECDC, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the EU/EEA and the UK, 8 April 2020,…
  8. Policy paper. Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, 27 July 2020,…
  9. COM(2020) 318 final. Short-term EU health preparedness for COVID-19 outbreaks.
  10. Laviada-Molina H, Molina-Segui F, Pérez-Gaxiola G, et al. Effects of nonnutritive sweeteners on body weight and BMI in diverse clinical contexts: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev 2020; 21(7) :e13020
  11. Rogers PJ, Hogenkamp PS, de Graaf C, 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
  12. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that: “Consumption of foods/drinks containing intense sweeteners instead of sugar induces a lower blood glucose rise after their consumption compared to sugar-containing foods/drinks” and that: “Consumption of foods/drinks containing intense sweeteners instead of sugar contributes to the maintenance of tooth mineralisation”. EFSA Scientific opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to intense sweeteners. EFSA 2011 Journal 9(6): 2229, and 9(4): 2076
  13. Diabetes UK. The use of low or no calorie sweeteners. Position Statement (Updated December 2018). Available online:…