Use heart to shift to a healthier diet

The ISA joins the World Heart Federation in supporting World Heart Day 2022

Brussels, 29th September 2022: The World Heart Day 2022, taking place today, encourages us to make the right decisions and to engage ourselves for heart health under the theme “Use Heart for every heart”. Raising awareness worldwide about the actions that each one of us can take to prevent and control cardiovascular disease (CVD) is crucial and that is why the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) proudly joins again the World Heart Federation in supporting World Heart Day for yet another year.

Reducing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Our heart can become vulnerable from habitual risk factors like smoking, living under stress, physical inactivity, or eating an unhealthy diet. These aspects can also affect other common CVD risk factors such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol levels, obesity and diabetes. On World Heart Day and every single day, each of us can take small steps to manage the risk of these diseases and ultimately decrease CVD risk.

Opting for a healthy diet, a cornerstone of CVD prevention

A healthy diet is key to preventing CVD and its risk factors such as obesity and diabetes. A balanced diet includes a variety of foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains, and low levels of fat, salt and sugar.

Low/no calorie sweeteners can help us bring down the intake of sugars and be part of a balanced, healthy diet and lifestyle, including for people with, or at risk of, heart disease. Two recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses of both human randomised controlled trials (RCTs)1 and observational studies2 have indicated potential cardiometabolic benefits when low/no calorie sweetened beverages are used in place of sugar-sweetened products by people living with, or at risk of, obesity or diabetes. Watch the below interview with Dr John Sievenpiper, MD, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and co-author of these studies, to understand why this new evidence is important for people living with obesity and diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke, is accountable for nearly half of all non-communicable disease (NCD) claiming over 18,6 million lives every year.3 At a time when non-communicable diseases remain major global health challenges4, and in light of current public health recommendations to reduce overall sugar intake5, low/no calorie sweeteners can be helpful in creating healthier food environments in contribution to a “whole-of-society effort”6 to stem the rise of NCD.

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.7,8 Furthermore, consumption of low/no calorie sweeteners causes a lower rise of blood glucose levels compared to sugars.9 They can therefore offer a significant aid to people with diabetes who need to manage their carbohydrate intake10 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.9

Engage in the conversation on social media about World Heart Day 2022 and share the above information and tips by using #UseHeart and #WorldHeartDay.

  1. McGlynn ND, Khan TA, Wang L, et al. Association of Low- and No-Calorie Sweetened Beverages as a Replacement for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages With Body Weight and Cardiometabolic Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Network Open 2022 Mar 1;5(3):e222092
  2. Lee JJ, Khan TA, McGlynn et al. Relation of Change or Substitution of Low- and No-Calorie Sweetened Beverages With Cardiometabolic Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Diabetes Care. 2022 Aug 1;45(8):1917-1930
  3. World Heart Day 2022, September 2022.
  4. UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, September 2018,
  5. World Health Organization (WHO). Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2015.
  6. UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, September 2011.
  7. 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
  8. Rogers PJ and Appleton KM. The effects of low-calorie sweeteners on energy intake and body weight: a systematic review and meta-analyses of sustained intervention studies. Int J Obes 2021; 45(3): 464-478
  9. 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
  10. Diabetes UK. The use of low or no calorie sweeteners. Position Statement (Updated December 2018). Available online: