Expert consensus on low-calorie sweeteners: facts, research gaps and suggested actions

Margaret Ashwell, Sigrid Gibson, France Bellisle, Judith Buttriss, Adam Drewnowski, Marc Fantino, Alison M Gallagher, Kees de Graaf, Séverine Goscinny, Charlotte A Hardman, Hugo Laviada-Molina, Rebeca López-García, Berna Magnuson, Duane Mellor, Peter J Rogers, Ian Rowland, Wendy Russell, John L Sievenpiper, Carlo la Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

A consensus workshop on low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) was held in November 2018 where seventeen experts (the panel) discussed three themes identified as key to the science and policy of LCS: (1) weight management and glucose control; (2) consumption, safety and perception; (3) nutrition policy. The aims were to identify the reliable facts on LCS, suggest research gaps and propose future actions. The panel agreed that the safety of LCS is demonstrated by a substantial body of evidence reviewed by regulatory experts and current levels of consumption, even for high users, are within agreed safety margins. However, better risk communication is needed. More emphasis is required on the role of LCS in helping individuals reduce their sugar and energy intake, which is a public health priority. Based on reviews of clinical evidence to date, the panel concluded that LCS can be beneficial for weight management when they are used to replace sugar in products consumed in the diet (without energy substitution). The available evidence suggests no grounds for concerns about adverse effects of LCS on sweet preference, appetite or glucose control; indeed, LCS may improve diabetic control and dietary compliance. Regarding effects on the human gut microbiota, data are limited and do not provide adequate evidence that LCS affect gut health at doses relevant to human use. The panel identified research priorities, including collation of the totality of evidence on LCS and body weight control, monitoring and modelling of LCS intakes, impacts on sugar reduction and diet quality and developing effective communication strategies to foster informed choice. There is also a need to reconcile policy discrepancies between organisations and reduce regulatory hurdles that impede low-energy product development and reformulation.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition Research Reviews
Early online date13 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jan 2020

Fingerprint

Sweetening Agents
Consensus
Research
Safety
Consensus Development Conferences
Communication
Diet
Weights and Measures
Glucose
Health Priorities
Nutrition Policy
Appetite
Energy Intake
Public Health
Body Weight
Organizations

Bibliographical note

© The Authors 2020
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Keywords

  • Consensus Reports
  • Food safety
  • Glucose control
  • Low-calorie sweeteners
  • Nutrition policy
  • Weight management

Cite this

Ashwell, M., Gibson, S., Bellisle, F., Buttriss, J., Drewnowski, A., Fantino, M., ... la Vecchia, C. (2020). Expert consensus on low-calorie sweeteners: facts, research gaps and suggested actions. Nutrition Research Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954422419000283
Ashwell, Margaret ; Gibson, Sigrid ; Bellisle, France ; Buttriss, Judith ; Drewnowski, Adam ; Fantino, Marc ; Gallagher, Alison M ; de Graaf, Kees ; Goscinny, Séverine ; Hardman, Charlotte A ; Laviada-Molina, Hugo ; López-García, Rebeca ; Magnuson, Berna ; Mellor, Duane ; Rogers, Peter J ; Rowland, Ian ; Russell, Wendy ; Sievenpiper, John L ; la Vecchia, Carlo. / Expert consensus on low-calorie sweeteners : facts, research gaps and suggested actions. In: Nutrition Research Reviews. 2020.
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Ashwell, M, Gibson, S, Bellisle, F, Buttriss, J, Drewnowski, A, Fantino, M, Gallagher, AM, de Graaf, K, Goscinny, S, Hardman, CA, Laviada-Molina, H, López-García, R, Magnuson, B, Mellor, D, Rogers, PJ, Rowland, I, Russell, W, Sievenpiper, JL & la Vecchia, C 2020, 'Expert consensus on low-calorie sweeteners: facts, research gaps and suggested actions', Nutrition Research Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954422419000283

Expert consensus on low-calorie sweeteners : facts, research gaps and suggested actions. / Ashwell, Margaret; Gibson, Sigrid; Bellisle, France; Buttriss, Judith; Drewnowski, Adam; Fantino, Marc; Gallagher, Alison M; de Graaf, Kees; Goscinny, Séverine; Hardman, Charlotte A; Laviada-Molina, Hugo; López-García, Rebeca; Magnuson, Berna; Mellor, Duane; Rogers, Peter J; Rowland, Ian; Russell, Wendy; Sievenpiper, John L; la Vecchia, Carlo.

In: Nutrition Research Reviews, 13.01.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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T1 - Expert consensus on low-calorie sweeteners

T2 - facts, research gaps and suggested actions

AU - Ashwell, Margaret

AU - Gibson, Sigrid

AU - Bellisle, France

AU - Buttriss, Judith

AU - Drewnowski, Adam

AU - Fantino, Marc

AU - Gallagher, Alison M

AU - de Graaf, Kees

AU - Goscinny, Séverine

AU - Hardman, Charlotte A

AU - Laviada-Molina, Hugo

AU - López-García, Rebeca

AU - Magnuson, Berna

AU - Mellor, Duane

AU - Rogers, Peter J

AU - Rowland, Ian

AU - Russell, Wendy

AU - Sievenpiper, John L

AU - la Vecchia, Carlo

N1 - © The Authors 2020 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Y1 - 2020/1/13

N2 - A consensus workshop on low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) was held in November 2018 where seventeen experts (the panel) discussed three themes identified as key to the science and policy of LCS: (1) weight management and glucose control; (2) consumption, safety and perception; (3) nutrition policy. The aims were to identify the reliable facts on LCS, suggest research gaps and propose future actions. The panel agreed that the safety of LCS is demonstrated by a substantial body of evidence reviewed by regulatory experts and current levels of consumption, even for high users, are within agreed safety margins. However, better risk communication is needed. More emphasis is required on the role of LCS in helping individuals reduce their sugar and energy intake, which is a public health priority. Based on reviews of clinical evidence to date, the panel concluded that LCS can be beneficial for weight management when they are used to replace sugar in products consumed in the diet (without energy substitution). The available evidence suggests no grounds for concerns about adverse effects of LCS on sweet preference, appetite or glucose control; indeed, LCS may improve diabetic control and dietary compliance. Regarding effects on the human gut microbiota, data are limited and do not provide adequate evidence that LCS affect gut health at doses relevant to human use. The panel identified research priorities, including collation of the totality of evidence on LCS and body weight control, monitoring and modelling of LCS intakes, impacts on sugar reduction and diet quality and developing effective communication strategies to foster informed choice. There is also a need to reconcile policy discrepancies between organisations and reduce regulatory hurdles that impede low-energy product development and reformulation.

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