For the first time, a review solely targeting the actual short- and long-term impact of low energy sweeteners (LES) such as saccharin, aspartame, sucralose and stevia on body weight (BW) and energy intake (EI) has been published. According to the review, led by researchers at the University of Bristol, LES helps reduce caloric intake and body weight in children and adults – also possibly when comparing beverages containing LES with water.

Low Calorie Sweeteners: Considering A New Angle

We believe it’s time to shift the question from whether LES are ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ to how they should be best put into practice to help achieve specific public health goals, such as the reduction of free sugars and energy intake”, stated lead author Professor Peter Rogers from the University of Bristol.

The researchers performed a systematic review of relevant studies that had been performed on animal and humans, involving the consumption of LES in a non-restricted diet. A total of 228 comparisons in human intervention studies (short and long-term), 12 human prospective cohort studies and 90 animal studies were examined.

Low Calorie Sweeteners– Might Not Be That Bad

Maintaining energy balance (energy intake vs. energy expenditure) is what results in a stable body weight. Consuming excessive quantities of food causes an increase in body weight, since the extra energy is stored in the form of adipose tissue (fat). LES were primarily developed to help consumers reduce their total sugar and caloric (energy) intake.

Comparing LES with Water

Comparing LES with water is important since it shows that these beverages do not increase appetite. Evidence demonstrates that LES beverages could instead help reduce more weight as compared to water. This might be because switching from sugar-sweetened drinks to those containing LES is somewhat easier as compared to simply consuming water. The review was recently published in the International Journal of Obesity.