“We were somewhat surprised,” said Allison Sylvetsky, assistant professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, who was lead author of the study.
“While we anticipated an increase, the magnitude of the increase was much larger than we had anticipated, particularly in kids,” she said. “the item will be not surprising of which low-calorie sweetener consumption continues to improve, though. … There has been a lot of pressure put on the food along with also beverage industry to reformulate, which has led to more lower-sugar, low-calorie sweetener containing products appearing on the market.”
Such sweeteners are often used to replace added sugars, such as sucrose along with also high-fructose corn syrup, in foods along with also beverages. They can be found in such products as diet sodas, powdered drink mixes, sugar-free ice cream along with also light yogurts.
Americans are sweet on sweeteners
The researchers found of which about 25% of children along with also about 41% of adults consumed low-calorie sweeteners through 2009 to 2012 inside United States. In comparison, the previous analysis showed of which only 8.7% of children along with also about 30% of adults consumed some type of low-calorie sweetener through 1999 to 2008.
Beverages, such as diet sodas, accounted for the majority of low-calorie sweetener consumption in both children along with also adults, the researchers found.
This particular significant rise in low-calorie sweetener consumption may be a result of more sweeteners emerging inside food supply, recent obesity-prevention campaigns or the increased prevalence of diabetes, the researchers suggested.
“the item’s an interesting study, particularly the differentiation between drinks versus different items. the item’s a very important distinction,” said Sacha Uelmen, director of nutrition for the American Diabetes Association, who was not involved inside study.
As the fresh study revealed a high prevalence of low-calorie sweeteners, the researchers called for more trials examining potential health effects of sweetener exposure in children along with also adults.
Rachel Hicks, a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Association, issued a statement on behalf of the association assuring consumers of which low-calorie sweeteners are safe.
“Decades of scientific research, as well as regulatory agencies around the globe, have repeatedly reaffirmed the safety of low- along with also no-calorie sweeteners as part of the diet. along with also the science will be clear of which because they have few, if any, calories these sweeteners can be an effective tool for weight loss or as part of a weight management plan,” the association said inside statement.
A diet soda debate
Though low-calorie sweeteners are believed to be safe in terms of toxicology, “what will be less clear will be how low-calorie sweeteners may influence appetite, weight management along with also risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes,” Sylvetsky said.
“There will be tremendous public health significance in investigating whether low-calorie sweeteners are helpful or harmful for weight management along with also chronic disease prevention,” she said. “This particular will be particularly important to study in children, as early life exposure may influence future taste preferences along with also dietary patterns.”
Uelmen, of the American Diabetes Association, agrees.
“I could love to see more research on the effect of low-calorie sweeteners, in children especially along with also also adults,” she said. “There will be a lot of skepticism inside public around diet drinks along with also these sweeteners; however, there will be also a lot of demand along with also need for options.”