‘Smart use’ of low calorie sweeteners recommended
by Keith Nunes
ATLANTA — A joint statement published in the journals Circulation and Diabetes Care by the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association promotes the “smart” use of non-nutritive sweeteners. The statement noted that using low-calorie beverages and other foods has the potential to help people reach and maintain a healthy body weight, and is helpful for glucose control.
“While they are not magic bullets, smart use of non-nutritive sweeteners could help you reduce added sugars in your diet, therefore lowering the number of calories you eat,” said Christopher Gardner, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at Stanford University. “Reducing calories could help you attain and maintain a healthy body weight, and thereby lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.”
Non-nutritive sweeteners covered in the statement include acesulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, stevia and sucralose.
The A.H.A. recommends most women eat no more than 100 calories per day and men no more than 150 calories per day of added sugars. The recommendation is based on research that showed diets high in added sugars contribute to obesity and cardiovascular heart disease.
Beyond calories, and focusing more specifically on added sugars, non-nutritive sweeteners have their place for people with diabetes, according to the statement.
“For example, soft drinks sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners do not increase blood glucose levels, and thus can provide a sweet option for those with diabetes,” said Diane Reader, one of the statement authors speaking on behalf of the A.D.A. “The use of non-nutritive sweeteners may be used in a carbohydrate-controlled food plan, to potentially reduce carbohydrate intake which may aid in weight management and diabetes control.”