Health Benefits of Nonsugar Sweeteners Uncertain
Lower intake of NSSs was associated with slightly less weight gain versus higher intake, but the certainty of this evidence was low.
HealthDay News — There is no compelling evidence to indicate health benefits of nonsugar sweetener (NSS) use on a range of health outcomes, according to a review published online Jan. 2 in The BMJ.
Ingrid Toews, from the University of Freiburg in Germany, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to evaluate the association between intake of NSSs and important health outcomes (eg, glycemic control, oral health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, mood, and behavior) in generally healthy or overweight/obese adults and children.
The researchers identified 56 studies (13,941 unique records). Among adults, 2 studies indicated a small beneficial effect of NSSs on body mass index and fasting blood glucose. Lower intake of NSSs was associated with slightly less weight gain vs higher intake, but the certainty of this evidence was low. There were no significant differences noted between the use and nonuse of NSSs or between different doses of NSSs for all other outcomes. Among adults or children trying to lose weight, there was no evidence of any effect of NSSs. Compared with sugar intake in children, there was a smaller increase in body mass index z score seen with NSSs, but there were no significant differences in body weight.
"Potential harms from the consumption of nonsugar sweeteners could not be excluded," the authors write. "Future studies should assess the effects of NSSs with an appropriate intervention duration. Detailed descriptions of interventions, comparators, and outcomes should be included in all reports."