Drinking Beverages Sweetened with Low-Calorie Sweeteners is Associated with Healthier Diets and Overall Lower Calorie Consumption
June 28, 2016
Recent Study Reveals That Drinking Low-Calorie Sweetened Beverages Does Not Increase Intake of Sugary Foods
A recent study has confirmed previous research findings that the consumption of beverages sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners is associated with healthier diets and overall lower calorie consumption. The study by Gibson et al., recently published in Nutrients, suggests that using low-calorie sweetened beverages can support a healthy eating pattern.
The review was based on an analysis of detailed dietary records from 1,590 adults who participated in the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), the most authoritative source of dietary habits and nutrient intake of the UK population. Food intake data was entered by trained diet coders, and data was analyzed using an established foods databank at the noted UK MRC Human Nutrition Research Unit at Cambridge University. From these results, the researchers concluded that non-consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages (NC) and consumers of low-calorie beverages (LCB) tend to have higher-quality diets compared to either consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) or consumers of both SSB and LCB. The data suggest that LCB consumers eat more fruit, vegetables and fish, and eat less meat, meat products, chips, white bread and sugar, than consumers of SSB.
In addition, the researchers determined that the NC and LCB consumers “do not compensate for sugar or energy deficits by consuming more sugary foods.”  Consumers of LCB had a significantly lower energy intake (1719 kcal/day) compared to consumers of SSB (1958 kcal/day) and consumers of both SSB and LCB (1986 kcal/day). LCB consumers also had a mean total energy intake (1719 kcal/ day) that was almost identical to the total energy intake of non-consumers (1718 kcal/day).
This analysis supports previous studies which have shown that consumption of diet drinks, when substituted for caloric beverages, is associated with lower calorie and lower added sugar intake overall (as opposed to perpetuating a desire for sugary foods) and, therefore, can be a useful tool for weight management.   The authors of this latest study explained, “LCB provide a palatable source of water with minimal sugar and energy content. Their caloric benefits derive from their role as substitutes for SSB and meta-analyses have demonstrated that replacing SSB with LCB leads to reduced caloric intake and modest weight loss.” 
A 2014 review of the 1999-2008 data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey also found that consumption of low-calorie sweeteners is related to higher diet quality and overall healthier lifestyle. The analysis, conducted by Drewnowski and Rehm, found that use of low-calorie sweeteners, including the consumption of sugar-free beverages, was associated with higher healthy eating index scores, less smoking and more physical activity. Similarly, research by Sigman-Grant and Hsieh found that people who use low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages have better quality diets.
“In light of the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation to adopt healthy eating patterns, this recent study provides further support that low-calorie sweeteners can be a useful tool in dietary strategies to lower excess weight, and their use can be associated with improved diet quality,” said Maureen Conway, MBA, MA, RD, LDN, FAND, Director of Nutrition and Professional Affairs for Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of Splenda® Sweetener Products. “Since summer is a time when sugary beverages are heavily consumed, beverages made with low-calorie sweeteners, such as Splenda® Zero Calorie Sweetener, are a great way to reduce excess calorie intake from added sugars that could contribute to weight gain,” Conway added.
The study researchers also remark in their conclusions that “maintaining good diet quality during weight loss is important in order to meet nutrient requirements at a lower energy intake.” Conway notes that this is an important point, and that easy-to-accomplish changes in lifestyle, like using low-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar, could make other changes, like focusing on a better quality diet, easier to embrace.
Sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in Splenda® Sweetener Products, has been used safely by millions of people around the world for more than 20 years, supported by research data from more than 100 studies. Both the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) support the use of low calorie sweeteners such as sucralose as a useful tool in weight management and diabetes. For more information about sucralose or the Splenda Brand, visit www.splenda.com/blog/. You can also follow the Splenda® Brand on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
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Gibson SA et al. Nutrients 2016 Jan 2;8(1). pii: E9. doi: 10.3390/nu8010009.
Bellisle F. Curr Obes Rep 2015; 4(1),:106-10
Rogers PJ et al. Int J Obes (Lond). 2015 Sep 14. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.177
Miller PE and Perez V. Am J Clin Nutr 2014; 100(3): 765-77
Drewnowski, A. and Rehm, C.D. Nutrients 2014; 6: 4389–4403
Sigman-Grant, M. J. and Hsieh, G. (2005), Reported Use of Reduced-sugar Foods and Beverages Reflect High-quality Diets. Journal of Food Science, 70: S42–S46. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2621.2005.tb09063.x