Review

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2007) 61, 691–700; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602649; published online 7 February 2007

Intense sweeteners, energy intake and the control of body weight

F Bellisle1 and A Drewnowski2

  1. 1France Bellisle, INRA, CRNH Ile-de-France, Paris XIII Leonard de Vinci, Bobigny, France
  2. 2Center for Public Health Nutrition, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Correspondence: Dr F Bellisle, INRA, CRNH Ile-de-France, Paris XIII Leonard de Vinci, Bobigny, France. E-mail: f.bellisle@smbh.univ-paris13.fr

Received 25 October 2006; Accepted 4 December 2006; Published online 7 February 2007.

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Abstract

Replacing sugar with low-calorie sweeteners is a common strategy for facilitating weight control. By providing sweet taste without calories, intense sweeteners help lower energy density of beverages and some foods. Reduced dietary energy density should result in lower energy intakes – but are the energy reduction goals, in fact, achieved? The uncoupling of sweetness and energy, afforded by intense sweeteners, has been the focus of numerous studies over the past two decades. There are recurring arguments that intense sweeteners increase appetite for sweet foods, promote overeating, and may even lead to weight gain. Does reducing energy density of sweet beverages and foods have a measurable impact on appetite and energy intakes, as examined both in short-term studies and over a longer period? Can reductions in dietary energy density achieved with intense sweeteners really affect body weight control? This paper reviews evidence from laboratory, clinical and epidemiological studies in the context of current research on energy density, satiety and the control of food intake.

Keywords:

intense sweeteners, energy density, hunger, satiety, satiation, weight control

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