There is a lot of conflicting information in newspapers and on websites these days on low- and no-calorie sweeteners. That’s why we here at Sip & Savor like to share articles we come across that – unlike much of what you see in the blogosphere – are based on sound science and not just sensational headlines.

Today we want to highlight an article written by Barbie Cervoni, a type 2 diabetes expert.  In this article, certified diabetes educator and expert Hope Warshaw answers questions on the safety and benefits of low- and no-calorie sweeteners.  In the article, Cervoni and Warshaw address a few questions that people wonder about but don’t really know where to find an accurate answer:

Cervoni: What does the body of research available today conclude about LCS and cravings and increasing appetite for sugary foods and sweets?

Warshaw: This has been another area of contention regarding LCS.  The notion seems to be that because LCS are sweeter than sugar they overstimulate sweet taste receptors and cause sweet cravings which leads people to overeat and gain weight.  Several recent studies refute this notion. F or instance, Antenucci and Hayes recruited over 400 people for a series of taste tests…. The results showed that participants perceived the sweetness of LCS at lower concentrations than the calorie-containing sweeteners.  The researchers concluded that the results don’t support the claim that LCS over-stimulate peoples’ sweet taste receptors.

Bottom Line: Rather than increasing cravings, appetite and hunger, in actuality LCS (either as a sugar substitute or food and beverage), may satisfy people’s cravings for sweets and tamp down their hunger.

Cervoni: How much LCS do people in general and people with diabetes specifically consume?

Warshaw: When it comes to “safe” amounts of LCS to consume research shows that people, on average, consume nowhere close to what is called the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)…. Let’s look at aspartame for an example. The FDA ADI for aspartame is 50 mg/kg of body weight/day. This amount would be equal to using 97 packets of an aspartame-containing LCS each day over a person’s lifetime.  Yet the Estimated Daily Intake (EDI) for aspartame was found to be 6 percent of ADI in the general adult population.

So, instead of believing what the headline of the day may say, we encourage you to take a closer look – and listen to the experts.  Hope Warshaw is a registered dietitian and a veteran diabetes care educator with more than 35 years of experience - which includes years of translating research about these ingredients for those with diabetes.  Warshaw also has authored several books published by the American Diabetes Association and writes for Diabetes Living magazine.  Please check out the full article here, and we’ll keep you posted on the real science supporting the benefits and safety of low- and no-calorie sweeteners.