The Prevalence, Consumption, and Overall Health Effects of Nonnutritive Sweeteners

  • Tara Flora


This review of literature aims to examine the prevalence, consumption and overall effects of Non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs) on human health. There are currently six NNSs approved for use in the United States which include acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), advantame, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, and sucralose. Artificial sweeteners remain a controversial topic despite their prevalence in our foods. The national average consumption in the United States increased from 24% (2001-2002) to 28%. Most observational cohort studies find association between routine intake of NNS and increased risk of obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and stroke. However, most randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) find a positive association between NNS intake and weight loss. Short-term RCTs do not show immediate metabolic effects. Long-term health effects are not known, however, due to lack of research. Until recently, NNSs were regarded as a useful tool in decreasing energy intake and supporting a goal of weight management, weight loss, and/or glycemic blood control. However, recent studies have shown that there is not a significant correlation between NNS use and weight loss. Although the prevalence of NNS consumption has increased, the amount of research on long-term health effects of NNS use has not kept pace.  More research needs to be done to investigate potential long-term effects of NNS and to evaluate whether the possible weight loss benefits of NNS is maintainable long-term.
Human Ecology