Myth: Low-calorie sweeteners actually cause weight gain by increasing sugar cravings.

hero_doctor_girlFact: A number of studies over the years have determined that low-calorie sweeteners do not increase appetite, food intake or weight gain. In fact, the vast majority of scientific literature confirms the safety and benefits of using low-calorie sweeteners and low-calorie products for weight control and weight loss. For example, a team of researchers from Harvard spent two years investigating how the addition of a low-calorie sweetener to a multidisciplinary weight control program would affect obese women. They found the low-calorie sweetener not only helped with weight loss, but also with long-term weight maintenance. Another study, published in a recent issue of Pediatrics, discovered that overweight children could prevent further weight gain simply by walking another 2,000 steps a day and reducing their intake by 100 calories. This caloric reduction was accomplished by replacing full calorie foods and beverages with foods and beverages contains sucralose (or Splenda).

Low-calorie sweeteners can help assist people in their weight loss/control efforts because low-calorie sweeteners (such as sucralose) reduce overall calories in a food/beverage while maintaining good taste. However, low-calorie sweeteners (and the products that contain them) are not a magic bullet. Instead, low-calorie sweeteners are tools which can be incorporated into an overall healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and a balanced diet. The American Diabetes Association, American Dietetic Association and the American Heart Association, agree that reduced-calorie foods and beverages are a good option for those who want to control their weight and maintain a better lifestyle. A healthy weight can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses. A recent review of research found low-calorie sweeteners may be one piece of the puzzle in helping solve the obesity problem. The authors point out that low-calorie sweeteners are not appetite suppressants and they do not cause weight loss, but “… they have been shown to be associated with some modest weight loss….”

So have some sucralose with your coffee. It will do your body – and your waistline – good.

Myth: Sucralose was approved following very little testing.

Regulatory Authorities Support Sucralose Safety

Health Authorities Support Safety of Sucralose

Sucralose Safe for Pregnant Women

Sucralose Safe for Children

Fact: Sucralose has an excellent safety profile. More than 100 studies, representing over 20 years of research, have shown sucralose to be a safe and remarkably inert ingredient. Experts from a wide range of scientific backgrounds, including government agencies and regulatory authorities, reviewed these studies and concluded there are no harmful effects, even among people consuming the highest amounts of sucralose. More than 80 countries around the world have approved sucralose for use in foods and beverages, without the need for any special warning labels or health information statements. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which approved sucralose for certain food and beverage categories in 1999, data was studied “from more than 110 studies in humans and animals. Many of the studies were designed to identify possible toxic effects including carcinogenic, reproductive and neurological effects. No such effects were found, and FDA’s approval is based on the finding that sucralose is safe for human consumption.”

Examples of other government and scientific groups that have reviewed any toxicity concerns and confirmed sucralose’s safety include:

  • European Union Scientific Committee on Food (SCF)
  • Food Standards Australia/New Zealand (FSANZ)
  • Health Protection Branch of Health and Welfare Canada
  • Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)
  • Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare

Myth: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not consume sucralose.

Fact: Research has shown that sucralose does not have harmful effects on pregnant women or their babies. A number of studies required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were conducted, with results supporting the safety of sucralose during pregnancy and nursing. This includes studies that specifically examined the potential effects of sucralose on embryo-fetal development, which showed no birth defects or any other effect that would compromise normal development. Although sucralose can be safely consumed as part of a healthful prenatal and postnatal diet, any expectant mother should talk to her physician or health care provider about consuming the necessary nutrients to support her and her baby’s health throughout pregnancy and infancy.

Myth: Sucralose is not safe for children.

Fact: Studies have documented that sucralose is safe for use by children of all ages. In fact, sucralose can be part of the solution to the growing problem of childhood obesity by helping to reduce the amount of added sugars children consume daily. Foods containing sucralose – such as low-fat flavored milk, yogurt, juices and puddings – can be included in a healthy meal plan for children to help ensure they are getting all the necessary nutrients, while not getting a lot of extra calories. In a study published in Pediatrics a few years ago, researchers discovered that overweight children could prevent further weight gain simply by walking another 2,000 steps and eliminating just 100 calories each day using products sweetened with sucralose (also known as Splenda®). This was one of the first times clinical evidence proved that overweight children could effectively prevent excess weight gain by making small changes to their lifestyle.