Myths around non-nutritive/noncaloric Sweeteners cleared
Non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs) are used to substitute sugar in the diet and are approved by the regulatory bodies in many countries, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/the World Health Organization (WHO). Non-nutritive sweeteners are here to stay, as it is an effective strategy to reduce sugar and caloric intake which is a public health priority today.
It is a tool to increase dietary compliance in the management of obesity and diabetes and is a partner for fitness seekers. However, the debate on its safety and efficacy continues, including several myths associated with its usage.
This review published in the Journal of the associations of Physician of India (JAPI) has evaluated the scientific literature in-depth and concludes that Non-nutritive sweeteners are safe to use within an acceptable daily intake (ADI).
Non-nutritive sweeteners are beneficial for their intended use, including weight management and diabetes control when consumed as a part of a dietary management program. The current data do not provide sufficient evidence that Non-nutritive sweeteners can affect the gut microbiome, and more research, particularly at relevant doses, is required.
Researchers through their review have said there is need of more randomized control trials (RCTs) among the Indian population on the impact of sugar reduction with Non-nutritive sweeteners and its health benefits to strengthen the evidence for its use in medical nutrition management and preventive health, helping the individual make an informed choice.
Several regulatory bodies have deemed the safe use of Non-nutritive sweeteners in adults (including pregnancy) and children when consumed within the acceptable daily intake. Mere replacement of sugars in daily beverages or as tabletop sweeteners hardly increases the chance to exceed the acceptable daily intake. So yes, Non-nutritive sweeteners are here to stay, as it is an effective strategy to reduce sugar and caloric intake.
Reference: Tiwaskar M, Mohan V. Clearing the Myths around non-nutritive/noncaloric Sweeteners: An Efficacy and Safety Evaluation. J Assoc Physicians India 2022;70(7):18–26.
Dr. Nandita Mohan
BDS, MDS( Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry)