ATLANTA, Sept. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the Calorie Control Council*, study findings published today in a Nature** article ("Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota") are at odds with leading health organizations and many other peer-reviewed published studies. In contrast to the assertions made by the researchers of this study -- which claim the use of low calorie sweeteners increased diabetes and obesity risk -- the overall evidence from studies on low-calorie sweeteners, including numerous human studies, show that these sweeteners do not have adverse effects on blood glucose control nor lead to an increased risk of obesity.
"The study suffers from small sample sizes, unrealistic sweetener applications and doses, and a dependence largely on rodent research. Findings should be interpreted with caution," said Haley Curtis Stevens, Ph. D. and President of the Calorie Control Council.
STATEMENTS FROM LEADING HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER PEER-REVIEWED PUBLISHED STUDIES ARE CONTRARY TO THE STUDY FINDINGS
Leading health organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Heart Association (AHA), as well as numerous scientific studies agree that low-calorie sweeteners can be used as a safe tool to help manage calorie intake, which, in turn can be helpful for both weight management and diabetes management. Investigators of more than 40 studies in people, including a recent meta-analysis of clinical trials and other available evidence, have concluded that the use of low-calorie sweeteners does not lead to either an increased risk of obesity or diabetes. The safety of low-calorie sweeteners has been confirmed time and time again by scientists and regulatory agencies around the world, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and Health Canada.
THE STUDY SUFFERS FROM SEVERAL SIGNIFICANT LIMITATIONS
The study by Suez et al., which concluded that low-calorie sweeteners lead to glucose intolerance and disruption in gut microbiota which in turn may be associated with increased obesity and diabetes, suffers from several limitations that diminish the generalizability of the findings.
- Consumption Levels -- The study was conducted under circumstances not applicable to real life, with consumption levels at many times the typical intake.
- Sample Size -- With its small sample size in both the mice and human research, the study findings may not be applicable to all populations.
- Study Period -- The human trial was conducted over too short a period, with results inappropriately extrapolated and generalizations made despite the lack of confirmation from larger, longer studies with a more diverse population.
- Lack of Evidence -- In the mice study, subjects in the low-calorie sweetener groups did not gain weight, yet researchers concluded that the observed changes in microbiota or blood glucose response were related to obesity.
- Lack of a Control Group -- In the human study, there was no control group, which affects the generalizability of the results.
For the Calorie Control Council's complete study analysis, visit CalorieControl.org.
* The Calorie Control Council (the "Council") is an international association of manufacturers of low-calorie, reduced-fat and "light" foods and beverages. Companies that make and use low-calorie sweeteners are among the Council's members.
** Suez J, Korem T, Zeevi D, Zilberman-Schapira G, Thaiss CA, Maza O, et al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature, 2014; doi: 10.1038/nature13793.
SOURCE Calorie Control Council