From Diabetes Care: What About Sugar Substitutes?

I enjoy an aspartame-flavored Fresca now and then

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed several types of sugar substitutes for safety and approved them for consumption by the general public, including people with diabetes (211). In this report, the term sugar substitutes refers to high-intensity sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, nonnutritive sweeteners, and low-calorie sweeteners. These include saccharin, neotame, acesulfame-K, aspartame, sucralose, advantame, stevia, and luo han guo (or monk fruit). Replacing added sugars with sugar substitutes could decrease daily intake of carbohydrates and calories. These dietary changes could beneficially affect glycemic, weight, and cardiometabolic control. However, an American Heart Association science advisory on the consumption of beverages containing sugar substitutes that was supported by the ADA concluded there is not enough evidence to determine whether sugar substitute use definitively leads to long-term reduction in body weight or cardiometabolic risk factors, including glycemia (212). Using sugar substitutes does not make an unhealthy choice healthy; rather, it makes such a choice less unhealthy. If sugar substitutes are used to replace caloric sweeteners, without caloric compensation, they may be useful in reducing caloric and carbohydrate intake (213), although further research is needed to confirm these concepts (214). Multiple mechanisms have been proposed for potential adverse effects of sugar substitutes, e.g., adversely altering feelings of hunger and fullness, substituting for healthier foods, or reducing awareness of calorie intake (215). As people aim to reduce their intake of SSBs, the use of other alternatives, with a focus on water, is encouraged (212).

Sugar alcohols represent a separate category of sweeteners. Like sugar substitutes, sugar alcohols have been approved by the FDA for consumption by the general public and people with diabetes. Whereas sugar alcohols have fewer calories per gram than sugars, they are not as sweet. Therefore, a higher amount is required to match the degree of sweetness of sugars, generally bringing the calorie content to a level similar to that of sugars (216). Use of sugar alcohols needs to be balanced with their potential to cause gastrointestinal effects in sensitive individuals. Currently, there is little research on the potential benefits of sugar alcohols for people with diabetes (217).”

Source: Nutrition Therapy for Adults With Diabetes or Prediabetes: A Consensus Report | Diabetes Care

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