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Impact of Low-Calorie Sweeteners on Adolescents

Obesity; ePub 2017 Oct 31; Sylvetsky, Jin, et al

Consuming low-calorie sweeteners increases obesity risk in adolescents, according to an observational analysis involving >9,200 individuals. Participants ranged between 2 and 19 years of age and were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009-2010, 2011-2012, or 2013-2014. Investigators looked at obesity prevalence in consumers and non-consumers of low-calorie sweeteners. Among the results:

  • In unadjusted models, obesity risk was 55% higher in adolescent consumers vs non-consumers.
  • It was 70% higher after adjusting for sociodemographic and other variables.
  • Energy intake did not differ based on low-calorie sweetener consumption.
  • Overall, the link between obesity and low-calorie sweeteners was not seen in those aged 2 to 11.
  • However, the association was observed in boys and Hispanics in this age group.

The authors acknowledged that the findings should be interpreted cautiously, given that intake was self-reported.


Sylvetsky A, Jin Y, Mathieu K, DiPietro L, Rother K, Talegawkar S. Low-calorie sweeteners: Disturbing the energy balance equation in adolescents? [Published online ahead of print October 31, 2017]. Obesity. doi:10.1002/oby.22005.

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