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The drivers, trends and dietary impacts of non-nutritive sweeteners in the food supply: A narrative review

AbstractPoor diets, including excess added sugar consumption, contribute to the global burden of disease. Subsequently, many nutrition policies have been implemented to reduce added sugar intake and improve population health, including taxes, education, labelling and environmental interventions. A potential consequence of these policy actions is the substitution of added sugars with non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) in a variety of foods and beverages. NNS are used to reduce the energy and sugar content of foods and beverages while maintaining their palatability. Evidence of the toxicological risks of NNS is inconsistent, though concerns have been raised over the potential substitution effects of ultra-processed foods containing NNS for whole foods. This review aimed to provide an overview of current NNS food supply and consumption patterns, assess added sugar-reduction policies and their impact on NNS, and determine the impact of NNS on food choice, energy intake and diet quality. NNS are widely available in a variety of products, though most commonly in carbonated beverages, dairy products, confectionery, table-top sweeteners and fruit drinks. However, the longitudinal trends of different product categories, and differences between geographies and economy-income levels, require further study. Few studies have examined NNS consumption trends globally, though an increase in NNS consumption in beverages has been observed in some regions. Research examining how the increased availability of low-sugar, NNS-containing products affects global dietary patterns is limited, particularly in terms of their potential substitution effects.

History

Journal

Nutrition Research Reviews

Volume

34

Issue

2

Article number

PII S0954422420000268

Pagination

185 - 208

Publisher

CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS

Location

England

ISSN

0954-4224

eISSN

1475-2700

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal