Low-calorie sweetener use up 200 percent in U.S. children


WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) — A first-of-its-kind study found that the number of American children consuming low-calorie sweeteners jumped 200 percent from 1999 to 2012.

Researchers from George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health report that about 25 percent of children and more than 41 percent of adults in the United States say they consumed food and beverages containing low-calorie sweeteners during that time span.

Aspartame, sucralose and saccharin are popular types of low-calorie sweeteners used to replace added sugars such as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup in foods and beverages.

“Just 8.7 percent of kids reported consuming low-calorie sweeteners in 1999 and 13 years later that number had risen to 25.1 percent,” Allison Sylvetsky, Ph.D., an assistant professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the George Washington and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

“Kids aren’t alone in this trend. More adults also are taking in low-calorie sweeteners in diet soft drinks and in a variety of foods and snack items. The findings are important, especially for children, because some studies suggest a link between low-calorie sweeteners and obesity, diabetes and other health issues.”

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