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Non-nutritive sweetener intake does not lead to increased sugar level in blood

02 Jul 2018

Consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) does not appear to contribute to an increase in blood glucose level, a study reports.

Researchers conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of oral intake of NNS (aspartame, saccharin, steviosides and sucralose) after overnight fasting on blood glucose. A meta-analysis facilitated estimation and tracking of trajectory of blood glucose concentrations over time after NNS consumption.

A total of 29 trials, with a total of 741 participants, were included. None of the trials combined NNS consumption with other caloric foods or beverages or included interventions that may affect blood glucose (eg, exercise).

Pooled data revealed that NNS had no effect on blood glucose level, and NNS concentration in blood gradually decreased over the course of observation.

The glycaemic impact of NNS consumption did not differ by type of NNS (p>0.05) but varied, to a certain extent, by participants’ age, body weight and diabetic status.

Specifically, in patients with vs without type 2 diabetes, blood glucose level was lower by 0.128, 0.844 and 0.613 mmol/L during 1–29, 150–179 and 180–210 minutes following NNS consumption, respectively.

A one-unit increase in body mass index correlated with a reduction in the glycaemic impact of NNS consumption of 0.049 and 0.074 mmol/L during 120–149 and 180–210 minutes after NNS consumption, respectively.

Likewise, an additional year of age was associated a decrease in the glycaemic impact of NNS consumption of 0.026 mmol/L during 150–179 minutes following NNS consumption.

Additional studies are needed to investigate the health implications of frequent and chronic NNS consumption, as well as elucidate the underlying biological mechanisms, researchers said.

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