Estimated intake of the artificial sweeteners acesulfame-K, aspartame, cyclamate and saccharin in a group of Swedish diabetics

Food Addit Contam. 2003 Feb;20(2):99-114. doi: 10.1080/0265203021000042896.


Few sweetener intake studies have been performed on the general population and only one study has been specifically designed to investigate diabetics and children. This report describes a Swedish study on the estimated intake of the artificial sweeteners acesulfame-K, aspartame, cyclamate and saccharin by children (0-15 years) and adult male and female diabetics (types I and II) of various ages (16-90 years). Altogether, 1120 participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their sweetener intake. The response rate (71%, range 59-78%) was comparable across age and gender groups. The most consumed 'light' foodstuffs were diet soda, cider, fruit syrup, table powder, table tablets, table drops, ice cream, chewing gum, throat lozenges, sweets, yoghurt and vitamin C. The major sources of sweetener intake were beverages and table powder. About 70% of the participants, equally distributed across all age groups, read the manufacturer's specifications of the food products' content. The estimated intakes showed that neither men nor women exceeded the ADI for acesulfame-K; however, using worst-case calculations, high intakes were found in young children (169% of ADI). In general, the aspartame intake was low. Children had the highest estimated (worst case) intake of cyclamate (317% of ADI). Children's estimated intake of saccharin only slightly exceeded the ADI at the 5% level for fruit syrup. Children had an unexpected high intake of tabletop sweeteners, which, in Sweden, is normally based on cyclamate. The study was performed during two winter months when it can be assumed that the intake of sweeteners was lower as compared with during warm, summer months. Thus, the present study probably underestimates the average intake on a yearly basis. However, our worst-case calculations based on maximum permitted levels were performed on each individual sweetener, although exposure is probably relatively evenly distributed among all sweeteners, except for cyclamate containing table sweeteners.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aspartame / administration & dosage
  • Beverages
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyclamates / administration & dosage
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Saccharin / administration & dosage
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Thiazines / administration & dosage


  • Cyclamates
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Thiazines
  • Saccharin
  • acetosulfame
  • Aspartame