Artificial sweetener use among individuals with eating disorders

Int J Eat Disord. 2006 May;39(4):341-5. doi: 10.1002/eat.20260.


Women with eating disorders report using large quantities of artificially sweetened products, but this has not been quantified.

Objective: The authors assessed the use of selected artificially sweetened low-calorie products among women with eating disorders compared with controls.

Method: Thirty women with anorexia nervosa (18 with the restricting subtype [AN-R] and 12 with the binge/purge subtype [AN-B/P]), 48 women with bulimia nervosa (BN), and 32 healthy control women completed a survey of frequency and amount of consumption of chewing gum, artificially sweetened low-calorie beverages, and packets of artificial sweetener in the previous month.

Results: A greater proportion of women with AN-B/P and BN reported use of each product, compared with women with AN-R and control participants. Among product users, patients with eating disorders reported using greater amounts than controls. Among patients who reported binge eating and/or purging, the quantity of each product used was inversely correlated with body mass index (BMI).

Conclusion: These data suggest an increased drive for sweet orosensory stimulation in women with AN and BN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / psychology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bulimia Nervosa* / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Sweetening Agents*


  • Sweetening Agents