Intense sweeteners, energy intake and the control of body weight

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;61(6):691-700. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602649. Epub 2007 Feb 7.


Replacing sugar with low-calorie sweeteners is a common strategy for facilitating weight control. By providing sweet taste without calories, intense sweeteners help lower energy density of beverages and some foods. Reduced dietary energy density should result in lower energy intakes--but are the energy reduction goals, in fact, achieved? The uncoupling of sweetness and energy, afforded by intense sweeteners, has been the focus of numerous studies over the past two decades. There are recurring arguments that intense sweeteners increase appetite for sweet foods, promote overeating, and may even lead to weight gain. Does reducing energy density of sweet beverages and foods have a measurable impact on appetite and energy intakes, as examined both in short-term studies and over a longer period? Can reductions in dietary energy density achieved with intense sweeteners really affect body weight control? This paper reviews evidence from laboratory, clinical and epidemiological studies in the context of current research on energy density, satiety and the control of food intake.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beverages
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake / drug effects*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Satiation / drug effects
  • Satiation / physiology
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects
  • Weight Loss*


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Sweetening Agents