College students' use of high-intensity sweeteners is not consistently associated with sugar consumption

J Am Diet Assoc. 1991 Jun;91(6):686-90.


This study, which replicated the 1980 investigation of Parham and Parham, sought to determine whether the use of high-intensity sweeteners (HISs) effectively reduced sugar intake among college students. At the time of the earlier study, saccharin was the only available HIS; the current investigation considered the use of both saccharin and aspartame. Both studies used 24-hour recalls and food frequency data to assess the use of HISs and to determine intakes of sugars, energy, and selected dietary components. In this study 61% (82 of 135) of the women and 31% (18 of 58) of the men used HISs regularly. Among the women using HISs, sugar intake was significantly lower than among the women not using HISs, but both groups reported consuming a high proportion of energy from sugars. Among the men, use of HISs was associated with a significantly greater intake of sugars. The difference in the pattern of use between men and women is attributed to differences in concerns about weight and dieting. Compared with the earlier study, this investigation found a higher incidence of HIS use by both sexes and more use by men. Unlike the earlier findings, HIS use was not accompanied by a general restriction of food intake. There was no evidence that HISs were associated with a biologically significant reduction in sugar intake.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspartame / administration & dosage
  • Diet Records
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Saccharin / administration & dosage
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Students*
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage*


  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sucrose
  • Saccharin
  • Aspartame