Introduction: The impact of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) on energy intake and body weight is not clear although they provide no energy compared to sucrose.
Objective: To establish if there are differences in the consumption of NNS as per the nutritional status and its association with overweight.
Population, material and methods: Cross-sectional study including 571 male and female students aged 10-16 years old from the cities of Viña del Mar and Santiago de Chile who were administered an adapted food survey using pictures of NNS-containing products; nutritional status was assessed and students with overweight and obesity were categorized as a the overweight group.
Results: Of all surveyed students, 96.6% consume NNS on a daily basis. The comparison between the total NNS intake by nutritional status showed that male students in the overweight group consume more sucralose (p < 0.05) and saccharin (p < 0.01), while the comparison of NNS intake per kilogram of body weight showed that NNS consumption was higher in the overweight group (p < 0.05). Among female students, the normal weight group showed a higher consumption of acesulfame K per kilogram of body weight than the overweight group (p < 0.05). No association was observed in the studied sample between the overall NNS intake and obesity.
Conclusion: Of all surveyed students, 96.6% consume NNS on a daily basis, and no association was found between NNS consumption and overweight.