Energy compensation following consumption of sugar-reduced products: a randomized controlled trial

Eur J Nutr. 2016 Sep;55(6):2137-49. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-1028-5. Epub 2015 Sep 9.


Purpose: Consumption of sugar-reformulated products (commercially available foods and beverages that have been reduced in sugar content through reformulation) is a potential strategy for lowering sugar intake at a population level. The impact of sugar-reformulated products on body weight, energy balance (EB) dynamics and cardiovascular disease risk indicators has yet to be established. The REFORMulated foods (REFORM) study examined the impact of an 8-week sugar-reformulated product exchange on body weight, EB dynamics, blood pressure, arterial stiffness, glycemia and lipemia.

Methods: A randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover dietary intervention study was performed with fifty healthy normal to overweight men and women (age 32.0 ± 9.8 year, BMI 23.5 ± 3.0 kg/m(2)) who were randomly assigned to consume either regular sugar or sugar-reduced foods and beverages for 8 weeks, separated by 4-week washout period. Body weight, energy intake (EI), energy expenditure and vascular markers were assessed at baseline and after both interventions.

Results: We found that carbohydrate (P < 0.001), total sugars (P < 0.001) and non-milk extrinsic sugars (P < 0.001) (% EI) were lower, whereas fat (P = 0.001) and protein (P = 0.038) intakes (% EI) were higher on the sugar-reduced than the regular diet. No effects on body weight, blood pressure, arterial stiffness, fasting glycemia or lipemia were observed.

Conclusions: Consumption of sugar-reduced products, as part of a blinded dietary exchange for an 8-week period, resulted in a significant reduction in sugar intake. Body weight did not change significantly, which we propose was due to energy compensation.

Keywords: Artificial sweeteners; Body weight; Dietary energy compensation; Obesity; Sugar; Sugar-reduced products.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats / analysis
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritive Sweeteners / administration & dosage*
  • Nutritive Sweeteners / analysis
  • Overweight / metabolism*
  • Vascular Stiffness
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Lipids
  • Nutritive Sweeteners