Background: The intense sweeteners currently authorised in Europe comprise ten compounds of various chemical natures. Their overall use has sharply risen in the last 20 years. These compounds are mainly used to formulate reduced-calorie products while maintaining sweetness.
Methods: This extensive analysis of the literature reviews the data currently available on the potential nutritional benefits and risks related to the consumption of products containing intense sweeteners.
Results and conclusions: Regarding nutritional benefits, the available studies, while numerous, do not provide proof that the consumption of artificial sweeteners as sugar substitutes is beneficial in terms of weight management, blood glucose regulation in diabetic subjects or the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Regarding nutritional risks (incidence of type 2 diabetes, habituation to sweetness in adults, cancers, etc.), it is not possible based on the available data to establish a link between the occurrence of these risks and the consumption of artificial sweeteners. However, some studies underline the need to improve knowledge of the links between intense sweeteners consumption and certain risks.
Keywords: Acesulfame K; Aspartame; Compensation; Diabetes; Eating behaviour; Energy intakes; Intense sweetener; Obesity; Satiety; Stevia; Sucralose; Weight.