The role of artificial and natural sweeteners in reducing the consumption of table sugar: A narrative review

Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2017 Apr;18:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2017.01.004. Epub 2017 Feb 4.


The rapid increase in the prevalence of obesity worldwide has been partially attributed to the overconsumption of added sugars. Recent guidelines call for limiting the consumption of simple sugars to less than 10% of daily caloric consumption. High intensity sweeteners are regulated as food additives and include aspartame, acesulfame-k, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, cyclamate and alitame. Steviol glycosides and Luo Han Guo fruit extracts are high intensity sweeteners that are designated as generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Commonly used non-caloric artificial sweeteners may have unfavorable effect on health including glucose intolerance and failure to cause weight reduction. The nutritive sweeteners include sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, mannitol, erythritol, trehalose and maltitol. Naturally occurring rare sugars have recently emerged as an alternative category of sweeteners. These monosaccharides and their derivatives are found in nature in small quantities and lack significant calories. This category includes d-allulose (d-psicose), d-tagatose, d-sorbose and d-allose. Limiting consumption of any sweetener may well be the best health advice. Identifying natural sweeteners that have favorable effects on body weight and metabolism may help achieving the current recommendations of restricting simple sugar consumption.

Keywords: Artificial sweeteners.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage*


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Sweetening Agents