Rationale on Nonnutritive-Sweetened Foods

Because of the uncertainties and limitations in evidence, especially concerning the safety and benefits for weight control, the committee does not recommend a standard for nonnutritive sweeteners in foods.

Safety Nonnutritive sweeteners have been evaluated and meet the safety standards set by FDA. However, there is no long-term evidence on the safety of nonnutritive sweeteners when consumption begins in early childhood and in relation to a broader range of health and developmental outcomes. The committee considered this in light of the limitations in testing and the lack of evidence concerning the benefits or necessity for use of nonnutritive sweeteners in foods.

Efficacy Based on the energy balance principle, nonnutritive sweeteners in foods might provide a tool for weight management; however, studies to test this concept have not been conducted in children and the complexities of nonnutritive sweeteners and appetite have not been studied in this age group. Moreover, improving diet and maintenance of healthy weight in children does not require foods with nonnutritive sweeteners. There was a concern that children may not be able to distinguish between a nonnutritive sweetened food and a similar full-calorie food, which might encourage unintentional overconsumption of calories.

Necessity Although nonnutritive sweeteners may increase palatability, thereby increasing the consumption of healthful foods, the potential increase in consumption may not be sufficient reason to include nonnutritive sweeteners in foods.

Displacement Displacement was not an important issue for nonnutritive sweeteners in foods that otherwise meet the recommended standards.

Conclusion Given these uncertainties and limitations, research is needed, particularly on safety and efficacy.


Standard 6: Foods and beverages are caffeine free, with the exception of trace amounts of naturally occurring caffeine-related substances.

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