Low- and No- Calorie Sweeteners (LNCS): critical evaluation of their safety and health risks
Abstract The increase of the prevalence of type-2 diabetes as a consequence of overweight and obesity has stimulated public health authorities worldwide to develop strategies for its risk management and prevention. Among them, a reduction on the content of sugar in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages has been suggested, which led the food industry to replace partially sucrose with food additives, such as low- and no-calorie sweeteners (LNCS). As a consequence, there has been an increase of their consumption, which has made regulatory agencies to evaluate their exposure and possible consequences. At the same time, speculations about adverse effects, such as carcinogenicity, preterm delivery and metabolic changes involving appetite, weight increase and glucose intolerance, have been published. This scenario led ILSI Brasil to organize a meeting to update scientific knowledge on the safety of LNCS and to promote discussions among academia, regulatory bodies and food industries to clarify currently controversial information. The results of this initiative are presented in this review. It is suggested that LNCS, when used according to recommendations provided by scientific committees and regulatory authorities are considered safe. Further studies are required to evaluate the current level of exposure in general population and specific ones as children.