EFSA health claim opinion

EFSA intense sweeteners opinion lacks ‘common sense’, says Ajinomoto

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Intense sweeteners Blood sugar

Sugar-sweetened foods and drinks are not a cause of weight gain, says EFSA
Sugar-sweetened foods and drinks are not a cause of weight gain, says EFSA
Aspartame supplier Ajinomoto says a health claim opinion that refused the role of intense sweeteners in weight management defies ‘common sense’.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) article 13, general function opinion delivered yesterday found replacing sugars with​intense sweeteners does not contribute to the maintenance or achievement of a normal body weight or normal blood glucose concentrations.

The opinion Ajinomoto said, “states that there is not sufficient evidence to demonstrate that sugar-sweetened foods and drinks cause weight gain, and that there is not sufficient evidence that replacing them with low calorie alternatives therefore helps people to control their weight.”

“Nevertheless, it remains a matter of common sense that providing choices of foods and beverages with fewer calories can only be helpful to people who want to reduce or control their weight.”

The company highlighted the fact that a typical can of cola contains 139kcal, compared to 0.7kcal if an intense sweetener like aspartame is used.

It also opposed EFSA’s decision to group low-calorie sweeteners together in the opinion because of their different taste profiles.

“Decades of experience shows that the better tasting low calorie foods and drinks are, the more likely it is that people will choose them regularly as part of their diet and for rehydration.”

EFSA’s health claim panel, which also found intense sweeteners were not proven to maintain normal blood glucose concentration, concluded:

“In weighing the evidence, the Panel took into account that data from both intervention and observational studies comparing high intakes of sugars (mainly as added sugars) to high intakes of starch with respect to weight gain are inconsistent, that epidemiological studies do not show a positive association between total sugar intake and obesity, and that three human intervention studies did not show an effect on body weight of replacing sugars by intense sweeteners in foods and beverages.”

The opinion can be found here.

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