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Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;96(3):640-6. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.034751. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Low-calorie sweetener consumption is increasing in the United States.

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Nutrition and Health Sciences Program, Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Laney Graduate School, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.



Low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners (LCSs) have emerged as alternatives to added sugars. Research suggests that consumption among all Americans is increasing, yet it is unknown whether consumption trends differ among population subgroups.


Our study aimed to assess recent national trends in LCS consumption among children and other demographic subgroups in the United States.


We used NHANES data collected in five 2-y cycles from 1999-2000 to 2007-2008. Consumption of foods and beverages with LCSs was estimated by using one 24-h dietary recall. Estimates of the proportion of the population consuming foods and beverages containing LCSs (prevalence of consumption) were weighted to obtain nationally representative results. Trends in prevalence of LCS consumption and mean intake of beverages sweetened with LCSs were tested by using chi-square tests for trend and F tests.


In 2007-2008, the percentage of children and adults consuming foods and beverages containing LCSs increased. The prevalence of consuming beverages with LCSs increased from 6.1% to 12.5% among children (P-trend < 0.0001) and from 18.7% to 24.1% among adults (P < 0.001). Increases in the prevalence of consumption of calorie-containing beverages with LCSs were observed among all weight, age, socioeconomic, and race-ethnicity subgroups in both children and adults. However, little change in consumption of no-calorie beverages with LCSs or LCS-containing foods was found.


The consumption of LCS-containing beverages has doubled among US children over the past decade. Further research is needed to understand the health effects of this trend.

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