Artificial Sweeteners and Kids?>
Wellness Tip

Artificial Sweeteners and Kids

by Wellness Letter  

If you have children in your care, limit their intake of non-nutritive sweeteners, if they consume them at all: The long-term effects of these ingredients in children are unclear, according to a policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in the fall of 2019.

Plus, since manufacturers aren’t required to list the amounts on labels (they only have to list them as ingredients), it’s difficult to know how much kids are getting.

One-quarter of U.S. children now consume non-nutritive sweeteners (commonly called artificial sweeteners, sugar substitutes, or low- or no-calorie sweeteners), with 80 percent of them consuming them daily, according to the AAP. Though some short-term studies suggest that substituting these products for sugar may reduce weight gain and promote modest weight loss in children, other research suggests they may contribute to weight gain, possibly by causing changes in appetite or altering the gut microbiota.

Non-nutritive sweeteners include saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-potassium (ace-K), sucralose, neotame, advantame, and the “natural” sweeteners stevia and monk fruit extract.

This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Also see Weighing in on Sugar Substitutes.