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More U.S Children Are Consuming Food And Beverages Containing Low-Calorie Sweeteners

Update Date: Jan 11, 2017 09:20 AM EST
More US Children Are Consuming Low-Calorie Sweetened Food And Beverages
Consumption of low-calorie sweeteners in food and beverages is up by 200% in US children. (Photo : Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Dylan's Candy Bar)

Constant reminders of living a healthy lifestyle have made an impact on today's children. A study reports that more U.S children are consuming food and beverages with low-calorie sweeteners. But are food and beverages with low-calorie sweeteners healthy or just a marketing ploy?

A recent study entitled "Consumption Of Low-Calorie Sweeteners Among Children And Adults In The United States" reports that at most 70 percent of the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners occurs at home. And children as young as two years old are eating and/or drinking low-calorie sweetened food and beverages.

This is just one of the key findings the study has found. The study is the first of its kind to cross-reference the use of low-calorie sweeteners in food and beverages with the recent data for U.S population. Data collected from the National Health And Nutrition Evaluation Survey (NHNES) of nearly 17,000 men, women, and children from 2009 to 2012. These were then compared to data collected and analyzed from 1999-2008. The correspondents of the survey were asked what they ate or drank the previous day.

The researchers found out that the use of low-calorie sweeteners in children rose from just 8.7 percent in 1999 and to 25.1% in 2012. This is a 200 percent increase in consumption of low-calorie sweeteners in just a thirteen-year gap. They also found out that 20% of children eat or drink low-calorie sweetened food and beverages more than once a day.

The consumption of low-calorie sweeteners in adults also increased by 54% percent. With 17% of adults using low-calorie sweeteners more than three times a day. More adults with obesity are reported to use low-calorie sweeteners compared to those adults who don't use them. The study adds that people consume more low-calorie sweetened food and beverages as their body weight mass index increases as they age.

However, there is still no scientific proof that low-calorie sweeteners are making an impact health-wise. Although some study suggests that the use of these alternative sweeteners could help in weight loss while others link the use of low-calorie sweeteners especially in diet drinks and food to actual weight gain.

Even parents and experts are questioning whether consuming low-sweetened food and beverages in children is healthy. Yet the study clearly shows that children are consuming low-calorie sweetened food and beverages and most of these cases happen at home. "Parents may be buying the light versions of the family favorites thinking they are healthier", adds study lead author Allison Sylvetsky.

The researchers recommend that in order to really cut down the consumption of sugar, people should adhere to the dietary guidelines made by the U.S government or by sticking to plant-based diets.

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