American Academy of Pediatrics Raises Concerns Re Nonnutritive Sweeteners, Calls for Research and Labeling
On October 28, 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement, in which it questions the effects of nonnutritive sweeteners (NNSs) on children’s health. AAP notes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently requires manufacturers to list NNSs in a product’s ingredient statement but recommends also requiring producers to specify the amount of each NNS. In the policy statement, AAP recommends that FDA require manufacturers to include the amounts of NNSs on product labels, “as a way to help families and researchers monitor and study children’s intake, as well as potential negative health effects.”
Eight NNSs are permitted in the US. Saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-potassium, sucralose, neotame, and advantame are cleared as food additives; an additional two NNSs, steviol glycosides and luo han guo (monk fruit extract), are the subject of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) Notices.
The Calorie Control Council, an international association representing the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage industry, takes issue with AAP’s claims and maintains its longstanding position that, when consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet, the consumption of these sweeteners may serve as a tool for managing overall caloric and sugar intake. FDA is currently reviewing AAP’s policy statement and recommendations.