Low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) are sweeteners that contain few to no calories but have a higher intensity of sweetness per gram than sweeteners with calories. These include artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame and Sucralose, as well as extracts from plants like steviol glycosides and monk fruit. Beverages containing LCS sometimes carry the label “sugar-free” or “diet.” The health effects of LCS are inconclusive, with research showing mixed findings. A 2018 scientific advisory by the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association noted that further research on the effects of LCS beverages on weight control, cardiometabolic risk factors, and risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases is needed. That said, they also note that for adults who are regular high consumers of sugary drinks, LCS beverages may be a useful temporary replacement strategy to reduce intake of sugary drinks.

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