Sweeteners and sweetness enhancers: Impact on health, obesity, safety and sugars - SWEET

ABOUT SWEET (Grant no.245199)

Duration:  5 years - October 2018 to September 2023

Coordinators: University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

Project Partners: 29 beneficiaries from eight EU Member States and Switzerland

Source of funding: European Commission’s H2020 Programme, Research and Innovation Action


SWEET aimed to identify and address barriers and facilitators in the use of sweeteners and sweetness enhancers (S&SEs) and examine risks and benefits of using these to replace sugar in the diet, in the contexts of health, obesity, safety and (food) sustainability.

Technological, health and sweetness knowledge and data were integrated to create a platform that can be used to selected new and emerging S&SEs for inclusion in food products.

The behavioural and physiological impact of specific S&SEs was examined in acute and repeat-dose studies, and population differences in sweetness perception were established for the first time; a sensory profile was developed, and genetic determinants were also assessed. The core randomised controlled trial adopted a whole diet approach to examine the impact of prolonged sugar replacement on weight control, appetite and energy intake whilst underlying mechanistic effects of S&SE use, alone and in combination, were evaluated in acute studies. Outcomes relating to safety and overall health risks were measured in acute and chronic studies and secondary data (i.e. long-term interventions, prospective cohorts). Preferences for and perceptions of S&SEs amongst European consumers, and barriers to their acceptance, consumption and use, were determined. The environmental cost and sustainability of replacing sugar with S&SEs were also modelled.

Consumers were engaged to inform research design, and stakeholder-driven exploitation and impact plans were developed to disseminate outcomes addressing the role of sweeteners in weight control and move effective products nearer to market.

Role of EuroFIR AISBL in SWEET

EuroFIR contributed to WP5 Sustainability analysis of sweeteners and sweetness enhancers (S&SEs) using Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment, which aims to determine whether increasing use of S&SEs offers a sustainable pathway to promoting healthy diets, combatting obesity and delivering improved food security in the EU. A key role in this WP5 was the liaison with other WPs to ensure two-way exchange of information. More specifically, EuroFIR contributed to scoping work on potential S&SEs and food products, offered critical review of life-cycle analyses and contributed to potential scenarios for use of S&SEs including cost implications, support stakeholder engagement and publication of information about S&SEs for external public users.

SWEET leaflet - download HERE

SWEET website 


2021-07-15: Dietary guidelines and informed personal choice: Sugar, sweeteners and complexity

Written by Siân Astley, Senior Researcher & Communications Manager, EuroFIR AISBL, Brussels (BE)

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