According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese. In addition, approximately 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2014.1

Concurrent with the rise in obesity is an emerging global epidemic of diabetes. WHO estimates than one person in 11, or 422 million people worldwide, has diabetes and predict that by 2030, diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death.2

While the causes of overweight and obesity around the globe are complex, one of the main factors is energy imbalance, where we are not burning as many calories as we take in.3 In other words, not getting enough physical activity to compensate for an increased intake of energy-dense foods.

Both the WHO4 and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans5 advise limiting added sugars to less than 10% of total daily calories. That is no more than 200 calories (12.5 teaspoons) from added sugars in a typical 2,000 calorie/day diet. The WHO Guidelines for sugars intake also makes a conditional recommendation and suggests a further reduction of free sugars intake to below 5% of total energy intake. For an adult of a normal weight, that works out to no more than about 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams of sugar per day.

Among the many strategies to consider for reducing added sugars in the diet is the use of non-nutritive sweeteners, including stevia.

For people trying to manage their weight, stevia provides a natural-origin way to cut calories without having to sacrifice taste. Replacing just 25g (about six teaspoons) of nutritive sweeteners in foods and beverages can provide a 100-calorie reduction. While this may seem relatively insignificant, these small changes do add up over time when done daily.

Researchers conducted a review and meta-analysis of the existing high quality randomized control clinical trials to look at the evidence on whether low/no-calorie sweeteners help or hurt weight management and appetite.<sup.6 The research shows that when sugar-sweetened foods and beverages are replaced by low/no-calorie sweetened foods and beverages, not only was total energy intake reduced, but that the calorie savings were not completely made up for at the next or subsequent meals and snacks (meaning there was minimal compensation of the reduced calories). This study also showed that over time, these calorie savings also led to a decrease in body weight.6

Replacing sugar with reduced-calorie, reduced sugar foods made with sweeteners like stevia has the ability to influence weight management. Two studies to date show that reduced sugar/calorie foods with stevia helped reduced total calorie intake.7,8 Therefore, when used correctly, non-nutritive sweeteners can help achieve personal as well as public health goals to reduce calories and sugar intake, and improve overall health.

Stevia is now available as an ingredient in over 14,500 food and beverage products around the world including teas, soft drinks, juices, yogurt, soymilk, baked goods, granola bars, alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, cereal, salad dressings, confections and as a tabletop sweetener.9 There has been a 25% increase in the number of new products containing stevia between 2008 – 2017.9


  1. World Health Organization. Obesity and Overweight Fact Sheet. accessed 9/22/2017
  2. World Health Organization. Diabetes. Accessed September 26, 2017
  3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2012). What causes overweight and obesity? Accessed September 26, 2017
  4. World Health Organization Guideline: Sugars Intake for Adults and Children March 2015
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 8th Edition:
  6. Rogers PJ, et al. (2016). Does low-energy sweetener consumption affect energy intake and body weight? A systematic review, including meta-analyses, of the evidence from human and animal studies. International Journal of Obesity. DOI 10.1038/ijo.2015.177.
  7. Anton SD, Martin CK, Han H, Coulon S, Cefalu WT, Geiselman P, Williamson DA .Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels. Appetite. 2010; 55(1):37-43
  8. S L Tey, N B Salleh, J Henry, C G Forde, Effects of aspartame-, monk fruit-, Stevia-, and sucrose-sweetened beverages on postprandial glucose, insulin and energy intake, International Journal of Obesity December 13,2016 doi:10.1038/ijo.2016.225
  9. Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) September 2017