34th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition


Posted: 29th June to 1st July 2016, Praque, Czech Republic

The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) is delighted to have participated this year in the 34th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition, which was hosted in Prague from June 29th to July 1st. Organised annually by the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), this symposium brings together healthcare professionals and scientists involved in diabetes and nutrition from all around the world.

Each year, this symposium is a great opportunity for physicians, researchers, dieticians, nurses, scientists and students to discuss and debate emerging science in the area of diabetes research and nutritional care. The goal of the DNSG’s annual symposium is to stay up-to-date in terms of the prevention and treatment of diabetes by nutritional means and to provide a forum for discussion on diabetes, nutrition and health among experts working in this field.

The theme of this year’s scientific programme was ‘Plant based diets in diabetes’, and featured significant advances in the science around the role of diet in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. A number of interesting topics were addressed, including:

  • Dietary patterns in the prevention of diabetes
  • Vegetarian diets in the prevention and treatment of diabetes
  • New insights into the pathophysiology of diabetes
  • Epidemiology of diabetes
  • Adipose tissue, dietary lipids and inflammation
  • Carbohydrates quality and diabetes; Sugars debate
  • Bioactive components of a healthy diet
  • Low calorie sweeteners in the fight against obesity and diabetes

The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) was present at the 34th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition to contribute to the scientific dialogue about the role of a healthy diet in the prevention and management of diabetes. Low calorie sweeteners are recognised as a helpful ally in the diet of people with diabetes, as they offer greater variety and choice as well as sweet taste without affecting blood glucose and insulin levels.

The ISA hosted an information booth to address any questions on low calorie sweeteners, and share the new ISA booklet about ‘Low calorie sweeteners: Role and benefits’ as well as the updated ISA factsheets with the latest scientific evidence on the benefits of low calorie sweeteners.

Check out our Twitter account for latest science on diabetes and nutrition presented during the 34th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition as well as to stay informed on any upcoming science news in these fields.

Chaired by Dr John Sievenpiper and Dr Kjeld Hermansen, this session looked at latest scientific research around low calorie sweeteners and their role against obesity and diabetes. Read our highlights from this session here, and you may read our press release on this by clicking here.

In the context of the 34th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition, held between June 29th and July 1st, nutrition and diabetes scientists and healthcare professionals from around the world came together in Prague to discuss and debate emerging science developments on the role of the diet in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

One of the most interesting sessions during this 3-day conference, entitled “Sweet Living: Can non–caloric sweeteners help in the fight against obesity and diabetes?” and chaired by Dr John Sievenpiper and Dr Kjeld Hermansen, brought together four renowned scientists and experts in their fields, who gave the audience a very enlightening discussion around low calorie sweeteners and their role against obesity and diabetes.

Opening up the session, Prof Fred Brouns, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University (Netherlands), presented the metabolic and physiological effects of both caloric and low calorie sweeteners, and stressed out that humans show an innate preference for sweet taste, immediately notifiable after birth. He also reviewed the association between the use of low calorie sweeteners and obesity, and highlighted that “obesity is a multifactorial lifestyle issue and that many correlations found in some observational studies have led to information being taken out of context and to misleading media headlines”. This might be also the case in the occasion of the link found in some epidemiological studies between low calorie sweeteners and obesity. In a very illustrative example, Prof Brouns explained that “overweight individuals are advised to drink water or diet drinks in place of sugary drinks in order to reduce their energy intake, and as a result a correlation is observed between obesity and water/ diet drinks consumption, which clearly is a case of reverse causality.”

In his turn, Prof. Peter Rogers, Professor of Biological Psychology in University of Bristol (UK) introduced the audience to his systematic review and meta-analysis recently published in the International Journal of Obesity which analyses the effects of low calorie sweetener consumption on energy intake and body weight. This systematic review by Rogers et al. shows that foods and beverages sweetened with low calorie sweeteners in place of sugar contribute to energy intake reduction, thus helping in weight loss and management. As highlighted by Prof Rogers, who also presented some preliminary unpublished data from ongoing human studies examining the effect of diet drinks on the desire for sweet taste and sweet foods consumption compared to water and other beverages, "Contrary to what has been suggested by authors, human trials show that exposure to sweetness with the use of low calorie sweeteners tends to reduce people’s desire for sweet taste and actually satisfy this need, and potentially decrease the consumption of sugar-sweetened products.”

Last, but certainly not least, Dr James O. Hill, Director of the Colorado Clinical Nutrition Research Unit (USA), covered the topic of the role of low calorie sweeteners in weight loss and weight loss maintenance, as part of the results coming out of a clinical study he and his team conducted and was published in the Obesity peer-reviewed journal. According to the study outcomes, people who used to consume diet drinks and maintained this behaviour during the one-year weight loss and maintenance programme, lost more weight during the 12-week weight loss period, and most importantly, experienced greater maintenance of weight loss at 52 weeks, compared to participants who were allowed to drink only water. Since weight maintenance is a very challenging task, these outcomes might have an even greater importance, as the most significant difference found between the two groups were observed during the weight maintenance period, potentially meaning that the beneficial role of low calorie sweetened drinks might be even bigger in long-term weight loss maintenance.

Dr Hill wrapped his speech up stating that “A large number of well conducted human studies show no negative effect of low calorie sweeteners on weight control and management. We should be confident that low calorie sweeteners can help in weight loss, when used as part of an intentional weight management programme.”

In a panel discussion following the above session, all speakers agreed that “there is high quality research in humans that consistently affirms the useful role of low calorie sweeteners in weight control and management.”

You may also read the ISA Press Release about this session here, and read more about the 34th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition and ISA participation by clicking here