Low-Calorie Sweeteners, Food Additives, and the Microbiome: What We Know Now

Low-Calorie Sweeteners, Food Additives, and the Microbiome: What We Know Now
Sponsored by: The Calorie Control Council (CCC) and the International Food Additives Council (IFAC)

Headlines claiming that certain foods and ingredients negatively impact the microbiome have almost become a regular occurrence. Five years ago, two studies that drove media coverage, and continue to do so -- concluded that low-calorie sweeteners increase the risk for diabetes and obesity via their effect on the microbiome. But those headlines may be overstating the effect that certain ingredients have on our gut bacteria. This session will explore what we know now about measuring bacterial growth in the microbiome and the effect of specific ingredients using two new publications, particularly low-calorie sweeteners, on gut bacteria. 

Presented on: Tuesday October 1, 2019 2 pm CT, 3 pm ET


Hannah HolscherHannah Holscher, PhD, RD
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois

Dr. Hannah Holscher received her B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition and her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois. She is also a Registered Dietitian, having completed clinical training at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, Illinois. Dr. Holscher joined the University of Illinois faculty as an Assistant Professor in June 2015. Dr. Holscher studies how food influences gut microbes and human health. Using big data approaches, she studies the link between diet, gut microbes, and health. Her work is important because it informs dietary recommendations to improve health and well-being. 


Ashley RobertsAshley Roberts, PhD
Regulatory Toxicologist
Senior Vice President, Food & Nutrition, Intertek

Dr. Roberts is an accomplished Regulatory Toxicologist with extensive knowledge in international regulatory affairs.  He has considerable experience in designing, conducting, and reporting pre-clinical and clinical research studies.  While working in the food industry he was largely responsible for developing scientific strategies, for establishing safety and gaining regulatory approvals for new food ingredients throughout the world.

During his time in industry and academia, he has published a number of papers in peer- reviewed journals. Most recently his work has led to two peer-reviewed publications: “Assessing the in vivo data on low/no-calorie sweeteners and the gut microbiota” and “Dietary Exposures to Common Emulsifiers and Their Impact on the Gut Microbiota: Is There a Cause for Concern?”     

Credits: 1 CEU, Level
CEU Codes: 2020 Composition of foods, Nutritional Analysis
5190 Diabetes Mellitus
5220 GI Disorders
5110 Allergies, Sensitivities


    1. Explain the complexity in measuring the effects of various foods and food additives on the microbiome.
    2. Summarize the research that has studied the effect of LCS and other food additives on the microbiome in everyday practice.
    3. Identify the research needed to understand the effect of LCS and other food additives on the microbiome.

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