Allison Sylvetsky

Allison Sylvetsky

Allison Sylvetsky


Associate Professor

School: Milken Institute School of Public Health

Department: Exercise and Nutrition Sciences


Office Phone: 202-994-5602
Fax: 202-994-1420

Dr. Sylvetsky is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences and is Director of the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition undergraduate degree program. She is also affiliated faculty at the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness and is a Special Volunteer at the National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD) in the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Sylvetsky joined the GW faculty in 2014, prior to which, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch of NIDDK  in the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She received a doctorate in Nutrition and Health Science from Emory University.

Dr. Sylvetsky's research focuses broadly on obesity and diabetes in youth. Her primary research interests are in studying the consumption and health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages and low-calorie (artificial) sweeteners, with a key focus on their consumption during childhood.  Dr. Sylvetsky uses mixed-methods approaches to investigate sugar and sweetener consumption at the intersection of physiology and behavior, and conducts cross-disciplinary research studies in both the laboratory and the community. She is currently the Principal Investigator of two NIH-funded studies examining consumption and effects of low-calorie sweeteners in children.




Children's Health

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology - The George Washington University (2009)
Doctor of Philosophy in Nutrition and Health Science – Emory University (2013)

EXNS 1109 - Professional Foundations in Nutrition Science

EXNS 2114 - Nutrition Science 1

EXNS 2115 - Nutrition Science 2

EXNS 2119 - Introduction to Nutrition Science

EXNS 3111W - Exercise and Nutrition Science Research Methods

PUBH 6619 - Fundamentals of Nutrition Science (MPH)

Dr. Sylvetsky's research focuses on the consumption and health effects of sugar-sweetened beverages and low-calorie (artificial) sweeteners, with an emphasis on their consumption during childhood.

These projects have included:

  • studying consumption of low-calorie sweeteners in various populations, as well as dietary and metabolic correlates of their cosumption
  • examining effects of low-calorie sweetener restriction on cardiometabolic health in youth with type 1 diabetes
  • investigating alterations in glucose, insulin, and satiety hormones after ingestion of low-calorie sweeteners
  • assessing the time course of low-calorie sweetener entry into human breast milk, urine, and plasma
  • evaluating effects of low-calorie sweeteners on the human gut microbiome
  • studying whether prolonged ingestion of diet soda containing sucralose and acesulfame-potassium impairs metabolic signaling pathway
  • understanding multifactorial determinants of low-calorie sweetener and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption
  • behavioral interventions to lower sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among children and adolescents

Beyond consumption and health effects of low-calorie sweeteners and sugar-sweetened beverages, Dr. Sylvetsky research interests also include the effects of early life exposures on diet, weight, and health; the relationship between diet and gut microbiota, behavioral, environmental, and policy approaches for improving the overall diet; and the role of dietary patterns in prevention and management of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Kaidbey J, Ferguson K, Halberg SE, Racke C, Visek AJ, Gearhardt AN, Juliano LM, Dietz WH, Sacheck J, Sylvetsky AC. Stop the Pop: A Mixed Methods Study Examining Children’s Physical and Emotional Responses during Three Days of Sugary Drink Cessation. Nutrients. 22 March 2022.

Sylvetsky AC, Kaidbey J, Ferguson K, Visek AJ, Sacheck J. Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's sugary drink consumption: A qualitative study. Frontiers in Nutrition. 16 March 2022.

Sylvetsky AC, Hoang ST, Visek AJ, Halberg SE, Smith M, Salahmand Y, Blake EF, Jin Y, Colon-Ramos UY, Lora KR. Beverage characteristics perceived as “healthy” among Hispanic and African American parents of young children. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 10 January 2022. PMID: 35026465.

Casey C, Huang Q, Talegawkar SA, Sylvetsky AC, Sacheck JM, DiPietro L, Lora KR. Added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium intake from snacks among U.S. adolescents by eating location. Preventive Medicine Reports. 5 Nov 2021; 24:101630. PMID: 34976683.

Huang Q, Murphy J, Smith ER, Sylvetsky AC. Diet Beverage Intake during Lactation and Associations with Infant Outcomes in the Infant Feeding Practices Study II. Nutrients. 2021 Sep 10;13(9):3154. PMID: 34579031

Swithers SE, Bonnano GR, Figueroa J, Welsh JA, Sylvetsky AC. Dietary and Health Correlates of Sweetened Beverage Intake: Sources of Variability in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Nutrients. 2021. Aug 5;13(8):2703. PMID: 34444862.

Sacheck JM, Blake EF, Press H, Lora KR, Sylvetsky AC, Visek AJ, DiPietro L. Understanding Physical Activity Patterns Across the School Day in Urban Pre-Kindergarten and Elementary Schoolchildren. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2021 Aug 13 [epub ahead of print]. PMID: 34387133.

Halasa BC, Sylvetsky AC, Conway EM, Shouppe MS, Walter MF, Walter PJ, Cai H, Hui L, Rother KI. Non-nutritive sweeteners in human amniotic fluid and cord blood: evidence of transplacental fetal exposure. American Journal of Perinatology. 2021. Sep 9. PMID: 34500483.

Sylvetsky AC, Blake EF, Visek AJ, Halberg S, Comstock K, Essel KD, Dietz WH, Sacheck J. Feasibility and Acceptability of a Randomized Controlled Trial to Investigate Withdrawal Symptoms in Response to Caffeinated Sugary Drink Cessation among Children. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications. 2021 May 23;22;100791. PMID: 34189336.

Sylvetsky AC, Moore HR, Kaidbey JH, Halberg SE, Cogen FR, DiPietro L, Elmi A, Goran MI, Streisand R. Rationale and design of DRINK-T1D: A randomized clinical trial of effects of low-calorie sweetener restriction in children with type 1 diabetes. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2021 May;106:106431. DOI: 10.1016/j.cct.2021.106431. 

Halberg SE, Visek AJ, Blake EF, Essel KD, Sacheck J, Sylvetsky AC. SODA MAPS: A Framework for Understanding Caffeinated Sugary Drink Consumption Among Children. Front Nutr. 2021 Mar 10;8:640531. DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2021.640531. PMID: 33777993; PMCID: PMC7988216.

Sylvetsky AC, Parnarouskis L, Merkel PE, Gearhardt AN. Children's Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption: Striking Parallels With Substance Use Disorder Symptoms. Front Pediatr. 2020 Nov 12;8:594513. DOI: 10.3389/fped.2020.594513. PMID: 33282802; PMCID: PMC7689136.

Andrade L, Lee KM, Sylvetsky AC, Kirkpatrick SI. Low-calorie sweeteners and human health: a rapid review of systematic reviews. Nutr Rev. 2020 Nov 24:nuaa123. DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nuaa123. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33236063.

Sylvetsky AC, Visek AJ, Halberg S, Rhee DK, Ongaro Z, Essel KD, Dietz WH, Sacheck J. Beyond taste and easy access: Physical, cognitive, interpersonal, and emotional reasons for sugary drink consumption among children and adolescents. Appetite. 2020 Dec 1;155:104826. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2020.104826. Epub 2020 Aug 12. PMID: 32800838; PMCID: PMC7574849.

Sylvetsky AC, Bauman V, Abdelhadi J, Blau JE, Wilkins KJ, Rother KI. Inter- and intra-individual variability of active glucagon-like peptide 1 among healthy adults. Journal of Translational Sciences. 2020. 7: DOI: 10.15761/JTS.1000404.

Sylvetsky AC, Chandran AC, Talegawkar SA, Welsh JA, Drews K & El ghormli L. Consumption of Beverages Containing Low-calorie Sweeteners, Diet, and Cardiometabolic Health in Youth with Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2020 Aug; 120(8): 1348-1358.

Kundu N, Domingues CC, Patel J, Aljishi M, Ahmadi N, Fakri M, Sylvetsky AC & Sen S. Sucralose Promotes Accumulation of Reactive Oxygen Species and Adipogenesis in Mesenchymal Stromal Cells. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2020 Jun 26;11(1):250. PMID: 32586409.

​Merkel PE, Ditto EK, Robien K & Sylvetsky AC. Chaos in a bottle: a critical evaluation of beverage categorization in nutrition research. Adv Nutr. 2020 Jun 17: nmaa068. PMID: 32556223

Sylvetsky AC, Sen S, Merkel P, Dore F, Stern DB, Henry CJ, Kai H, Walter PJ, Crandall KA, Rother KI & Hubal MJ. Consumption of Diet Soda Sweetened with Sucralose and Acesulfame-potassium Alters Inflammatory Transcriptome Pathways in Young Adults with Overweight and Obesity.  Mol Nutr Food Res. 2020 Jun;64(11): e1901166. PMID: 32281732.

Lewis N, Huang Q, Merkel P, Rhee K & Sylvetsky AC. Differences in the Sugar Content of Fast Food Products across Three Countries. Public Health Nutr. 2020 Jun 24:1-7. PMID: 32576300

Sylvetsky AC, Visek AJ, Turvey C, Halberg S, Weisenberg JR, Lora K & Sacheck J. Parental Concerns about Child and Adolescent Caffeinated Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake and Perceived Barriers to Reducing Consumption. Nutrients. 2020 March 25; 12 (4). Pii:E885. PMID: 32218117

King CH, Desai H, Sylvetsky AC, LoTempio J, Ayanyan S, Carrie J, Crandall KA, Fochtman BC, Gasparyan L, Gulzar N, Howell P, Issa N, Krampis K, Mishra L, Morizono H, Pisegna JR, Rao S, Ren Y, Simonyan V, Smith K, VedBrat S, Yao MD, Mazumder R. Baseline human gut microbiota profile in healthy people and standard reporting template. PLoS One. 2019 Sep 11;14(9):e0206484. eCollection 2019. PMID: 31509535

Sylvetsky AC, Figueroa J, Zimmerman T, Swithers SE, Welsh JA. Consumption of Low-calorie Sweetened Beverages is Associated with Higher Total Energy and Sugar Intake among Children, NHANES 2011-2016. Pediatric Obesity. 2019 May 2:e12535. PMID: 31044560.

Sylvetsky AC, Hiedacavage A, Shah N, Pokorney P, Baldauf S, Merrigan K, Smith V, Black M, Long M, Robien K, Avena N, Gaine PC, Greenberg D, Wootan M, Talegawkar S, Colon-Ramos U, Leahy M, Ohmes A, Mennella J, Sacheck J & Dietz WH. From Biology to Behavior: A Cross-Disciplinary Seminar Series Surrounding Added Sugar and Low-calorie Sweetener Consumption. Obesity Science and Practice.  2019 Apr 11;5(3):203-219. PMID: 31275594.

Young J, Conway E, Rother KI & Sylvetsky AC. Low-calorie Sweetener Use, Weight, and Metabolic Health among Children: A Mini-Review. Pediatric Obesity. April 14 2019.

Sylvetsky AC, Figueroa J, Rother KI, Goran MI & Welsh JA. Trends in low-calorie sweetener consumption among pregnant women in the United States. Current Developments in Nutrition. Jan 15 2019.

Visek AJ, Blake EF, Otterbein M, Chandran A & Sylvetsky AC. SWEETMAPS: A Conceptualization of Low-calorie Sweetener Consumption among Young Adults. Current Developments in Nutrition. Dec 24 2018.

Jin Y, Sylvetsky AC, Kandula N, Kanaya A & Talegawkar SA. Prevalence of low-calorie sweetener intake in South Asian Adults. Nutr Health. 2018 Aug 13. PMID: 30099940

Sylvetsky AC. Metabolic Effects of Low-calorie Sweeteners: A Brief Review. Obesity 2018 Aug 1. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:  30070039

Rother KI, Conway EM & Sylvetsky AC. How Non-nutritive Sweeteners Influence Hormones and Health. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism2018 Jul; 29(7):455-467. PMID: 29859661.

Stanhope KL, Goran MI, Bosy-Westphal A, King JC, Schmidt LA, Schwarz J, Stice E, Sylvetsky AC, Turnbaugh PJ, Bray GA, Gardner CD, Havel PJ, Malik V, Mason AE, Ravussin E, Rosenbaum M, Welsh JA, Allister-Price C, Sigala DM, Greenwood M, Astrup A & Krauss RM. Pathways and Mechanisms Linking Dietary Components to Cardiometabolic Disease: Thinking Beyond Calories. Obesity Reviews. 2018 May 14. PMID: 29761610

Sylvetsky AC & Rother KI. Non-nutritive Sweeteners in Weight Management and Chronic Disease: a review. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Apr;26(4):635-640. PMID: 29570245.

Sylvetsky AC, Jin Y, Mathieu K, DiPietro L, Rother KI, Talegawkar SA. Low-calorie Sweeteners: Disturbing the Energy Balance Equation in Adolescents? Obesity. October 31 2017.

Rother KI, Sylvetsky AC, Walter PJ, Garraffo HM, Demarath EW, Fields DA. Pharmacokinetics of Sucralose and Acesulfame-potassium in Breast Milk Following Ingestion of Diet Soda. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017 Oct 27. 

Sylvetsky AC, Edelstein SL, Delahanty LM, Walford GM, Boyko EJ, Horton ES, Ibeuogu UN, Knowler WC, Montez MS, Temprosa M, Rother KI. A high-carbohydrate, high-fiber, low-fat diet results in weight loss among adults at high-risk for type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 27 Sep 2017.

Bright OM, Wang DD, White MS, Bleich SN, Foreyt J, Franz M, Johnson G, Manning BT, Mattes R, Pi-Sunyer X, Schneeman B, Parrot JS, Steffen D, Sylvetsky AC, Ziegler P, Chung M. Research Priorities for Studies Linking Intake of Low Calorie Sweeteners and Potentially Related Health Outcomes. Current Developments in Nutrition. 

Sylvetsky AC, Conway EM, Malhotra S & Rother KI. Development of sweet taste perception: implications for artificial sweetener use. Endocr Dev. 2017; 32:87-99. Epub 2017 August 15. PMID: 28873386.

Sylvetsky AC, Issa NT, Chandran A, Brown RJ, Alamari HJ, Aitchenson G, Walter M, Rother KI. PEDF declines in response to an oral glucose load and is correlated with vitamin D and BMI, not diabetes status in children and young adults. Hormone Research in Pediatrics. 2017 Apr 11. PMID: 28399539 

Sylvetsky AC, Walter PJ, Garraffo HM, Robien K, Rother KI. Widespread sucralose exposure in a randomized clinical trial of healthy adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Apr;105(4):820-823. PMID: 28228424

Sylvetsky AC, Jin Y, Clark EJ, Welsh JA, Rother KI, Talegawkar SA. Consumption of low-calorie sweeteners among children and adults in the United States. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Mar;117(3):441-448. PMID: 28087414

Sylvetsky AC, Brown RJ, Blau JE, Walter M, Rother KI. Hormonal responses to non-nutritive sweeteners in water and diet soda. Nutrition and Metabolism. 2016 October 21; 13:71. PubMed PMID: 2777606.

Sylvetsky AC, Bauman V, Blau JE, Garraffo HM, Walter PJ, Rother KI. Plasma concentrations of sucralose in children and adults. Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry. 2016 17 Oct; 98: 1-8. 

Sylvetsky AC, Blau JE, Rother KI.Understanding the metabolic and health effects of low-calorie sweeteners: methodological considerations and implications for future research. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2016 Mar 3. 

Sylvetsky AC, Rother KI. Trends in the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners. Physiol Behav. 2016. Mar 31.

Sylvetsky AC, Nandagopal R, Nguyen T, Abegg M, Nagarur M, Kaplowitz P, Rother KI.The Buddy Study: Partners for Better Health in Adolescents with Type 2 Diabetes. World Journal of Diabetes. 2015 Dec 25;6(18):1355-62. PubMed PMID: 26722619.

Sylvetsky AC, Gardner AL, Bauman V, Blau JE, Garraffo H, Walter PJ, Rother KI. Non-nutritive Sweeteners in Breast Milk. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental health. 2015 Aug 12: 1-4. PubMed PMID: 26267522

Rother KI, Sylvetsky AC & Schiffman SS. Non-nutritive sweeteners in breast milk:  Perspective on potential implications of recent findings. Archives of Toxicology. 2015 Oct 14. PubMed PMID: 26462668.

Sylvetsky Meni AC, Swithers SE, Rother KI. Positive association between artificially sweetened beverage consumption and incidence of diabetes. Diabetologia. 2015 Oct;58(10):2455-6. doi: 10.1007/s00125-015-3694-5. Epub 2015 Jul 18. 

Sylvetsky-Meni AC, Gillepsie SE, Hardy T, Welsh JA. The impact of parents' categorization of their own weight and their child's weight on healthy lifestyle promoting beliefs and practices. J Obes. 2015;2015:307381. PubMed PMID: 25861468; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4378330

Sylvetsky AC, Greenberg M, Zhao X, Rother KI.What Parents Think about Giving Nonnutritive Sweeteners to Their Children: A Pilot Study. Int J Pediatr. 2014; 2014:819872 

 Sylvetsky AC, Dietz WH. Nutrient-content claims--guidance or cause for confusion? N Engl J Med. 2014 Jul 17;371(3):195-8. PubMed PMID: 25014684

 Sylvetsky AC, Brown RJ & Rother KI. Biological and health effects of non-nutritive sweeteners. Biological and health effects of non-nutritive sweeteners. “Dietary Sugars and Health.” Francis & Taylor Publishing. November 2013. 

Sylvetsky AC, Hennink M, Comeau D, Welsh JA, Hardy T, Matzigkeit L, Swan DW, Walsh SM & Vos MB.  Youth demonstrate limited understanding of the causes of consequences of obesity. Youth demonstrate limited understanding of the causes of consequences of obesity. Journal of Obesity. 2013. DOI: 10.1155/2013/670295. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Sylvetsky AC, Welsh JA, Walsh SM, & Vos MB. Action-oriented obesity counseling attains weight stabilization and improves liver enzymes among overweight and obese children and adolescents. Action-oriented obesity counseling attains weight stabilization and improves liver enzymes among overweight and obese children and adolescents. Open Journal of Pediatrics. 2012 Sept; 2 (3); 236-243. DOI: 10.4236/ojped.2012.23037

Sylvetsky AC, Welsh JA, Brown RJ & Vos MB. Low-calorie sweetener consumption is increasing in the United States. Low-calorie sweetener consumption is increasing in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;96(3):640-6.Epub 2012 Aug 1.

De-Regil LM, Jefferds MEJ, Sylvetsky AC, Dowswell T. Intermittent iron supplementation for improving nutrition and developmental outcomes in children.  Intermittent iron supplementation for improving nutrition and developmental outcomes in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Dec 7; (12):CD009085.

Sylvetsky AC, Rother KI, Brown RJ.Artificial Sweetener use Among Children: Epidemiology, Current Recommendations, Metabolic Outcomes, and Future Directions.  Artificial Sweetener use Among Children: Epidemiology, Current Recommendations, Metabolic Outcomes, and Future Directions. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2011 Dec;58(6):1467-80, xi. Epub 2011 Oct 14.