Friday, September 13, 2019

Non-nutritive sweeteners and body weight

The Study
The impact of non-nutritive sweeteners on body weight is controversial. In this study, 154 subjects were randomized to one of 5 groups and consumed 1.5 liters per day of a beverage made with either sugar, sucrolose (Splenda), aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet and Low) or rebaudioside A (another non-nutritive sweetener). The beverage was consumed daily for 12 weeks. The results were fascinating:

 -Subjects consuming the sugar sweetened beverage gained 4.1 pounds by the end of the 12 weeks.

 -Subjects consuming the saccharin (Sweet and Low) beverage gained 2.6 pounds by the end of the 12 weeks.

 -Subjects consuming the sucrolose (Splenda), aspartame (Equal) and rebaudioside A had no significant change in body weight.

-When compared to all of the other non-nutritive sweeteners, the sucrolose (Splenda) group lost a statistically significant 3 pounds. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2019;109:1288-1301.

Take Home Message
There are really 2 take home messages here, one is not surprising while the other is quite surprising.

-It is not surprising that drinking a sugar sweetened beverage for 12 weeks puts weight on you. That is exactly what happened in this investigation.

-The idea that different non-nutritive sweeteners have distinct impacts on our weight is completely novel. This is the first study that I have seen that shows this and I think it will initiate a lot of research on in this area. In this study, Sweet and Low resulted in significant weight gain, Splenda in significant weight loss. Equal didn’t impact weight in either direction. While this is just one study, there may be something interesting here. We’ll stay tuned for further research in this area. 

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