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LONG-TERM (3 YEAR) CONTROL OF BODY WEIGHT: EFFECT OF ASPARTAME

 BOSTON, June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers at New England Deaconess Hospital, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, recently announced the results of a three-year study supported by a grant from The NutraSweet Company and the Center for the Study of Nutrition and Medicine, suggesting that weight loss, attained through exercise and reduced-calorie food consumption, can be more effectively maintained by controlling food cravings with aspartame.
 At the fifth European Congress on Obesity in Ulm, Germany, Dr. George Blackburn reported that obese women in the study who consumed products containing aspartame as part of a healthy diet and exercise program, lost significant amounts of weight and were able to sustain half of their weight loss for two and a half years. Women who followed a similar healthy diet and exercise program that did not include products containing aspartame also lost weight but on average gained the weight back over the same period of time.
 "Good-tasting, nutrient-modified foods -- foods in which fats and sugars have been reduced -- have proved to help dieters stay on healthy diets longer than they've been able to before," says Dr. Blackburn. "For many people, that can represent a real breakthrough."
 Blackburn studied 163 obese women on average 42 years old and 172 percent of ideal body weight. Participants were placed on a nutrient- balanced deficit diet and told to abstain from all low-calorie sweeteners for three weeks. They were then instructed to continue the balanced diet, but were also randomly assigned either to consume or to abstain from aspartame-sweetened foods and beverages during a 16-week active weight loss phase. During the 2.6-year maintenance phase, participants were encouraged to continue to consume or abstain from aspartame according to their original group assignment.
 Dr. Blackburn states that a national strategy is needed to successfully treat and prevent obesity -- one that includes nutrient modified foods and regular exercise.
 "Reducing obesity should be a national priority. Because most people are unwilling to give up the foods they like, we need to continue to develop foods that taste good but have fewer calories, less fat and more nutrients," says Blackburn.
 "Our study has shown that aspartame-sweetened foods and beverages eaten as part of a healthy lifestyle program can help people control their weight successfully because they are given a positive choice -- something people can enjoy living with."
 Important data collected from this study were used to develop a multicenter clinical trial investigating the role of nutrient foods in the long-term control of body weight among African American women. This study which is currently underway, is supported by the National Institutes of Health and is taking place in Boston, New York, Houston and Los Angeles.
 -0- 6/11/93
 /CONTACT: Leslie Kramer of Deaconess Hospital in Boston, 617-632-8046/


CO: New England Deaconess Hospital; NutraSweet Company ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:

SM -- NY049 -- 1124 06/11/93 14:18 EST
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Date:Jun 11, 1993
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