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Sweeteners: Not All Alike.

How do low-calorie sweeteners affect your weight? It depends.

Researchers randomly assigned 123 people who were overweight or obese to drink roughly 40 to 60 oz. a day of Kool-Aid sweetened with sugar, aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet'N Low), stevia extract (Tru via), or sucralose (Splenda). The sugar-sweetened drink supplied 400 to 560 calories. (Heavier participants got larger servings.)

After 12 weeks, the sugar group had gained 4 pounds and the saccharin group had gained 2 1/2 pounds. The stevia and aspartame groups gained--and the sucralose group lost--about 11/2 pounds, but those changes weren't statistically significant. Glucose tolerance didn't change in any group.

What to do: Avoid sugary beverages, but don't assume that all low-calorie sweeteners are equal. Stevia is the safest, because aspartame, sucralose, and (rarely used) saccharin cause cancer in animals. It's too early to know if sucralose can help people lose weight more than other sweeteners.

Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2019. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqy381.

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Title Annotation:Quick Studies: A snapshot of the latest research on diet, exercise, and more.
Publication:Nutrition Action Healthletter
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2019
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