Aspartame proven to help reduce weight

Well conducted human studies, including long-term trials, demonstrate that the low calorie sweetener aspartame "results in a significant reduction in both energy intakes (calories) and body weight".

Claims that low calorie sweeteners lead to weight gain, a theory being propounded following a small-scale study on rats published recently in the journal Behavioural Neuroscience, are not supported by the significant body of scientific evidence which demonstrates the benefit of using aspartame for weight control and weight maintenance.

Scientists at Purdue University in the United States studied 27 rats fed food sweetened with saccharin and rats fed food with glucose and found that the rats that ingested saccharin went on to consume more calories and put on more weight and body fat.

While research in this area has been based on human studies for more than twenty years, this study is based on a small sample of rats, representing a step backwards for science. It does not necessarily follow that findings in rats are applicable in humans. In fact, evidence obtained from a broad range of human studies points to the opposite conclusion.

A meta-analysis of 16 human studies conducted by A. de la Hunty et al, published in 2006, concluded that "using foods and drinks sweetened with aspartame instead of sucrose results in a significant reduction in both energy intakes (calories) and bodyweight".

Research conducted by F. Bellisle and A. Drewnowski published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 evaluated a variety of laboratory, clinical and epidemiological studies and provides further evidence of the beneficial impact of reducing caloric intake and the energy density of the diet, citing low calorie sweeteners as a vehicle to achieve this aim.

February 2008