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By: Kerry Phillips, RD   Date: 8/26/11

With obesity rates among Americans at an all‐time high, it is more important than ever to provide people with information about the available options to help manage weight. And, from a health professional perspective, it’s nice to have several options at our fingertips when helping our patients and clients in their weight loss and weight management endeavors.

To help fill this need, the International Food Information Council Foundation has revised its popular brochure, “Everything You Need to Know About Aspartame.” This informative brochure is designed to be a useful resource for consumers as well as health professionals, and provides consumer-friendly information that has been updated to reflect the latest science, including facts about aspartame and weight management, safety, food uses and applications, and benefits for various populations. In addition, the revised brochure has been favorably reviewed by the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

According to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2011 Food & Health Survey, only 29 percent of consumers agree that low-calorie sweeteners can reduce the calorie content of foods. Surprised? While it may be common knowledge for those in the food and nutrition world, many people don’t realize the calorie reduction benefits of low-calorie sweeteners. That’s where this brochure can help: by increasing awareness of the uses and potential benefits of this tool as a part of a weight management and exercise plan.

Low‐calorie sweeteners such as aspartame can help play a role in a weight loss program by providing sweet options that do not contribute extra calories. Many sweet food and beverage favorites are available in reduced-calorie versions that use aspartame (the brochure provides a list of some of the many examples), offering a safe, easy, and tasty way to achieve calorie savings.

While safe for the general population, those with the rare hereditary condition known as phenylketonuria (or PKU), should not consume foods or ingredients containing phenylalanine, including aspartame. Food and beverage products containing aspartame carry a warning statement on the label for those individuals with PKU.

How do you incorporate low-calorie foods into your weight management plan?



2 comment(s) so far...

Re: The “Everything You Need to Know About Aspartame” Brochure Gets a Makeover!

Just because aspartame has o calories, does not mean you will necessarily lose weight from ingesting it. There's more to weight than just calorie management. Aspartame suppresses seratonin in the brain, which is what controls food cravings. Aspartame is also a chemical, so as the liver tries to detox this toxin it can be overwhelmed if chemicals are readily consumed regularly, therefore the liver refrains from concentrating on its other functions like enabling weight loss. Fatty liver may also form as a result, which will make much easier too gain weight, regardless of calorie intake. (employed by Wisdom Natural brands, the makers of SweetLeaf Stevia)

By Erin on   Thursday, September 01, 2011

Re: The “Everything You Need to Know About Aspartame” Brochure Gets a Makeover!

Erin- Thank you for your comment and your interest in the Food Insight blog. We agree with you that low-calorie sweeteners are not a “magic bullet” when it comes to weight loss. However, several studies have shown that, when combined with a balanced diet and regular physical activity, low-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame can aid in weight loss and/or weight management. For example, carefully designed studies that placed low-calorie sweeteners (including aspartame) into subjects’ diets over a period of weeks without their knowledge have repeatedly reported reduced calorie intake and body weight (Blackburn, et al., The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Feb. 1997; de la Hunty, et al., Nutrition Bulletin, June 2006). Such studies affirm that low calorie sweeteners like aspartame are useful as weight loss/weight management tools. Aspartame is one of the most studied ingredients in the food supply, and research conducted on aspartame over the last three decades since its approval has continued to affirm its safety (Magnuson, et al., Critical Reviews in Toxicology, Jan. 2007). Approved low-calorie sweeteners, whether natural or synthetic, must pass the same stringent safety tests before being permitted for use in foods and beverages.

By Kerry Phillips on   Friday, September 02, 2011

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