Consumption of Sugar Substitutes Assists in Long-Term Weight Control

ATLANTA (June 29, 2010) – Research shows that the consumption of sugar-free beverages containing low-calorie sweeteners such as sucralose increases dietary restraint, a key aspect of successful weight maintenance. As part of a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers analyzed calorie, protein, carbohydrate, fat and beverage intake, as well as the dietary restraint of over 300 individuals. Researchers concluded that the use of artificially sweetened beverages may be an important weight control strategy among WLM [weight loss maintainers].

The researchers also stated, “The current study suggests that WLM use more dietary strategies to accomplish their WLM, including greater restriction of fat intake, use of fat and sugar modified foods, reduced consumption of caloric beverages and increased consumption of artificially sweetened beverages.” These findings support a 2002 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which determined that consumers of sugar substitutes had significantly greater weight loss compared with participants who did not consume sugar substitutes. And in another study, published in Pediatrics two years ago, researchers discovered that overweight children could prevent further weight gain simply by walking another 2,000 steps and eliminating just 100 calories each day using products sweetened with sucralose (marketed as Splenda®). This was one of the first times clinical evidence proved that overweight children could effectively prevent excess weight gain by making small changes to their lifestyle.

Statistics show that about 68 percent of the U.S. population is now obese or overweight. Products sweetened with sucralose can help consumers striving to lose or maintain weight. According to this calorie savings calculator, for example, switching from a regular can of soda (cola) to a sucralose-sweetened variation could save 100 calories each day – and result in a loss of up to 15 pounds throughout the year if the calorie savings are maintained. And a blueberry muffin baked with sucralose can shave off 80 calories compared to the traditional version.

“Low-calorie sweeteners such as sucralose and the products that contain them offer people a way to manage calories without sacrificing taste,” said Beth Hubrich, a registered dietitian with the Calorie Control Council. “However, it’s important to remember that low-calorie sweeteners and reduced-calorie products are not magic bullets, which means using these products will not result in automatic weight loss.”

A national consumer survey conducted by the Calorie Control Council shows more than 194 million Americans now consume low and reduced-calorie foods and beverages. The non-profit trade association has noted that this number will likely continue to rise as more consumers begin to understand that “calories count” for weight loss and weight maintenance.

Dr. Adam Drewnowski, Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, has encouraged consumers to “use low-calorie sweeteners in addition to other tools (such as portion control, exercise, etc.) to help manage their calories.” Dr. Drewnowski co-authored a recent research review of low-calorie sweeteners, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which found that low-calorie sweeteners and the products that contain them can help people reduce their calorie intake and were associated with weight loss.