FoodFacts.com has been warning consumers about the possible dangers of the non-nutritive sweetener Aspartame for quite a while now. We’ve always understood that the ingredient has not received the type of analysis that would verify its overall safety for the population and that several studies have shown the potential side effects of the substance.
Aspartame, and other non-nutritive sweeteners, like saccharin, have been marketed to consumers as an aid to dieting and weight loss. While its safety has always been in question, aspartame’s use for weight loss hasn’t actually been questioned. Today, we read with interest new evidence that Aspartame might actually be contributing to weight problems, instead of helping to solve them. A new study out of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil has found that the intake of aspartame affected the calorie intake and weight of rats who consumed it as compared to those who contained plain old sugar.
It was discovered that rats fed diets containing aspartame had a significantly larger weight gain than those fed diets containing sugar. The research focused on 29 rats who were fed two different diets. Some of them consumed a plain yogurt sweetened with sugar, while others were fed a plain yogurt sweetened with aspartame. They also ate a regular rat chow and were given water. Their physical activity was restrained. The rats were followed for total body weight gain and caloric intake over a 12 week period. The rats fed yogurt sweetened with aspartame had a measurably larger weight gain than those who were fed the sugar-sweetened yogurt. The caloric intake was similar between the two groups, as well as the physical activity permitted. The conclusion was reached that the rats eating the aspartame-sweetened yogurt needed to consume more of the rat chow to satisfy their hunger. In a manner, they adjusted their consumption to satisfy their needs.
The study is far from conclusive, but it certainly suggests a link between the consumption of aspartame and weight gain – not weight loss. Its results call for further analysis of the ingredient and its benefits to weight control. There are thousands and thousands of products containing Aspartame lining our grocery store shelves. Our population is consuming the ingredient constantly and consciously, believing that Aspartame will help their weight control efforts. This study points to the concept that Aspartame has the opposite effect for weight-conscious consumers. That’s pretty eye-opening.
When we put this possibility together with the many, many other potential dangers of Aspartame, FoodFacts.com can’t help but reiterate our original idea. Aspartame is an ingredient we should avoid. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this study and any that come from its results.
In the meantime, we encourage you to read more: http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Sweeteners-linked-to-higher-weight-gain-Rat-study and http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/Safety/chemical/artificial_sweeteners_weight_gain_1128121243.html