Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Aspartame Doesn't Affect Appetite

The internet's an interesting place providing soapboxes for me and anyone else with an axe to grind.

One of the axes that gets ground regularly is that asparatame is an especially bad and dangerous molecule that is responsible for a myriad of health concerns.

One of the claims made by those who like to vilify sweeteners (including aspartame) is that consuming them causes appetite to increase and so I was pleased to see a talk at the most recent Obesity Society Scientific Assembly on that very matter.

The talk was on an as yet unpublished study that looked at the effects of aspartame, stevia and sucrose (plain old sugar) on food intake, satiety and post meal blood glucose and insulin levels. Basically folks were given standardized breakfasts and before their lunch and dinner meals they were given a blind "preload" of tea and crackers sweetened with aspartame, stevia or sucrose. Participants then reported on their hunger and satiety levels before and after each meal as well as 30 minutes and every hour after lunch throughout the afternoon. They also gave multiple afternoon based blood samples.

The results?

Both stevia and aspartame use reduced food intake over the entire day compared with sugar, and hunger and satiety levels did not differ.


Zero-calorie sweeteners did not affect hunger and when used to replace calories from sugar led to a reduction in total daily caloric intake.