The Effects of Artificial Sweeteners on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance in Adults
Luetkemeyer, India Rae
University of Kansas
Dietetics & Nutrition
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The effects that artificial sweeteners may have on weight have been studied for the past 30 years with conflicting results. Rat studies and prospective cohorts have shown that artificial sweetener consumption may lead to weight gain. On the other hand, randomized controlled trials have suggested the opposite. Because of the conflicting results surrounding this topic, the purpose of the study was to see if artificial sweetener consumption could affect total weight loss and maintenance in adults on a weight loss program. The study also aimed to examine whether or not the type of artificial sweetener consumed had an effect on the amount of total weight loss. To do this, a secondary analysis of previously collected data from a randomized, clinical trial (Phone versus Clinic; PVC) was done. Participants were grouped by amount of weight lost from baseline to 18 months (10%). Total artificial sweetener consumed (in mg) and type of artificial sweetener consumed were compared between the groups using ANOVA and mixed modeling. In a separate analysis, participants were grouped into tertiles based on amount of weight maintained from 6 months to 18 months, and total artificial sweetener consumed (in mg) was compared between the groups. No significant group (p = 0.686), time (p=0.141), or group*time interaction (p=0.267) regarding total artificial sweetener intake and weight loss over the 18 month study period was observed. When comparing total artificial sweetener intake with weight maintenance, no significant group (p=0.801), time (p=0.148), or group*time (p=0.600) interactions were seen. Therefore, artificial sweetener intake does not appear to affect weight loss or weight maintenance in our population of overweight and obese adults. These findings are encouraging for those attempting to lose weight. Many people consume artificial sweeteners during weight loss, and the results of this study show that sweeteners do not prevent weight loss as previously found. Finally, the study is the first to examine the effects of artificial sweeteners in a group that wasn’t specifically told to consume or replace foods and beverages with sweeteners. Therefore, it is more generalizable.
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