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The not-so-sweet findings on non-nutritive sweeteners

Using aspartame or stevia instead of sugar will help you lose weight, right? Well, the answer isn't quite so simple. A scientific statement released today by the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association shows that there's inconclusive evidence that non-nutritive sweeteners will help people lose excess weight.

Stanford nutrition expert Christopher Gardner, PhD, who chaired the writing committee for the group that prepared the scientific statement, says the problem is that many people who use the sweeteners end up compensating for those calories later in the day. In short, as a reward for using stevia in their coffee, they reward themselves with a cookie.

In this just-published Q&A, Gardner talks about why non-nutritive sweeteners aren't more effective in the effort to cut sugar intake. His advice? Stick to eating "real" food and cut down on the sodas and snack food. "There's no aspartame in broccoli," he notes.

Photo by Steve Snodgrass

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