Ask the RD

by Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD on Oct 26, 2010

Food for Thought

Do low-calorie sweeteners cause weight gain?

Unfortunately, mixed messages and consumer confusion persist regarding low-calorie sweeteners. Today’s hottest topic relevant to these sweeteners ties their use to weight gain. Finding that saccharin-fed rats went on to eat more and gain weight, researchers from Purdue University speculated that because calories were anticipated but did not accompany the sweet taste, the body was left confused. Yet, the mounds of research and a 2008 research review by the ADA confirm that there is good evidence that sugar substitutes, like aspartame, do not affect appetite or food intake in humans. We know that when it comes to weight management, calories count. Using low-calorie sweeteners as sugar substitutes and replacing high-calorie products with lower-calorie versions can increase adherence to a reduced-calorie diet and be an important strategy for weight loss and long-term maintenance. They offer people more choices for making dietary changes. You should feel confident using them to help manage weight.

Fitness Journal, Volume 7, Issue 11

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About the Author

Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD

Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD IDEA Author/Presenter

You can pose your own question to our contributing editor Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD, a registered dietitian and worksite wellness consultant with Presbyterian Health Plan. Please send your questions, along with your name and city/state/country, to editor Sandy Webster at