It would seem quite obvious that even partially substituting a no-calorie sweetener for sugar would help reduce caloric intake and thus contribute to weight loss. (One ounce-approximately 2 teaspoons-of sugar contains 50 calories. The average daily sugar intake for persons in the United States is 13 ounces, or 650 calories.) Such is the case with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
Researchers at the Center for the Study of Nutrition Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, studied the influence of aspartame on obesity (Blackburn, 1997). In one study, 163 women were randomly divided into two groups. Each group was assigned to either consume or abstain from aspartame-sweetened foods and beverages for sixteen weeks. Both groups were also actively involved in a weight-control program using a variety of modalities. At the end of the study, both the group on aspartame and the group without the synthetic sweetener lost an average of 10 kilograms (22 pounds). During the maintenance phase that lasted for the next two years, the women assigned to the aspartame group gained back an average of 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) while those who were not on aspartame gained back 9.4 kilograms (20 pounds)- practically all of the weight they had previously lost. The researchers concluded, "These data suggest that participation in a multidisciplinary weight-control program that includes aspartame may facilitate the long-term maintenance of reduced body weight."
Unfortunately, no formal studies have been done to evaluate stevia substitution in relation to weight loss. However, as stevia has virtually no calories, we would suspect the results to be similar to those in the aspartame study.
Are you the type of person who uses a lot of sugar? Do you use it to sweeten beverages? Do you sprinkle it on cereal? Do you consume it in baked goods and other sweet treats? If so, there's a good possibility that even partially substituting these refined sugar calories with calorie-free stevia can make a difference in your weight.
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