Obesity is a major cause of treatable illness and represents a major cost to society.
Some of these medications have potential side effects and can be costly.
George L. Blackburn, M.D. and colleagues monitored the effects of aspartame-sweetened foods and beverages as part of a weight-control program involving one hundred sixty-three obese women. Their results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1997;65:409-18), showed that a dietary program designed with aspartame and combined with exercise yielded significantly better results than without this sweetener. Accordingly, women who consumed aspartame-sweetened foods lost significantly more weight overall and regained significantly less weight during maintenance and follow-up than did those women who were assigned to abstain from aspartame for the study.
Further, the women using the aspartame-diet program encountered no significant adverse health effects during the 3-year study.
These results suggest that aspartame can be incorporated into the weight-control diet with effectiveness as well as safety.
The authors of the study point out that the participants in this study were "highly motivated, well-educated, middle-to- upper class, white women." Therefore, results of the study may not be apply to all patient groups.
This study does present a safe and cost-effective alternative to medications in the long-term management of obesity.
For more about weight control, please visit the Obesity and Weight Loss Center.