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Aspartame increases carbohydrate cravings?

I am a big diet soda drinker because I figured out that it is better than drinking the real sugar-loaded sodas that are available on the supermarkets. However, I heard from my US-based friend who was here for the holidays that aspartame can actually increase carbohydrate cravings. How true is this?

Nonnutritive sweeteners like aspartame contain no source of energy or calories. Therefore, these have been increasingly used to replace nutritive sweeteners like sugar in many “diet” beverages. A position statement issued by the American Dietetic Association in 2004 declared that “nonnutritive sweeteners do not have a paradoxical effect to increase appetite and food intake”. This was based on a review of previous studies done on sweeteners and appetite control.

One research in particular, published in the British Food journal, studied people who drank sugar-sweetened drinks habitually. For seven days, they blindly received either a sugar-sweetened drink or an aspartame-sweetened alternative. Then, their food intake and mood were measured. At the end of the study, the subjects were unable to tell which drink they had received. Taking aspartame sweetened drinks did not increase sugar or carbohydrate consumption nor adversely affect mood.

So, drink up. Just stay within the “Acceptable Daily Intake” (ADI) for aspartame or the estimated amount a person can safely consume on average every day over a lifetime without risk.TheADI for aspartame is 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day. This would translate to 3,000 milligrams for a 60-kilogram person or about 22 cans of diet soda a day (However, beware of the caffeine and sodium content in diet sodas as too much of these may be harmful for you.).

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