What exactly is aspartame?
Aspartame is probably the most common artificial sweetener in use today. You know it under its brand names such as NutraSweet and Equal. Companies use this substitute in foods and beverages because it is about 200x sweeter than regular sugar, so much less is needed to give the same level of sweetness. This inevitably lowers the calories in the food or beverage, which has been thought to help individuals with obesity who are trying to lose weight and wean themselves off of sugar. (American Cancer Society) However, a team of researchers has found a possible explanation for why the use of sugar substitutes might not actually promote weight loss at all.
Aspartame and weight loss
The Joslin Diabetes Center released information from a recent study showing that weight loss and the cardiovascular benefits associated continue for at least five years into the future. This intense life-style intervention program, specifically designed for obese patients with diabetes, is referred to as the Why WAIT (Weight Achievement and Intensive Management) program.
The study led by Dr. Osama Hamdy followed 129 Why WAIT participants with an average body-mass index (BMI) of 38. After the initial 12 week intervention, participants showed an average loss of body weight of 9.7% (about 24 pounds) and maintained an average loss of 6.4% (about 16 pounds at five years). Dr. Hamdy explains, “This weight loss was very impressive, since we know from previous research that if this population can maintain a 7% weight loss, they show a marked improvement in insulin sensitivity and many other cardiovascular risk factors.”
Despite efforts, childhood obesity in the United States continues to increase at an alarming rate. In fact, researchers from Duke Clinical Research Institute reported that we just saw the biggest increase in severe obesity over the last 30 years.
Associate professor and lead author, Asheley Skinner, Ph.D. explains, “Despite some other recent reports, we found no indication of a decline in obesity prevalence in the United States in any group of children aged 2 through 19…” While obesity research is typically ongoing, Skinner most recently analyzed data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, which is a large compilation of health information.
Despite years of extensive research, there is still much we do not understand about obesity. As a follow up to our blog post “Obesity Gene May Hold the Key to Eradicating Obesity,” we’ve been following the research of scientists in Germany that say they’ve discovered a genetic ‘switch’ that could essentially turn obesity on or off.
The new study is founded on epigenetics research, the way the genes in our body change based on chemical and environmental factors. According to this line of thought, we are born with a set of genes that can be turned off or on, dialed up or down through processes inside the body. This usually explains why identical twins don’t always look identical.
You’ve heard it before, “Late dinners are bad for your health,” but do you actually know why? Recent research has strengthened the link between blood sugar and your internal clock, helping to explain why late dinners are potentially detrimental to your overall health.
A few definitions to consider first:
"Now, researchers say that eating a Mediterranean diet supplemented with four tablespoons per day of extra-virgin olive reduces the risk of breast cancer."
By now, you’ve certainly heard of the Mediterranean diet – a pattern of eating that mostly emphasizes fish, nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables and olive oil. Over the last few years, the evidence of its [the Mediterranean diet] benefits has been piling up. In 2013, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the diet can help protect against heart disease and a study published earlier this year revealed that the diet can help fight against memory loss.
Breast cancer is in fact the leading cause of female cancer burden and its incidence has increased by more than 20% worldwide since 2008. In a limited yet promising study, researchers at the University of Navarra in Spain have found a strong reduction in the risk of breast cancer as a result of adhering to the Mediterranean diet.
For the first time, a direct link between a gene and fat production has been discovered. The results of recent research could reduce obesity altogether. The research was published in Nature Communications and brings an end to a four-year study and provides the perfect catalyst for further research.
Did you know it is now estimated more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese? Well, new genetic-based findings could help develop drug therapies that diminish the obesity percentage. While scientists already know that there are many reasons why two people with the same diets and exercise regimens can gain different amounts of weight and why fat becomes stored in different parts of their bodies there had been no significant evidence of genes playing a role in this. Recently, an international collaboration of scientists helped researchers hone in on genetic reasons for the crippling epidemic of obesity.
Recently published, the National Institutes of Health, led by the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, organized a working group of experts to discuss the problem of weight regain after weight loss.
Experts included integrative physiologists and behavioral psychologists, all with the goal of merging their perspectives regarding the barriers to scientific progress and the development of novel ways to improve long-term outcomes in obesity therapeutics. The ultimate goals of this panel were to:
Medical Metabolic Specialists, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, is dedicated to using the latest scientific techniques to create a comprehensive, individualized. lifelong weight management program to improve your overall health.