Tuesday, 6 December 2011

News Brief: Danger of sugar substitutes

Many people wanting to diet without giving up sweet foods switch to sugar substitutes, but this can still lead to increased weight, the China Times reports today (Chinese-language article here)

New research from the US suggests eating foods containing sugar substitutes can cause people to consume more calories, causing their weight to go up. The John Tung Foundation reminded consumers that many products on sale marked “low sugar” (低糖) or “low calorie”(低熱量) could, if they have a sweet flavour, contain sugar substitutes, and people should not assume that they could eat as much as they wanted without repercussion.

Director of the foundation's nutrition group,Hsu Hui-yu, said there are many kinds of sugar substitutes, used in many drinks, chewing gum, candies and biscuits etc. According to research done on mice at Purdue University in the US, weight gain by mice eating sugar substitutes was greatest, possibly due to interference in biological appetite regulation mechanisms, causing them to eat even more.

(In fact this is not entirely new news, Purdue University research was reported earlier this year (English-language news here) and even earlier research has made Time Magazine in 2008 (here).

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