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Researchers Say Sugar Substitute In Diet Sodas Won't Make You Fat

Eddie Welker / Flickr

Eddie Welker / Flickr

Aspartame — a sugar substitute contained in some diet sodas — won't make you fat. That's the consensus among researchers in a newly published position paper.

Dr. Kimber Stanhope with UC Davis' Department of Molecular Biosciences, one of the paper's authors, says the research may come as a surprise to most people.

"If you go on the internet, there is site, after site, after site convincing the lay public, 'Don't consume aspartame — it makes you gain weight.' And there is no scientific evidence," Stanhope said.

She says the confusion may come from the fact that the risk of getting a disease or becoming obese leads to people drinking non-caloric sweeteners, or aspartame.

The position paper — by Stanhope and 19 other nutrition researchers — affirms that non-diet soda, or sugar-sweetened beverages, do increase your risk of having diabetes or heart disease. Stanhope says they're obviously not the first group of experts to suggest that, "But what makes this just as important —we keep needing to have experts that say this because we keep getting conflicting opinions and conflicting research."

And those opinions and research have been used in legal battles, including a 9th Circuit court decision blocking the city of San Francisco from carrying out a soda warning label law.

The position paper was published this week in the medical journal Obesity Reviews.

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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