Brissette then last turned to Marion Nestle, an American author and professor emeritus of nutrition, food studies and public health at NYU.
Nestle: "What we know about artificial sweeteners is for sure that they are not necessary. On a population basis, they do not seem to help people lose weight, but they may help some individuals. So, both approaches are valid. Personally, I follow a food rule not to eat anything artificial, so these sweeteners are off my dietary radar."
When asked what she thought was the reasoning behind the differing approaches to sugar substitutes taken by the U.S. and Canadian governments, she responded, "One can only speculate that the lobbying for artificial sweeteners worked better in the U.S. than in Canada."
Last month, the American Diabetes Association released a Nutrition Consensus Report that recommends that water replace sugar-sweetened beverages. If sugar substitutes are used, the report says, people should receive nutrition counseling to help them avoid replacing the calories and carbohydrates with food, that any proposed advantages to sugar substitutes haven't been proven, and that there could be potential adverse effects, such as impacts on hunger, confusion around calorie intake and the possibility that use of sugar substitutes could be replacing healthier options.
Christy Brissette: Follow her on Twitter @80twentyrule.
Comments harvested from one of Brissette's recent articles in the Washington Post:
Gizzymine 7 hours ago
Once again, flawed interpretation of scientific data. Correlation doesn't indicate causation. People who are eating/drinking artificial sugars are generally doing so because they have a condition that limiting sugar intake would help with, such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity. These people would be expected to have a greater chance of dying early, regardless of artificial sweetener intake. There is no evidence that the artificial sweeteners on the market today cause any health problems.
And while some people might feel that drinking a diet soda gives them a reason to eat more of other food, I think most people know this isn't a good idea. But any sugar they don't consume is a good thing. If artificial sweeteners help people adjust to and accept a different eating style it's a good thing.
Psilociber 6 hours ago
wrong. There is a lot of evidence that links artificial sweeteners to several health issues, physical and mental. Sugar is good for NOBODY but in the long run is not as dangerous as sugar substitutes. Diabetics and obese people (and people in general) should retrain their palate and abstain from sugar. And everyone should stay away from sugar substitutes. If you dispute this, I can give more detailed information. At the very least, sugar is recognized by the body. Artificial sweeteners, even ones claiming to be natural, are not, and are treated by the body as a toxin.
Hyman Roth 16 hours ago
Why the difference in advice? Because the Canadian government's priority is to look out for the welfare of its citizens, while the priority of the US government is to advance the interests of whatever Corporate entity donates the most money to the prostitutes in Congress.
Maggie the Cat 17 hours ago
Say it isn't so. I'd better start stockpiling Splenda.
1 Tough Lady 19 hours ago