How Sugar Substitutes Prevent Weight Loss
A number of studies have shown that artificial sweeteners promote weight gain. Now, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have found an explanation for why the sugar substitute aspartame actually has the opposite of its intended effect—to aid in weight loss.
In this new study, published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers found a possible mechanism for the process and effects. As aspartame breaks down in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, it produces a chemical called phenylalanine, which interferes with a digestive enzyme that helps prevent obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
The digestive enzyme is called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP). By blocking the beneficial effects of IAP, aspartame is counterproductive for weight loss. There is also some evidence that artificial sweeteners like aspartame can increase hunger and boost calorie intake.
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