Aspartame Consumption for 12 Weeks Does Not Affect Glycemia, Appetite, or Body Weight of Healthy, Lean Adults in a Randomized Controlled Trial

Kelly A. Higgins, Robert V. Considine, Richard D. Mattes. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 148, Issue 4, April 2018, Pages 650–657, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy021

Abstract

Background

Low-calorie sweeteners are often used to moderate energy intake and postprandial glycemia, but some evidence indicates that they may exacerbate these aims.

Objective

The trial’s primary aim was to assess the effect of daily aspartame ingestion for 12 wk on glycemia. Effects on appetite and body weight were secondary aims.

Methods

One hundred lean [body mass index (kg/m2): 18–25] adults aged 18–60 y were randomly assigned to consume 0, 350, or 1050 mg aspartame/d (ASP groups) in a beverage for 12 wk in a parallel-arm design. At baseline, body weight and composition were determined, a 240-min oral-glucose-tolerance test (OGTT) was administered, and measurements were made of appetite and selected hormones. Participants also collected a 24-h urine sample. During the intervention, the 0-mg/d ASP group consumed capsules containing 680 mg dextrose and 80 mg para-amino benzoic acid. For the 350-mg/d ASP group, the beverage contained 350 mg aspartame and the 1050-mg/d ASP group consumed the same beverage plus capsules containing 680 mg dextrose and 700 mg aspartame. Body weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and waist circumference were measured weekly. At weeks 4, 8, and 12, participants collected 24-h urine samples and kept appetite logs. Baseline measurements were repeated at week 12.

Results

With the exception of the baseline OGTT glucose concentration at 60 min (and resulting area under the curve value), there were no group differences for glucose, insulin, resting leptin, glucagon-like peptide 1, or gastric inhibitory peptide at baseline or week 12. There also were no effects of aspartame ingestion on appetite, body weight, or body composition. Compliance with the beverage intervention was ∼95%.

Conclusions

Aspartame ingested at 2 doses for 12 wk had no effect on glycemia, appetite, or body weight among healthy, lean adults. These data do not support the view that aspartame is problematic for the management of glycemia, appetite, or body weight. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02999321.

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