Could a Switch to Low Calorie Sweeteners Help Hispanics Lose Weight?
Posted by Caitlin Norton
In the U.S., Hispanics are facing a growing problem with weight and obesity. This is a topic that hits home for me because I’m Hispanic. For many people, replacing added sugars in beverages and foods with low calorie sweeteners is the first step in the fight to lose weight. In her recent blog post, registered dietitian Sylvia Meléndez-Klinger, MS, RD, LDN, asks the question, “Can low calorie sweeteners help Hispanics lose weight?”
She cites the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which published a research paper in March 2015, that looked at socio-economic trends among low calorie sweetener (LCS) use in the United States. The research team, led by Dr. Adam Drewnowski of the University of Washington analyzed data from more than 22,000 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2008. Low calorie sweeteners included sucralose, stevia, aspartame and saccharin, among others.
The results were a bit on the shocking side. According to Meléndez-Klinger:
“The data for the Hispanic population was especially disconcerting, given reports from the Center for Disease Control that 42.5% of Hispanic adults are obese, increasing their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other health problems. As of 2014, nearly 13% of Hispanic adults had been diagnosed with diabetes. The calorie cutting benefits from low calorie sweeteners could help Hispanics lose weight and reduce their risk for serious health problems.”
She offers further insight into why Hispanics haven’t incorporated sugar substitutes into their diet and concludes that, “By replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with low calorie sweetened drinks, people could save hundreds of calories per day – the first step on the road to a healthy weight.”