Calories Do Count -- Doing the Math Supports the Benefits of Sugar Substitutes

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The message and the math are clear. With the holidays upon us, extra calories can quickly add up. The USDA and the American Dietetic Association confirm, when it comes to achieving a healthy weight all calories count.

A recent press release by the Sugar Association presented inaccurate information on low-calorie sweeteners and weight loss. It is disappointing that the Sugar Association feels it needs to defend sugar by maligning other sweeteners.

The Sugar Association states that sugar has "just 15 calories per teaspoon." To put this in perspective, according to the USDA's Food Consumption (Per Capita) Data System, at 16 calories per teaspoon, each day Americans consume 13 teaspoons or 208 calories of sugar. Expanding on the math, an extra 208 calories over the course of a year would equal an additional 22 pounds of weight. Based on USDA consumption data, using the Sugar Association's "15 calories per teaspoon," sugar still provides a significant number of daily calories.

Compare the additional 208 daily calories provided by sugar to the calorie savings from the use of low-calorie sweeteners and foods and beverages made with low-calorie sweeteners. Drinking one diet soda or no-calorie flavored water will save up to 150 calories per day, and simply switching from regular yogurt to yogurt with no added sugar will save 100 calories per day. These simple substitutions would produce a 10-15 pound weight loss in a year, as long as additional calories are not added to offset this deficit. Clearly, low-calorie sweeteners and foods and beverages made with low-calorie sweeteners can help in weight loss and contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) supports these findings in their 2004 position paper, Use of Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweeteners. According to the ADA, low-calorie sweeteners "have the potential to save the consumer up to 16 calories per teaspoon sweetening. Replacing intake of added sugars with [low-calorie] sweeteners could result in a deficit of 380 calories per day or 1 pound of weight loss in 9 to 10 days."

The ADA further supports low-calorie sweeteners, citing benefits that include weight-management, control of blood glucose, and prevention of dental caries. Low calorie sweeteners are tools that can be used to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and as the ADA points out, low-calorie sweeteners "offer consumers a way to enjoy the taste of sweetness with little or no energy [intake] and/or glycemic response."

Low-calorie sweeteners are also tools that can be easily incorporated in an overall healthy eating program. They provide great taste, while aiding in weight loss and weight management. Even the Sugar Association conceded to the ADA's finding that low-calorie sweeteners added to the diet contribute to weight loss.

The message and the math are clear. Calories do count and with the holidays upon us, the extra calories can quickly add up. The USDA and the ADA confirm, when it comes to achieving a healthy weight all calories count. For tips on saving calories this Holiday Season and more "simple substitutions" please visit http://www.caloriecontrol.org.

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MEAGAN STANGLE
Calorie Control Council
706-255-9228
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