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Obesity is a major problem in the United States and many other developed countries. Marketers have used this as an opportunity to encourage consumers to take their products arguing that they can help to manage weight. The use of low-calorie sweeteners as a way of managing weight has become a controversial issue. Many researches have been conducted to find out the effect of low-calorie sweeteners on weight management.
This research paper has evaluated peer reviewed articles that have been published by various researchers. It analyzes both sides of the argument to find out the findings of various researchers. Evaluating the articles, it has been found that they give conflicting reports. Some researchers argue that people gain weight by consuming low-calorie sweeteners while others argue that these sweeteners are effective in weight management.
This literature review has described some of the reasons that would have led to deviations. Some of the reasons could be bias, use of wrong specimen, and possibility that certain behaviors can only happen when human beings are under control. This means that it is difficult to confidently state the effect of low-calorie sweeteners on the weight of individuals. What is clear, however, is that these additives are dangerous as they are associated with problems such as cancer and diabetes.
The research paper concludes that the report in all these journal articles cannot be relied on, and there is a need to conduct appropriate research to find out the effect of using low-calorie sweeteners. Considering that obesity is a problem leading to such diseases as cardiovascular diseases and cancer, marketers should not be allowed to continue confusing consumers. A research should be carried out to come up with a conclusion that is to benefit consumers and the public in general. This is because management of weight can help reduce expenditure on medical care by the government.
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Low-calorie sweeteners and weight management
Overweight has become a major challenge to many people all over the world. The number of people, who are obese, has been increasing from time to time. Research shows that more than half of American population is obese. This condition has is associated with problems such as high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes, certain types of cancer, low self esteem and other cardiovascular diseases. These problems have made people to be very careful about what they eat. Obesity can be reduced through exercise and eating food that contains fewer calories. People fail to recognize the importance of exercise and instead concentrate too much in controlling what they eat. Since people want to ensure that they reduce the calories they take, many researchers have tried to evaluate the effect of low calorie sweeteners on their weight. There are conflicting results in that some researchers have argued that use of low calorie sweeteners help in weight management while others have argued that their use leads to increased weight of individuals.
Researchers have indicated that low calorie sweeteners play the role of adding taste to food and beverages they are used in. Most of these sweeteners have no calories. Those that have calories are used in low quantities such that they have no effect on the weight of individuals. The use of low calorie sweeteners can help reduce and manage weight of individuals. Considering that they have low or no calories, people can replace them with the food that they eat that is rich in calories. This dietary change will result to reduced intake of calories leading to managed weight (US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 1).
Research has also shown that encouraging people in a weight management program to take drinks and food that has low calorie sweeteners encourages them to continue participating in the programs. Even though they stop eating foods rich in calories, they have a substitute for that which has low calories and this does not demoralize them. Engaging in the program helps to maage the weight of individuals. On the other hand, those who completely stop using foods rich in calories and have no substitute for this are demoralized and may not continue engaging in the programs in their future. Even though they lose their weight during the initial stages, there are high chances that these people will start using the foods rich in calories in their future. As a result, it will be difficult for such people to manage their weight (Calorie Control Council, 1).
Researchers who have concluded that low calorie sweeteners can help manage weight argue that low calorie sweeteners do not add appetite to individuals. They support the idea that the sweeteners help people to like the new diet that they wish to adopt in the process of managing their weight. This is because the sweeteners add taste to the low calorie food. By encouraging these people to use low calorie foods, people reduce calorie intake in their bodies leading to reduced weight (Calorie Control Council, 1).
Other researchers have however come with different conclusions about low calorie sweeteners. It is argued that low calorie sweeteners have the effect of increasing the weight of individuals. There are several reasons that can be attached to this argument. Research indicates that low calorie sweeteners lead to increased appetite. When the body of an individual tastes a sweet thing, there are temptations to eat more of it. Low calorie sweeteners make food that people eat sweet. As a result, people tend to eat large quantities of the food. Increasing intake of diet leads to increase in body weight. This is why conclusions are made that low calorie sweeteners lead to obese individuals (International Sweeteners association. 2).
These low calorie sweeteners are more dangerous as compared to other sugars. When people eat foods that are rich in sugars, there is communication that the body has received enough sugar even though the sugar has been taken in small quantities. However, low calorie sweeteners make individuals assume that the calories they have taken are not enough for a normal body functioning. As a result, people take large quantities of a diet leading to increase in calorie consumption. Consequently, people gain weight (US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 2).
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Low calorie sweeteners facilitate the production of insulin and leptin that are responsible for regulation of metabolism. The production of these two hormones in large quantities makes the body to become resistance to them. As a result, individuals have a high sensitivity to sweet things and it becomes difficult to instruct the body to burn the available fats. Resistance to insulin means that the body cannot be instructed to stop eating. Resistance to insulin and leptin means that individuals will never be satisfied with eating (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 3).
Due to this, it means that excess fats will be accumulated in the body considering that they will not be burnt. Since the body becomes more sensitive to sweet things, it continues to demand them even in large quantities. One does not become satisfied with the food he/she eat. People therefore tend to overeat. All these habits are dangerous in that they result to increased body weight. Even though overweight is not caused directly by the low calorie sweeteners, these sweeteners indirectly lead to increased weight of individuals (International Sweeteners association., 3).
Low calorie sweeteners are sweet like any other sugars such as glucose. When in the digestive system, these sweeteners stimulate sweetness receptors in the intestines. This stimulation leads to increased absorption of the food that has been taken. This means that more calories are absorbed in the body with intake of low calorie sweeteners. This intake is what leads to increased body weight.
When these sweeteners are used in foods that are rich in calories, they encourage huge absorption of both the sweeteners and the food substance eaten. Without the sweeteners, less of the food taken could have been abssorbed. This means that use of sweeteners lead to weight gain since more of the sweetener and the food being eaten is absorbed into the blood.
For the children, drinks that have low calorie sweeteners are favorite drinks to them. This is why children drink a lot of carbonated drinks such as sodas. Some of these products are rich in calories. When these children take many of these drinks, the results are accumulation of fats and carbohydrates in the body leading to obesity (Food and Drug Administration, 4).
It is true that low calorie sweeteners have the ability of making an individual to adapt to a new diet. However, people result to eating very poor diets with the use of these sweeteners. For example, taking too much soda does not add any value to the body. Instead, it reduces body immunity that leads to other diseases. The diets that people adapt to cannot be compared to items such as fruits and vegetables. Once people realize that the food that they are taking is even more dangerous, they stop using the sweeteners and continue with the food they were eating before. Research has shown that these people end up eating even more of this type of food. This leads to overweight among such people (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 5).
Many of the studies made have resulted to conflicting results. Up to now, there are no clear reports on the relationship between low calorie sweeteners and weight loss. What is evident is that these sweeteners are dangerous to the health of individuals. They are associated with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and obesity. These diseases have no specific cure and are fatal. In this regard, many people are not willing to use them as an aid in weight management.
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Many researchers have used animals in their experimentation. In some cases, the body of animals such as rats does not function like that of a human being. Considering that many of the research articles are based on research experiments where animals have been used as specimen, it is possible that some of the claims by these researchers are wrong and do not apply to human beings (Food and Drug Administration, 2).
Some research articles are however based on experiments done using human beings. This is a good idea in that conclusions made can be applicable to human beings. However, the researchers fail to recognize that human beings may behave in a certain way due to their control during the experimentation period. In the real world, human beings may not behave in the same way hence similar results may not be obtained when there is no control (Health Canada, 1).
The experiments carried out only uses certain types of low calorie sweeteners. However, there are many of these sweeteners in the market. It is obvious that these different sweeteners have different compositions. When used by human beings, it is possible that these sweeteners are likely to lead to different results. The researchers however ignore that there are a variety of the so called low calorie sweeteners. They make conclusions about all low calorie sweeteners even though the there is one type of sweetener used during the experimentation process.
The issue of obesity is a major concern not only in United States. Marketers have always given consumers wrong information about low calorie sweeteners as a way of encouraging them to buy the products. They however ignore the side effects of these products. The arguments of many of these marketers are that these low calorie sweeteners can help in weight management. This could be due to the fact that these marketers are aware that weight management is a major problem to many consumers. Researchers who support certain companies on the other hand carry out research that tends to favor certain arguments (Health Canada, 2). This has led to a situation whereby there is no clear explanation of the relationship between low calorie sweeteners and weight gain. There is therefore the need to carry out a thorough independent research on the relationship between use of low calorie sweeteners and weight gain.
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