Original Article

International Journal of Obesity (2009) 33, 1183–1190; doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.147; published online 28 July 2009

Use of artificial sweeteners and fat-modified foods in weight loss maintainers and always-normal weight individuals

S Phelan1, W Lang2, D Jordan3 and R R Wing4

  1. 1Kinesiology Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA
  2. 2Department of Public Health Services, Wakeforest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA
  3. 3Center for Health Services Research and Policy, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  4. 4Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown Medical School/The Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI, USA

Correspondence: Dr S Phelan, Kinesiology Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0386, USA. E-mail: sphelan@calpoly.edu

Received 18 March 2009; Revised 10 June 2009; Accepted 18 June 2009; Published online 28 July 2009.





The purpose of this study was to compare the dietary strategies, and use of fat- and sugar-modified foods and beverages in a weight loss maintainer group (WLM) and an always-normal weight group (NW).



WLM (N=172) had maintained greater than or equal to10% weight loss for 11.5 years, and had a body mass index (BMI) of 22.0kgm−2. NW (N=131) had a BMI of 21.3kgm−2 and no history of being overweight. Three, 24-h recalls on random, non-consecutive days were used to assess dietary intake.



WLM reported consuming a diet that was lower in fat (28.7 vs 32.6%, P<0.0001) and used more fat-modification strategies than NW. WLM also consumed a significantly greater percentage of modified dairy (60 vs 49%; P=0.002) and modified dressings and sauces (55 vs 44%; P=0.006) than NW. WLM reported consuming three times more daily servings of artificially sweetened soft drinks (0.91 vs 0.37; P=0.003), significantly fewer daily servings of sugar-sweetened soft drinks (0.07 vs 0.16; P=0.03) and more daily servings of water (4.72 vs 3.48; P=0.002) than NW.



These findings suggest that WLM use more dietary strategies to accomplish their weight loss maintenance, including greater restriction on fat intake, use of fat- and sugar-modified foods, reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increased consumption of artificially sweetened beverages. Ways to promote the use of fat-modified foods and artificial sweeteners merits further research in both prevention- and treatment-controlled trials.


fat-modified foods, artificial sweeteners, successful weight loss, sugar-sweetened beverages



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