Addressing Questions about Aspartame and Stevia Sweeteners
Facts Health Professionals Need to Know
For decades, the nonnutritive sweetener aspartame has been safely consumed by millions of people worldwide. And yet aspartame’s safety and effects on body weight, appetite and food intake continue to be questioned. On the other hand, new sweeteners made from the stevia plant are noted for being “natural” and stevia itself is used as a dietary supplement in some countries.
What are the similarities and differences between aspartame and sweeteners from stevia? Is one safer or preferable to the other? Consumers often turn to health professionals with questions like these.
In this program, noted toxicologist Bernadene Magnuson, PhD, and obesity expert Marianella Herrera, MD, MSc, as they review the science behind these two sweeteners and provide practical guidance for their appropriate use in a healthful diet.
This program is approved for 1.5 CPE credit hours by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
Provide facts about aspartame and food-grade sweeteners from stevia, including safety assessments, consumption levels, metabolism and common uses.
Discuss the body of research on the impact of aspartame—the most common and most studied low-calorie sweetener—on appetite and food intake.
Explain the safety standards that differentiate stevia sold in dietary supplements from steviol glycosides, the food-grade sweeteners extracted from stevia.
Advise consumers on the appropriate use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners to reach goals for weight management.
Communicate science-based information about the potential roles of low- and no-calorie sweeteners in a healthful diet.
Bernadene Magnuson, PhD, Fellow, ATS
Dr. Bernadene Magnuson is a toxicology consultant in the areas of food, dietary supplements and nutrition who helps clients address ingredient safety and regulatory issues. Her clients include industry, government and various associations. Recently, her work has included safety assessments of nanomaterials for various applications. She also is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.
Dr. Magnuson has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and professional articles, is on the editorial board of two journals, and is an active member of various professional associations. She was recently honored to become a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences (ATS).
Dr. Magnuson obtained a BSc degree in food science, MSc degree in toxicology, and a PhD in Food and Nutritional Sciences from universities in Canada. She then completed post-doctoral training in cancer research, and was a faculty member at the Universities of Idaho and Maryland in the US before returning to Canada.
Marianella Herrera, MD, MSc
Dr. Marianella Herrera is a physician and nutritionist based in Caracas, Venezuela. While working as a physician more than 20 years ago, she became involved in nutrition education and consulting after recognizing the strong link between many health concerns and nutrition.
Dr. Herrera is president of the Venezuelan Scientific Society of Obesity and Assistant Professor at CENDES-UCV (Center for Development Studies at Central University of Venezuela) where she is also a researcher in Nutrition and Food Public Policies. She has conducted research on Venezuelan nutrition and obesity, including the first national research study on obesity. She also assesses educational campaigns and participates in communications efforts to help raise awareness of obesity among Venezuelans.
Dr. Herrera is the Media Representative for the American Overseas Dietetic Association (AODA). She attended medical school at Central University of Venezuela (Universidad Central de Venezuela) in Caracas. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and is a PhD candidate in Nutrition from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas. She recently was a co- recipient of the 2010 diabetes research award from Fundación Seguros Caracas (Liberty Mutual Venezuela) for the project, “Identifying Risk Factors for Preventing Future Diabetes in Venezuelan School Children.”
Julie Meyer, RD
Registered dietitian Julie Meyer is a Brooklyn, New York-based global nutrition and health communications consultant and author. She is the founder and CEO of Eat Well Global, Inc., a nutritionist-led travel media company offering the inside scoop on eating well at home and around the globe.
Julie is the author of Eat Well Shanghai: Your Guide to Eating Well at Home and On the Go, and has written about nutrition for publications such as Shanghai Family magazine, Women’s Health, Fitness, Self, Shape and Eating Well. She has also worked as a nutrition communications consultant for several major food companies and public relations agencies.
Julie’s commitment to global nutrition includes serving as fund-raising chair of the American Overseas Dietetic Association (AODA).