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Do Calorie-Free Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain?
Do Calorie-Free Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain?
Artificial Sweetener Alert: HG's Take on This Breaking News!

Phones have been ringing and email boxes overflowing with gazillions of inquiries about the recent study that suggests artificial sweeteners could lead to weight gain. Oversimplifying the issue, the study (which was conducted on just 27 rats and only tested one kind of sweetener) found that rats who consumed saccharin-sweetened yogurt gained more weight than rats that ate glucose-sweetened yogurt. Researchers admit the saccharin itself didn't actually cause the weight gain -- it just messed with the rats' brains and somehow stimulated their appetites so they ate more. To deduce that artificial sweeteners cause weight gain from this limited research is a stretch on so many levels. Here are some things to think about...

a. This study was conducted on a few dozen rats, not hundreds of humans.

b. The only artificial sweetener that was used in the study is saccharin, which is one of the least used types today.

c. We have never heard anyone say that consuming artificially sweetened products made them eat more -- or even made them feel hungrier. Nor have these sweeteners had those effects on us.

d. If you did experience cravings for massive amounts of food after chugging diet soda, wouldn't you limit your intake of the stuff? Humans can pay attention to body cues -- rats can't.

e. Artificial sweeteners contain WAY FEWER CALORIES than sugar. So whatever you do, don't think for one second that consuming a high-calorie soda instead of a no-calorie one is a better idea for weight control.

For more on this, click here and here. And relax -- there's really nothing to worry about.
Spotted on Shelves...

Tumaro's Soy-Full Heart Flatbreads - These new soy-enhanced, protein-packed tortillas come in three varieties -- Apple 'N Cinnamon, 8 Grain 'N Soy, and Wheat, Soy & Flax. Each one has 90 - 100 calories, 3g fat, and 4g fiber (POINTS® value 1*). They're REALLY good (especially the Apple Cinnamon ones).

Trader Joe's 100 Calorie Chocolate Bars - TJ's recently rolled out these skinny chocolate treats, which come in both Milk and Dark Chocolate. The Milk Chocolate ones each have 6g fat and no fiber (POINTS® value 3*), while the Dark ones have 8g fat and 1g fiber apiece (POINTS® value 2*). If chocolate bars are your weakness, these individually wrapped, portion-controlled bars could be your new BFFs.

Curves Microwavable Popcorn - Take your pick from the 90-calorie mini bags in Butter (the 5-cup serving of popped corn has 2.5g fat, 3g fiber, and a POINTS® value of 1*) and the 94% fat-free full-size ones in Simply Butter (each 6-cup serving of popcorn has 120 calories, 2g fat, 4g fiber, and a POINTS® value of 2*). FYI, the full-size bags have around 2 servings each. YUM!
Stuff You Didn't Know You Needed...

PoachPods Silicone Egg Poachers - There's no need to fear poaching eggs. Now it's easy. Simply crack an egg into your cute PoachPod and float it in a covered pot of boiling water for a few minutes. Flip the pod inside out, and you'll have a gorgeous poached egg (perfect for our famous Eggs Bene-chick)! Almost as exciting is the fact that is offering free shipping on all PoachPod orders thru this Friday (2/22/08) with special offer code HGDelight.

Hamburger Phone - Few things in life are as satisfying as talking to a loved one on a hamburger phone. Try it and see. Burger phones are super-hot right now because one was featured in the movie Juno, but we've had ours at the HG HQ for quite a while. (Yeah, we're cool like that.)

FoodTees - Our friend Charles Platkin, aka "The Diet Detective", aka the author of The Diet Detective's Calorie Bargain Bible, aka a really nice guy, has a line of very cute food tee shirts. The shirts say clever stuff and feature healthy foods. Our favorite is the "Stalker" T-shirt featuring... celery (get it?!). And shipping is FREE on all US orders! Click here to buy (FYI, they run very, very small).
The Buzz...

Free yogurt! Free yogurt! Are you a mom with kids and looking for a healthy treat that said children will actually eat? Check out Yoplait Kids. Yoplait's stuff (yogurts, smoothies, etc.) tastes better than other yogurts. If you need proof, click here and get a coupon for free Yoplait Kids yogurt (while supplies last). ***Want to burn more calories? Build more muscle! New research suggests that building muscle by doing weight lifting and strength training could give you a peppier metabolism. So you're probably better off not just focusing on cardio -- do a little lifting, too (just don't overdo it!). *** February is Grapefruit Month. Show your love for these chubby citrus spheres by entering the "How Sweet Is Your Love" contest. Send in your g-fruit recipes, and you could win a thousand bucks in cash and a trip to Florida... plus a tour of a local grapefruit grove! Woohoo! ***Good news for sodium-counters! Sales of salt-free, low-sodium, and reduced-sodium packaged foods are thru the ROOF -- so look for plenty more options to hit shelves in the coming months (and years!). That's all we've got. HG out!
Free Yogurt... Hooray!
Free Yogurt... Hooray!

Do you DREAM of a job with Hungry Girl? We're looking to add a few valuable Los Angeles-based people to our small yet mighty staff. Click here for the full details.
Today, February 18th, is National Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day. How obscure and delicious!
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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.

SmartPoints® value not what you expected? Click here for more info on how the values are calculated, plus more FAQs about PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values on our website.