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(NC) As the outdoor temperature drops, that number on the bathroom scale often begins to rise. This year, however, don't fall victim to the dreaded winter weight gain. With the help of Lisa Rutledge, a registered dietitian, let's examine the role of aspartame, a popular choice to help cut calories and keep those pounds off.

It helps to manage calorie intake

Aspartame is a helpful ingredient for weight management. The zero-calorie ingredient can safely reduce or replace calories in foods and beverages, while maintaining the taste for those who enjoy a little sweetness. For those with diabetes, it allows for greater flexibility in budgeting total carbohydrate intake, and provides a sweet option that won't affect blood sugar levels.

It is a safe ingredient

Leading authorities, like Health Canada, agree that aspartame and other low- and no-calorie sweeteners are safe. Last year, the European Food Safety Authority performed the most comprehensive analysis of studies on aspartame to date and reaffirmed that it is safe for consumption.

It is popular

The ingredient is found in more than 6,000 products around the world, including soft drinks, chewing gum, yogurt and frozen treats. Aspartame is consumed by more than 200 million people around the world.

Additional weight management tips can be found at

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