What The Research Says About Caloric vs. Low-Calorie Sweeteners | Barry Popkin, PhD

EPISODE 79 | Dr. Barry Popkin developed the concept of the Nutrition Transition, the study of the dynamic shifts in our environment and the way they affect dietary intake, physical activity, obesity, and other nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases. His research program focuses on understanding the global shifts in stages of the transition and programs and policies to improve the population health linked with this transition. Dr. Popkin has played a central role in placing the concerns of obesity, its determinants, and its consequences on the global stage. He has mentored over 66 PhD’s and large numbers of junior faculty and postdocs, and he has published over 600 refereed journal articles. PLOS rated him as one of the top cited scholars in the world among 7 million scholars in 2017—and he was rated number 203 out of 6.8 million scientists in the world! In the episode, Dr. Popkin shares whether it’s better to drink diet or regular soda, common misconceptions about sugar, simple shifts to make if you want to lose weight (or maintain your current weight)…and more! Enjoy!!

EPISODE WEBPAGE: thehealthinvestment.com/79

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  • What’s your story? (Specifically, what led you to become a professor of nutrition?)
  • Let’s talk about sugar! Has the global diet gotten sweeter? If so, do we know at what rate?
  • What are caloric sweeteners and how do they differ from low-calorie sweeteners?
  • How many packaged foods and drinks in the US contain caloric and low-calorie sweeteners? How does this compare to the rest of the world?
  • Since low-calorie sweeteners taste so much sweeter than caloric sweeteners, can they actually make us crave sugar more?
  • Stevia is a popular sweetener right now! What are your thoughts on it?
  • Is drinking diet soda harmless?
  • I know you like to bust the myth that fruit juice is a healthy option. Can you speak more on this?
  • So, what should we be drinking?
  • Can consuming foods and beverages with added caloric sweeteners lead to increased risk of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes and stroke? Where’s the research on this?
  • In your book The World Is Fat, you discuss global trends that have led to today’s obesity crisis and suggest that it’s not so much due to poor dietary choices and is more about technology, government policy, and the food industry. I’d love to break this down…
    • First of all, how is technology to blame?
    • Government policy?
    • The food industry?
  • What new research are you working on? What questions do you still have?




Image of sweetened beverages and soda below title - What The Research Says About Caloric vs. Low-Calorie Sweeteners with Barry Popkin, PhD