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Poor design

There are several inadequacies in the experimental design:-
1) the rats receiving sweeteners derived only 12.6% of their energy from artificially-sweetened yogurt, the rest from a fully-balanced lab chow. The rats receiving sugar derived 24% of their energy from yogurt containing 20% sugar. The "sugar" rats thus received a nutritionally inferior diet compared to the others.
2) There was no "all chow/no sugar" control group.
3) Only 10 rats per group.
4) Unrealistic levels of sweetener used: aspartame was 650% more than would be used in practice, saccharin was 2600% higher than would be allowed in the EU.

This is indeed a difficult area experimentally, and the conclusion is more complex than your story suggests.

Posted by John Fry
29 November 2012 | 15h40

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