Low calorie sweetener may not increase satiety, suggests study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Obesity, Nutrition

Oral ingestion of artificial sweeteners such as sucralose may not increase levels of satiety inducing hormones that are released when sugars are ingested, according to new research.

The study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ​suggests that oral ingestion of common dietary doses of sucralose does not increase plasma levels of the satiety inducing gut hormones glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY), nor does it affect subjective feelings of appetite or energy intake at later meals.

“The ability of noncalorific sweeteners to enhance endogenous gut hormone release would represent a potentially exciting opportunity for their addition to foods as agents to control glucose homeostasis and appetite regulation in populations at risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity,”​ said the authors, led by senior researcher Professor Stephen Bloom, from Imperial College London.

“Our findings, using a dietary dose of sucralose, do not support the proposal that stimulation of the sweet-taste receptor in the GI tract can stimulate release of GLP-1 and PYY,” ​they added.

Sweet satiety

Prof. Bloom said that one of the major proposed causes for the increasing incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes is an increased consumption of processed foods containing high levels of sugars.

In order to offset this, the food industry has begun to replace sugars with artificial sweeteners – many of which are non-calorific. The authors said that in addition to reducing the prevalence of obesity and diabetes due to reduced sugar levels, it has been suggested that sweeteners may enhance satiety by triggering sweetness receptors in the gut.

They said that previous research has suggested that the gut hormones peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 are released from intestinal cells after a meal (post-prandially) in proportion to the amount of energy ingested.

Once released PYY and GLP-1 are known to be satiety factors. The mechanisms by which energy rich nutrients stimulate the release of GLP-1 and PYY from intestinal cells remain poorly understood, however it is believed that an intestinal sweet taste receptor may play a key role.

The new study investigated whether oral ingestion of sucralose, at a dose that would be consumed in a normal diet, increases circulating GLP-1 or PYY concentrations in vivo​.

Study details

The study was conducted in eight healthy subjects. Each subject consumed 50 ml of either water, sucralose, maltodextrin for sweetness with sucralose or a modified sham-feeding protocol of sucralose.

Appetite ratings and plasma GLP-1, PYY, insulin and glucose were measured at regular time points for two hours. After 2 hours energy intake at a buffet meal was measured.

The authors reported that appetite ratings and energy intake at second meal were similar for all groups tested.

Sucralose ingestion was not found to increase plasma GLP-1 or PYY, whilst the sham feeding of sucralose did not elicit a response. The researchers did, however report that maltodextrin ingestion significantly increased insulin and glucose compared with water ingestion.

“Oral stimulation with sucralose had no effect on GLP-1, insulin or appetite,”​ said the authors. They concluded that as the doses used, oral ingestion of sucralose does not increase plasma GLP-1 or PYY concentrations and hence, will not reduce appetite in healthy subjects.

Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.291
“Effects of oral ingestion of sucralose on gut hormone response and appetite in healthy normal-weight subjects”
Authors: H.E. Ford, V. Peters, N.M. Martin, M.L. Sleeth, M.A. Ghatei, G.S. Frost, S.R. Bloom

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