General and persistent effects of high-intensity sweeteners on body weight gain and caloric compensation in rats

Behav Neurosci. 2009 Aug;123(4):772-80. doi: 10.1037/a0016139.


In an earlier work (S. E. Swithers & T. L. Davidson, 2008), rats provided with a fixed amount of a yogurt diet mixed with saccharin gained more weight and showed impaired caloric compensation relative to rats given the same amount of yogurt mixed with glucose. The present 4 experiments examined the generality of these findings and demonstrated that increased body weight gain was also demonstrated when animals consumed a yogurt diet sweetened with an alternative high-intensity sweetener (acesulfame potassium; AceK) as well as in animals given a saccharin-sweetened base diet (refried beans) that was calorically similar but nutritionally distinct from low-fat yogurt. These studies also extended earlier findings by showing that body weight differences persist after saccharin-sweetened diets are discontinued and following a shift to a diet sweetened with glucose. In addition, rats first exposed to a diet sweetened with glucose still gain additional weight when subsequently exposed to a saccharin-sweetened diet. The results of these experiments add support to the hypothesis that exposure to weak or nonpredictive relationships between sweet tastes and caloric consequences may lead to positive energy balance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Fabaceae
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Saccharin / administration & dosage
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Thiazines / administration & dosage
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Gain*
  • Yogurt


  • Sweetening Agents
  • Thiazines
  • Saccharin
  • Glucose
  • acetosulfame