Nonnutritive sweeteners have been used to lower the energy density of foods with the intention of affecting weight loss or weight maintenance. However, some epidemiological and animal evidence indicates an association between weight gain or insulin resistance and artificial sweetener consumption. In the present study, we hypothesized that the nonnutritive sweetener sucralose, a trichlorinated sucrose molecule, would elicit responses similar to water but different from sucrose and sucrose combined with sucralose on subjective and hormonal indications of hunger and short-term glucose homeostasis. Eight female volunteers (body mass index, 22.16 ± 1.71 kg/m(2); age, 21.75 ± 2.25 years) consumed sucrose and/or sucralose in water in a factorial design. Blood samples were taken at fasting and 30 and 60 minutes after treatment followed by a standardized breakfast across treatments, and blood samples were taken 30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes after breakfast. Plasma was analyzed for glucose, insulin, glucagon, triacylglycerols (TAG), and acylated ghrelin. Perceptions of hunger and other subjective measurements were assessed before each blood sample. No differences were detected in subjective responses, circulating triacylglycerol, or glucagon concentrations among treatments over time. Significant differences were observed in insulin, glucose, and acylated ghrelin concentrations over time only between sucrose-containing treatments and non-sucrose-containing treatments regardless of sucralose consumption. Therefore, sucralose may be a relatively inert nonnutritive sweetener with regard to hunger signaling and short-term glucose homeostasis.
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