Oral stimulation with aspartame increases hunger

Physiol Behav. 1990 Mar;47(3):555-9. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(90)90126-o.


We evaluated whether "sweetness" increases hunger. Groups of 10 male and 10 female subjects chewed a gum base containing one of four concentrations of aspartame (0.05%, 0.3%, 0.5%, or 1.0%) for 15 min. Relative to groups given nothing or unsweetened gum base to chew, groups given the sweetened gum bases increased hunger ratings, but not in a manner monotonically related to aspartame concentration. The most effective aspartame concentration to increase hunger was 0.3% for females and 0.5% for males. The highest aspartame concentrations had a time-dependent, biphasic effect on appetite, producing a transient decrease followed by a sustained increase in hunger ratings. Thus, the concentration of the sweetener, the sex of the subject and the time after chewing, were all important determinants of whether "sweetness" increased hunger.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / drug effects*
  • Aspartame / pharmacology*
  • Chewing Gum
  • Dipeptides / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hunger / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mastication
  • Sex Factors
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Chewing Gum
  • Dipeptides
  • Aspartame