Effects of aspartame and sucrose on hunger and energy intake in humans

Physiol Behav. 1990 Jun;47(6):1037-44. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(90)90350-d.


Physiological and behavioral responses to high intensity sweeteners have been poorly characterized, leading to questions regarding their utility in weight management regimens. To address this issue, studies must independently control attributes such as the taste properties, chemical composition and energy contribution of a given sweetener, as well as subject expectations of its effects. In the present study, 24 adults of normal weight consumed breakfasts including unsweetened or sweetened (sucrose or aspartame) cereal for 5 days, during which hunger and energy intake were monitored. The cereals were rated as equally sweet and pleasant and were equicaloric. Half of the subjects were aware of the cereal composition. Neither sweet taste nor aspartame alone significantly affected reported hunger, daily energy intake or subsequent selection of foods with varying taste qualities. Energy intake tended to be more strongly influenced by perceptions of the energy value of the experimental breakfast. Thus, this study failed to find an appetite stimulating effect of either sweetness or sweetener (aspartame or sucrose).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspartame / administration & dosage*
  • Dipeptides / administration & dosage*
  • Eating / drug effects*
  • Energy Intake / drug effects*
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hunger / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Taste / drug effects


  • Dipeptides
  • Sucrose
  • Aspartame