No difference in ad libitum energy intake in healthy men and women consuming beverages sweetened with fructose, glucose, or high-fructose corn syrup: a randomized trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Dec;102(6):1373-80. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.116368. Epub 2015 Nov 4.


Background: Increased energy intake is consistently observed in individuals consuming sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), likely mainly because of an inadequate satiety response to liquid calories. However, SSBs have a high content of fructose, the consumption of which acutely fails to trigger responses in key signals involved in energy homeostasis. It is unclear whether the fructose content of SSBs contributes to the increased energy intake in individuals drinking SSBs.

Objective: We investigated whether the relative amounts of fructose and glucose in SSBs modifies ad libitum energy intake over 8 d in healthy adults without fructose malabsorption.

Design: We conducted 2 randomized, controlled, double-blind crossover studies to compare the effects of consuming 4 servings/d of a fructose-, glucose-, or aspartame-sweetened beverage (study A; n = 9) or a fructose-, glucose-, or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)-sweetened beverage (study B; n = 24) for 8 d on overall energy intake. SSBs were provided at 25% of estimated energy requirement, or an equivalent volume of the aspartame-sweetened beverage, and consumption was mandatory. All solid foods were provided at 125% of estimated energy requirements and were consumed ad libitum.

Results: In study A, ad libitum energy intake was 120% ± 10%, 117% ± 12%, and 102% ± 15% of estimated energy requirements when subjects consumed the fructose-, glucose-, and aspartame-sweetened beverages. Energy intake was significantly higher in the fructose and glucose phases than in the aspartame phase (P < 0.003 for each), with no difference between the fructose and glucose phases (P = 0.462). In study B, total energy intake during the fructose, HFCS, and glucose phases was 116% ± 14%, 116% ± 16%, and 116% ± 16% of the subject's estimated total energy requirements (P = 0.880).

Conclusions: In healthy adults, total 8-d ad libitum energy intake was increased in individuals consuming SSBs compared with aspartame-sweetened beverages. The energy overconsumption observed in individuals consuming SSBs occurred independently of the relative amounts of fructose and glucose in the beverages. These trials were registered at as NCT00475475 and NCT01424306.

Keywords: HFCS; energy intake; fructose; humans; obesity; overweight; sugar-sweetened beverages.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Fructose / adverse effects*
  • Glucose / adverse effects*
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners / adverse effects
  • Nutritive Sweeteners / adverse effects*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / etiology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk
  • Satiety Response*
  • Washington / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
  • Nutritive Sweeteners
  • Fructose
  • Glucose

Associated data