Sweet taste of saccharin induces weight gain without increasing caloric intake, not related to insulin-resistance in Wistar rats

Appetite. 2016 Jan 1;96:604-610. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.11.003. Epub 2015 Nov 7.


In a previous study, we showed that saccharin can induce weight gain when compared with sucrose in Wistar rats despite similar total caloric intake. We now question whether it could be due to the sweet taste of saccharin per se. We also aimed to address if this weight gain is associated with insulin-resistance and to increases in gut peptides such as leptin and PYY in the fasting state. In a 14 week experiment, 16 male Wistar rats received either saccharin-sweetened yogurt or non-sweetened yogurt daily in addition to chow and water ad lib. We measured daily food intake and weight gain weekly. At the end of the experiment, we evaluated fasting leptin, glucose, insulin, PYY and determined insulin resistance through HOMA-IR. Cumulative weight gain and food intake were evaluated through linear mixed models. Results showed that saccharin induced greater weight gain when compared with non-sweetened control (p = 0.027) despite a similar total caloric intake. There were no differences in HOMA-IR, fasting leptin or PYY levels between groups. We conclude that saccharin sweet taste can induce mild weight gain in Wistar rats without increasing total caloric intake. This weight gain was not related with insulin-resistance nor changes in fasting leptin or PYY in Wistar rats.

Keywords: Appetite; Caloric intake; Non-nutritive sweeteners; Saccharin; Weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Drinking Water
  • Energy Intake*
  • Fasting
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2 / genetics
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2 / metabolism
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Peptide YY / blood
  • Rats
  • Saccharin / administration & dosage
  • Saccharin / adverse effects*
  • Taste*
  • Weight Gain*
  • Yogurt


  • Blood Glucose
  • Drinking Water
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Slc2a2 protein, rat
  • Peptide YY
  • Saccharin