Effect of low-glycemic-sugar-sweetened beverages on glucose metabolism and macronutrient oxidation in healthy men

Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Jun;40(6):990-7. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2016.25. Epub 2016 Feb 12.


Background/objectives: Sugar-sweetened-beverages (SSB) provide high amounts of rapidly absorbable sugar and have been shown to impair insulin sensitivity and promote weight gain. We hypothesized that when compared with high-glycemic index (GI) SSB low-GI SSB lead to lower insulin secretion and thus an improved preservation of insulin sensitivity and fat oxidation during an inactive phase.

Subjects/methods: In a controlled cross-over dietary intervention 13 healthy men (age: 23.7±2.2 years, body mass index: 23.6±1.9 kg m(-)(2)) consumed low-GI (isomaltulose) or high-GI (75% maltodextrin+25% sucrose, adapted for sweetness) SSBs providing 20% of energy requirement for 7 days. During this phase, participant's habitual high physical activity (11 375±3124 steps per day) was reduced (2363±900 steps per day). The provided ad libitum diet comprised 55% CHO, 30% fat and 15% protein. Glycemic and insulinemic responses were assessed: Day-long (7-day continuous interstitial glucose monitoring, 24-h-urinary c-peptide excretion), during meal test (37 g isomaltulose vs 28 g maltodextrin+9g sucrose) and measures of insulin sensitivity (basal: homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), postprandial: Matsuda-ISI). Macronutrient oxidation was assessed by non-protein respiratory quotient (npRQ) in the fasted state (npRQfasting) and postprandial as the area under the npRQ-curve during meal test (npRQtAUC-meal).

Results: Day-long glycemia was lower with low-GI compared with high-GI SSB (-5%, P<0.05). Low-GI SSB led to lower insulin secretion during meal test (-28%, P<0.01) and throughout the day (-31%, P<0.01), whereas postprandial glucose levels did not differ between low-GI and high-GI SSBs. Insulin sensitivity deteriorated on inactivity with both SSBs, but was better preserved with low-GI isomaltulose compared with high-GI maltodextrin-sucrose (ΔHOMA-IR: +0.37±0.52 vs +0.85±0.86; ΔMatsuda-ISI: -5.1±5.5 vs -9.6±5.1, both P<0.05). Both, fasting and postprandial fat oxidation declined on inactivity, with no difference between high-GI and low-GI SSBs.

Conclusions: Compared with high-GI SSB, 7-day consumption of beverages sweetened with low-GI isomaltulose had beneficial effects on inactivity-induced impairment of glucose metabolism without effecting fuel selection.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Exercise
  • Germany
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Postprandial Period
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Sweetening Agents