Does eating good-tasting food influence body weight? To investigate, we first established some concentrations of sucralose and mineral oil in chow that mice strongly preferred. Then, in Experiment 1, we compared groups of 16 mice fed plain chow (i.e., chow with no additives) to groups fed chow with added (a) sucralose, (b) mineral oil, (c) sucralose and mineral oil, or (d) sucralose on odd days and mineral oil on even days. During a 6-week test, the body weights and body compositions of the five groups never differed. In Experiment 2, we compared groups of 18 mice fed plain chow or plain high-fat diet to groups fed these diets with added sucralose. During a 9-week test, the high-fat diet caused weight gain, but the body weights of mice fed the sucralose-sweetened diets did not differ from those fed the corresponding plain versions. Two-cup choice tests conducted at the end of each experiment showed persisting strong preferences for the diets with added sucralose and/or mineral oil. In concert with earlier work, our results challenge the hypothesis that the orosensory properties of a food influence body weight gain. A good taste can stimulate food intake acutely, and guide selection toward nutrient-dense foods that cause weight gain, but it does not determine how much is eaten chronically.
Keywords: Food choice; Mineral oil; Nonnutritive sweeteners; Obesity; Taste.
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