The Effect of Artificial Sweeteners Use on Sweet Taste Perception and Weight Loss Efficacy: A Review

Nutrients. 2022 Mar 16;14(6):1261. doi: 10.3390/nu14061261.


Excessive consumption of sugar-rich foods is currently one of the most important factors that has led to the development of the global pandemic of obesity. On the other hand, there is evidence that obesity contributes to reduced sensitivity to sweet taste and hormonal changes affecting appetite, leading to an increased craving for sweets. A high intake of sugars increases the caloric value of the diet and, consequently, leads to weight gain. Moreover, attention is drawn to the concept of the addictive properties of sugar and sugary foods. A potential method to reduce the energy value of diet while maintaining the sweet taste is using non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS). NNS are commonly used as table sugar substitutes. This wide group of chemical compounds features high sweetness almost without calories due to its high sweetening strength. NNS include aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate, neohesperidin dihydrochalcone (neohesperidin DC), neotame, taumatin, and advantame. The available evidence suggests that replacing sugar with NNS may support weight control. However, the effect of NNS on the regulation of appetite and sweet taste perception is not clear. Therefore, the review aimed to summarize the current knowledge about the use of NNS as a potential strategy for weight loss and their impact on sweet taste perception. Most studies have demonstrated that consumption of NNS-sweetened foods does not increase sweetness preference orenergy intake. Nonetheless, further research is required to determine the long-term effects of NNS on weight management.

Keywords: body weight; non-nutritive sweeteners; obesity; sweet taste.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners* / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents* / chemistry
  • Sweetening Agents* / pharmacology
  • Taste
  • Taste Perception
  • Weight Loss


  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
  • Sweetening Agents