A detailed analysis of sucrose drinking in the rat

Physiol Behav. 1984 Jul;33(1):127-36. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(84)90023-4.


The present report represents an initial attempt to examine and quantify the eating and drinking patterns of rats presented with water, laboratory chow, and sucrose solution for 23 hours. The concentration of the sucrose solution was systematically increased (0.10 M, 0.25 M, 0.5 M, 1.0 M) with a single concentration being presented to rats in four-day blocks. As has been previously shown, total intake (ml) of sucrose solution increased with concentration to a peak at 0.25 M and then decreased with further rises in concentration. Calories consumed from sucrose monotonically increased with concentration, reaching a maximum at 0.50 M. As calories consumed from sucrose increased with rising concentration, chow intake monotonically decreased. This compensatory decrease in chow intake was primarily attributable to decreases in nighttime chow consumption when the concentration of sucrose available was less than or equal to 0.25 M; when the concentration was greater than 0.25 M, further reductions in chow intake occurred during the day. Moreover, the decrease in chow intake was due solely to a reduction in the number of chow bouts. As the concentration of sucrose increased, the day-to-night ratio of sucrose intake approached unity. Bout volume increased with concentration to a broad peak spanning 0.25-0.5 M, and then decreased with 1.0 M. Bout duration changed with sucrose concentration such that the bout drinking rate (ml/min) was seen to monotonically increase, reaching a stable maximum at 0.5 M. Since the caloric intake per sucrose bout progressively increased with each rise in concentration, the asymptotic portion of the curve describing calories consumed from sucrose was attributable to alterations in sucrose bout number and not sucrose bout size.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Drinking Behavior
  • Drinking*
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake
  • Male
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage*


  • Sucrose