Sweet taste: effect on cephalic phase insulin release in men

Physiol Behav. 1995 Jun;57(6):1089-95. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(94)00373-d.


To determine whether sweet-tasting solutions are effective elicitors of cephalic phase insulin release (CPIR) in humans, two studies were conducted using nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners as stimuli. Normal weight men sipped and spit four different solutions: water, aspartame, saccharin, and sucrose. A fifth condition involved a modified sham-feed with apple pie. The five stimuli were administered in counterbalanced order, each on a separate day. In study 1, subjects tasted the stimuli for 1 min (n = 15) and in study 2 (n = 16), they tasted the stimuli for 3 min. Arterialized venous blood was drawn to establish a baseline and then at 1 min poststimulus, followed by every 2 min for 15 min and then every 5 min for 15 min. In both study 1 and study 2, no significant increases in plasma insulin were observed after subjects tasted the sweetened solutions. In contrast, significant increases in plasma insulin occurred after the modified sham-feed with both the 1 min and 3 min exposure. These results suggest that nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners in solution are not adequate stimuli for the elicitation of CPIR.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aspartame / pharmacology
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Saccharin / pharmacology
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Taste / drug effects
  • Taste / physiology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sucrose
  • Saccharin
  • Aspartame