Friday, July 13, 2018

Non-nutritive Sweeteners And Satiety

The Study
The GI system is believed to contain sweet taste receptors that have an important impact on satiety and hunger. In this interesting study, 12 healthy young men and women had each of the following preloads injected directly into their stomach on separate occasions: 1) 50 grams of glucose 2) 25 grams of fructose 3) 220 mg acesulfame-K, which is a non-nutritive sweetener. Visual analogue scales were used to rate subjective feelings of hunger and satiety. Compared to glucose and fructose, the non-nutritive sweetener initially caused a significantly stronger decrease in hunger and increase in satiety. However, this was followed by a significantly steeper return of hunger. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018; 107:707.

Take Home Message
When I first started studying nutrition, the prevailing wisdom was that weight loss was all about calories in versus calories out. We now know that there is so much more to the story. A huge number of factors influence when and what we eat. Receptors in the GI system are now thought to play a big part. This is a fascinating study.  It utilizes my favorite study design, the crossover trial. In this type of study, each subject receives all interventions on separate occasions and acts as their own control. This really reduces the odds of residual confounding impacting the results. 

In this study, the artificial sweetener caused a significantly greater return to hunger when compared to the calorie containing sugars.  A diet soda or sugar-free dessert is a nice treat for those giving up sugar. However, it is a good idea to limit consumption of artificial sweeteners to just a few times per week. Daily use of non-nutritive sweeteners can have a dramatic effect on hunger and cravings for refined carbs. A few servings per week are not a problem, but daily consumption can really slow weight loss.

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