Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroimage. 2008 Feb 15;39(4):1559-69. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Sucrose activates human taste pathways differently from artificial sweetener.

Author information

University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Department of Psychiatry, The Children's Hospital, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


Animal models suggest that sucrose activates taste afferents differently than non-caloric sweeteners. Little information exists how artificial sweeteners engage central taste pathways in the human brain. We assessed sucrose and sucralose taste pleasantness across a concentration gradient in 12 healthy control women and applied 10% sucrose and matched sucralose during functional magnet resonance imaging. The results indicate that (1) both sucrose and sucralose activate functionally connected primary taste pathways; (2) taste pleasantness predicts left insula response; (3) sucrose elicits a stronger brain response in the anterior insula, frontal operculum, striatum and anterior cingulate, compared to sucralose; (4) only sucrose, but not sucralose, stimulation engages dopaminergic midbrain areas in relation to the behavioral pleasantness response. Thus, brain response distinguishes the caloric from the non-caloric sweetener, although the conscious mind could not. This could have important implications on how effective artificial sweeteners are in their ability to substitute sugar intake.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center