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Physiol Behav. 2016 Oct 1;164(Pt B):504-508. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.04.004. Epub 2016 Apr 9.

Recent studies of the effects of sugars on brain systems involved in energy balance and reward: Relevance to low calorie sweeteners.

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Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10025, United States.


The alarmingly high rates of overweight and obesity pose a serious global health threat. Numerous factors can result in weight gain, one of which is excess consumption of caloric sweeteners. In an effort to aid weight loss efforts, many people have switched from caloric sweeteners to low calorie sweeteners, which provide sweet taste without the accompanying calories. In this review, we present an overview of the animal literature produced in the last 5years highlighting the effects of sugar consumption on neural pathways involved in energy balance regulation and reward processing. We also examine the latest evidence that is beginning to elucidate the effects of low calorie sweeteners on these neural pathways, as well as how homeostatic and hedonic systems interact in response to, or to influence, sugar consumption.


Dopamine; Glucose; Low calorie sweeteners; Rats; Reward; Sucrose

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