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Appetite. 2016 Oct 1;105:114-28. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.05.011. Epub 2016 May 14.

Sweetening yoghurt with glucose, but not with saccharin, promotes weight gain and increased fat pad mass in rats.

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University of Sydney, Australia. Electronic address:
University of Sydney, Australia.


The claim that non-nutritive sweeteners accelerate body weight gain by disrupting sweet-calorie associations was tested in two experiments using rats. The experiments were modelled on a key study from a series of experiments reporting greater body weight gain in rats fed yoghurt sweetened with saccharin than with glucose (Swithers & Davidson, 2008). Both of the current experiments likewise compared groups fed saccharin- or glucose-sweetened yoghurt in addition to chow and water, while Experiment 1 included a third group (Control) given unsweetened yoghurt. In Experiment 1, but not in Experiment 2, rats were initially exposed to both saccharin- and glucose-sweetened yoghurts to assess their relative palatability. We also tested whether the provision of an energy-dense sweet biscuit would augment any effects of saccharin on food intake and weight gain, as seemingly predicted by Swithers and Davidson (2008). In Experiment 1 there were no differences in body weight gain or fat pad mass between the Saccharin and Control group, whereas the Glucose group was the heaviest by the final 5 weeks and at cull had the largest fat pads. Greater acceptance of saccharin predicted more weight gain over the whole experiment. Consistent with past reports, fasting blood glucose and insulin measures did not differ between the Saccharin and Control groups, but suggested some impairment of insulin sensitivity in the Glucose group. Experiment 2 found similar effects of glucose on fat mass, but not on body weight gain. In summary, adding saccharin had no detectable effects on body-weight regulation, whereas the effects of glucose on fat pad mass were consistent with previous studies reporting more harmful effects of sugars compared to non-nutritive sweeteners.


Fat pads; Glucose; Rats; Saccharin; Sweeteners; Weight gain; Yoghurt

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