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PLoS One. 2017 May 5;12(5):e0177138. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177138. eCollection 2017.

Long term rebaudioside A treatment does not alter circadian activity rhythms, adiposity, or insulin action in male mice.

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1
Department of Health and Exercise Sciences and Department of Biology, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, United States of America.

Abstract

Obesity is a major public health problem that is highly associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, two conditions associated with circadian disruption. To date, dieting is one of the only interventions that result in substantial weight loss, but restricting caloric intake is difficult to maintain long-term. The use of artificial sweeteners, particularly in individuals that consume sugar sweetened beverages (energy drinks, soda), can reduce caloric intake and possibly facilitate weight loss. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of the artificial sweetener, rebaudioside A (Reb-A), on circadian rhythms, in vivo insulin action, and the susceptibility to diet-induced obesity. Six month old male C57BL/6 mice were assigned to a control or Reb-A (0.1% Reb-A supplemented drinking water) group for six months. Circadian wheel running rhythms, body weight, caloric intake, insulin action, and susceptibility to diet-induced obesity were assessed. Time of peak physical activity under a 12:12 light-dark (LD) cycle, mean activity levels, and circadian period in constant dark were not significantly different in mice that consumed Reb-A supplemented water compared to normal drinking water, indicating that circadian rhythms and biological clock function were unaltered. Although wheel running significantly reduced body weight in both Reb-A and control mice (P = 0.0001), consuming Reb-A supplemented water did not alter the changes in body weight following wheel running (P = 0.916). In vivo insulin action, as assessed by glucose, insulin, and pyruvate tolerance tests, was not different between mice that consumed Reb-A treated water compared to normal drinking water. Finally, Reb-A does not appear to change the susceptibility to diet-induced obesity as both groups of mice gained similar amounts of body weight when placed on a high fat diet. Our results indicate that consuming Reb-A supplemented water does not promote circadian disruption, insulin resistance, or obesity.

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