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Curr Biol. 2017 Aug 21;27(16):2476-2485.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.07.018. Epub 2017 Aug 10.

Integration of Sweet Taste and Metabolism Determines Carbohydrate Reward.

Author information

1
The John B. Pierce Laboratory, 290 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06519, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, 300 George Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.
2
The John B. Pierce Laboratory, 290 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.
3
The John B. Pierce Laboratory, 290 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06519, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, 300 George Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QH, UK.
4
Department of General Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Calwerstrasse 14, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
5
The John B. Pierce Laboratory, 290 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06519, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, 300 George Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA. Electronic address: dana.small@yale.edu.

Abstract

Post-ingestive signals related to nutrient metabolism are thought to be the primary drivers of reinforcement potency of energy sources. Here, in a series of neuroimaging and indirect calorimetry human studies, we examine the relative roles of caloric load and perceived sweetness in driving metabolic, perceptual, and brain responses to sugared beverages. Whereas caloric load was manipulated using the tasteless carbohydrate maltodextrin, sweetness levels were manipulated using the non-nutritive sweetener sucralose. By formulating beverages that contain different amounts of maltodextrin+sucralose, we demonstrate a non-linear association between caloric load, metabolic response, and reinforcement potency, which is driven in part by the extent to which sweetness is proportional to caloric load. In particular, we show that (1) lower-calorie beverages can produce greater metabolic response and condition greater brain response and liking than higher-calorie beverages and (2) when sweetness is proportional to caloric load, greater metabolic responses are observed. These results demonstrate a non-linear association between caloric load and reward and describe an unanticipated role for sweet taste in regulating carbohydrate metabolism, revealing a novel mechanism by which sugar-sweetened beverages influence physiological responses to carbohydrate ingestion.

KEYWORDS:

dopamine; energy expenditure; fMRI; gustation; gut-brain axis; metabolism; nucleus accumbens; obesity; sugar

PMID:
28803868
PMCID:
PMC5745144
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2017.07.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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