December 22, 2016
3 min read

No difference in glucose, insulin responses with artificial, natural non-nutritive sweeteners

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In healthy, lean men, consumption of beverages containing either artificial or natural non-nutritive sweeteners has only a minimal influence on total daily energy intake, glucose and insulin responses vs. consumption of a sucrose-sweetened beverage, according to results from a randomized crossover study.

Siew Ling Tey, of the Clinical Nutrition Research Center at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, and colleagues analyzed data from 30 healthy men (mean age, 28 years; mean BMI, 21.7 kg/m²) randomly assigned to consume one of four beverages midmorning after a standardized breakfast: drinks sweetened with aspartame, monk fruit, stevia or sucrose (minimum 5-day washout period between interventions). To mask any taste differences or visual cues, all beverages contained strawberry flavoring and pink food coloring. An ad libitum lunch of fried rice was provided 1 hour after the test beverage was consumed. Researchers measured blood glucose and insulin concentrations every 15 minutes in the first hour of preload consumption and every 30 minutes for the 2 hours after beverage consumption. All participants completed a food diary for the remainder of the day.

Researchers found that when participants consumed the non-nutritive sweetened beverages, lunch intake was higher vs. after consuming beverages sweetened with sucrose (P = .01). However, subsequent meal intake after participants left the study site did not differ across treatments. Mean energy compensation scores were 107% for aspartame, 98% for monk fruit and 73% for Stevia.

“The energy ‘saved’ from replacing sucrose with [non-nutritive sweeteners] was fully compensated for at subsequent meals, hence no difference in total daily energy intake was found between the treatments (P = .831),” the researchers wrote.

The sucrose-sweetened beverage led to large spikes in blood glucose and insulin responses within the first hour, according to researchers; however, glucose and insulin levels were relatively stable after consumption of the non-nutritive sweetened beverages. Glucose and insulin responses were higher for all three non-nutritive sweetened beverages after the test lunch. There were no differences in total area under the curve for glucose and insulin over 3 hours between the four test beverages.

“The findings showed a surprising result, where there was no difference in total daily energy intake across all four treatments, with full compensation of the energy obtained from sucrose,” the researchers wrote. “In addition, glucose and insulin responses were significantly higher for all three [non-nutritive sweetened] preloads following the test lunch compared to [the] sucrose period.” – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.