Sucralose is a low calorie sweetener, which when interacting with L cells of the intestine, brings on the release of a hormone called Glucagon-like Peptide 1 (GLP-1), which helps to reduce blood sugar. This study was undertaken to see if there is a similar effect when sucralose is given by mouth to humans. Additionally, levels of insulin and appetite were also measured. Results showed that giving sucralose does not increase release of GLP-1 or insulin and does not decrease appetite.
It is known that the intestine releases hormones like GLP-1 and peptide YY (PYY). Studies have successfully shown that release of these hormones from the gut leads to an increase in the glucose regulating hormone, insulin and decreases appetite. “One proposed factor in the increasing prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes is an increased consumption of processed foods containing high levels of sucrose and fructose. To offset this, the food industry has attempted to replace sugars with artificial sweeteners,” state the reseachers. Sucralose is a commonly used artificial sweetener. This study was undertaken to see if sucralose aids in release of GLP-1 and PYY, and thereby helps people who are at a higher risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
• The study included eight healthy young adults (aged 22 to 27 years). These people had a healthy body weight and were non-smokers. Each was tested with the same experiment.
• Participants fasted overnight before the experiments. They were divided into four groups with group one having 50ml water, group two 50ml sucralose solution, group three 50ml maltodextrose (sugary drink) and group four a placebo. All groups had a repeat dose of what they originally consumed except group four who received sucralose solution a second time around.
• Blood tests to check levels of insulin and GLP-1 were performed before and after the test. Participants also rated their appetites.
• Results showed that giving sucralose in normal dietary doses does not stimulate the release of gut hormones like GLP-1 and PYY.
• Group four did not show any rise in insulin or GLP-1 levels.
• Group three (on maltodextrin) had a significant rise in insulin and blood sugar when compared to group one on water.
• All four groups had similar appetites.
The authors write that although studies in the laboratory and on mice have shown that ingestion of sucralose causes rise in GLP-1 and PYY, this study fails to replicate similar results in humans. They suggest that future studies could unravel the reasons for such differences. They also suggest comparing the effects of only maltodextrose with the effect of maltodextrose combined with sucralose to find out if sucralose with maltodextrose has an additive effect on release of GLP-1.
This study shows that oral ingestion of sucralose fails to enhance the release of GLP-1 and insulin or to reduce appetite. Additionally, oral stimulation with sucralose also showed no result on insulin, appetite or GLP-1. Since sucralose is commonly used as a sweetener for people who are at risk of gaining weight or developing diabetes, this result is significant. If, like in animal studies, sucralose would improve the release of these hormones and reduce appetite, it would be an added advantage for vulnerable people. As of now, this study has proved that sucralose in dietary doses is unhelpful in improving blood sugar parameters.
For More Information:
Effects of Oral Ingestion of Sucralose on Gut Hormone Response and Appetite in Healthy Normal-Weight Subjects
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2011
By H. E. Ford; V. Peters; Imperial College London, UK