Effect of Long-term Intake of Nutritive and Non-nutritive Sweeteners on Metabolic Health and Cognition in Adult Male Rats

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J Med Food. 2022 Aug 11. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2022.0016. Online ahead of print.


This study evaluated the effects of long-term intake of nutritive sweeteners (NSs) and non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs) on body weight, food and energy intake, blood pressure, metabolic parameters, and memory retention in rats. Sixty male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into six groups (n = 10 per group): control (water),10% sucrose (SUC), aspartame (ASP), sucralose (SCA), stevia (STV), and 5% xylitol (XYL). Pure NSs (SUC and XYL) and NNSs were added to the drinking water for 18 weeks. ASP, SCA, and STV dosage was based on the estimated daily intake limit: 4.1, 2.0, and 3.4 mg/kg/day, respectively. Chronic access to NNSs did not result in any difference in total weight gain of the rats, while it was significantly elevated in the SUC group compared with the control and NNSs groups. Food intake was significantly lower in all NNSs groups compared with SUC and control groups. Sweetened beverage intake volumes were significantly diminished in all NNSs groups compared with intake in SUC and control groups. Total calories consumed were lower for the STV and XYL groups compared with all other groups. Blood pressure and glucose metabolism did not differ significantly between the groups. All sweeteners increased total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels. Short-term memory was significantly impaired in the ASP group in the novel object recognition task, while long-term memory was impaired in SUC and STV groups. These metabolic and behavioral results suggest that the long-term intake of NSs or NNSs can be associated with peripheral and central effects.

PMID:35951019 | DOI:10.1089/jmf.2022.0016

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