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Concept: Sugar substitute


Nonnutritive sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevioside, are widely consumed, yet their long-term health impact is uncertain. We synthesized evidence from prospective studies to determine whether routine consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners was associated with long-term adverse cardiometabolic effects.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Randomized controlled trial, Sweeteners, Sugar substitute, Sucralose


Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are among the most widely used food additives worldwide, regularly consumed by lean and obese individuals alike. NAS consumption is considered safe and beneficial owing to their low caloric content, yet supporting scientific data remain sparse and controversial. Here we demonstrate that consumption of commonly used NAS formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota. These NAS-mediated deleterious metabolic effects are abrogated by antibiotic treatment, and are fully transferrable to germ-free mice upon faecal transplantation of microbiota configurations from NAS-consuming mice, or of microbiota anaerobically incubated in the presence of NAS. We identify NAS-altered microbial metabolic pathways that are linked to host susceptibility to metabolic disease, and demonstrate similar NAS-induced dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in healthy human subjects. Collectively, our results link NAS consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Metabolism, Nutrition, Organism, Feces, Food additive, Sugar substitute


The negative impact of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages on weight and other health outcomes has been increasingly recognized; therefore, many people have turned to high-intensity sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin as a way to reduce the risk of these consequences. However, accumulating evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This paper discusses these findings and considers the hypothesis that consuming sweet-tasting but noncaloric or reduced-calorie food and beverages interferes with learned responses that normally contribute to glucose and energy homeostasis. Because of this interference, frequent consumption of high-intensity sweeteners may have the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements.

Concepts: Nutrition, Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Sugar, Sweeteners, Sugar substitute, Sucralose, Sorbitol


The consumption of beverages that contain sugar is associated with overweight, possibly because liquid sugars do not lead to a sense of satiety, so the consumption of other foods is not reduced. However, data are lacking to show that the replacement of sugar-containing beverages with noncaloric beverages diminishes weight gain.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Nutrition, Food, Malnutrition, Flavor, Carbohydrate, Sugar, Sugar substitute


Compared to simple sugars, complex carbohydrates have been assumed invisible to taste. However, two recent studies proposed that there may be a perceivable taste quality elicited by complex carbohydrates independent of sweet taste. There is precedent with behavioural studies demonstrating that rats are very attracted to complex carbohydrates, and that complex carbohydrates are preferred to simple sugars at low concentrations. This suggests that rats may have independent taste sensors for simple sugars and complex carbohydrates. The aim of this paper is to investigate oral sensitivities of two different classes of complex carbohydrates (a soluble digestible and a soluble non-digestible complex carbohydrate), and to compare these to other caloric and non-nutritive sweeteners in addition to the prototypical tastes using two commonly used psychophysical measures. There were strong correlations between the detection thresholds and mean intensity ratings for complex carbohydrates (maltodextrin, oligofructose) (r = 0.94, P < 0.001). There were no significant correlations between the detection thresholds of the complex carbohydrates (maltodextrin, oligofructose) and the sweeteners (glucose, fructose, sucralose, Rebaudioside A, erythritol) (all P > 0.05). However, moderate correlations were observed between perceived intensities of complex carbohydrates and sweeteners (r = 0.48-0.61, P < 0.05). These data provide evidence that complex carbohydrates can be sensed in the oral cavity over a range of concentrations independent of sweet taste sensitivity at low concentrations, but with partial overlap with sweet taste intensity at higher concentrations.

Concepts: Glucose, Carbohydrate, Sugar, Disaccharide, Monosaccharide, Sucrose, Sweeteners, Sugar substitute


The purpose of this study was to identify the risk factors associated with the masticatory dysfunction after maxillectomy using a colour-changing chewing gum. Thirty-nine patients who underwent maxillectomy between January 2002 and May 2010 in the Department of Kobe University Hospital were recruited for this study. There were 20 male and 19 female subjects, with a median age of 73·3 years (range of 44-90) at the time of surgery. The intra-oral conditions after maxillectomy were classified by HS classification, and the masticatory function was evaluated by a colour-changing chewing gum and the results of a modified Sato’s questionnaire. The scores of the colour-changing gum were closely correlated with the scores of the modified Sato’s questionnaire (r = 0·661, P < 0·01). A logistic regression analysis with the outcome variable of the gum test <4 demonstrated that significant predictors for the masticatory dysfunction were the number of anchor teeth ≤2 and a soft palate defect. A colour-changing gum was found to be useful for evaluating the post-operative masticatory function, and it was important to conserve the anchor teeth and the soft palate to avoid masticatory dysfunction.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Hospital, Francis Galton, Soft palate, Palate, Hard palate, Sugar substitute


Neurobiological and genetic mechanisms underlying increased intake of and preference for nutritive sugars over non-nutritive sweeteners are not fully understood. We examined the roles of subnuclei of the amygdala in the shift in preference for a nutritive sugar. Food-deprived mice alternately received caloric sucrose (1.0 M) on odd-numbered training days and a non-caloric artificial sweetener (2.5 mM saccharin) on even-numbered training days. During training, mice with sham lesions of the basolateral (BLA) or central (CeA) nucleus of the amygdala increased their intake of 1.0 M sucrose, but not saccharin. Trained mice with sham lesions showed a significant shift in preference toward less concentrated sucrose (0.075 M) over the saccharin in a two-bottle choice test, although the mice showed an equivalent preference for these sweeteners before training. No increased intake of or preference for sucrose before and after the alternating training was observed in non-food-deprived mice. Excitotoxic lesions centered in the BLA impaired the increase in 1.0 M sucrose intake and shift in preference toward 0.075 M sucrose over saccharin. Microlesions with iontophoretic excitotoxin injections into the CeA did not block the training-dependent changes. These results suggest that food-deprived animals selectively shift their preference for a caloric sugar over a non-caloric sweetener through the alternate consumption of caloric and non-caloric sweet substances. The present data also suggest that the BLA, but not CeA, plays a role in the selective shift in sweetener preference. (232 words).

Concepts: Glucose, Carbohydrate, Sugar, Honey, Sweeteners, Stevia, Sugar substitute, Sucralose


Stevia rebaudiana (SR) is often used by the food industry due to its steviol glycoside content, which is a suitable calorie-free sweetener. Further, both in vitro and in vivo studies indicate that these glycosides and the extracts from SR have pharmacological and therapeutic properties, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, and anticancer. This work reviews the antiobesity, antihyperglycemic, antihypertensive, and antihyperlipidemic effects of the majority of glycosides and aqueous/alcoholic extracts from the leaves, flowers, and roots of the SR. These compounds can serve as a natural and alternative treatment for diseases that are associated with metabolic syndrome, thus contributing to health promotion.

Concepts: Medicine, Nutrition, In vivo, Glycoside, Stevia, Steviol glycoside, Glycosides, Sugar substitute


Two diterpene glycosides were isolated from a commercial Stevia rebaudiana leaf extract. One was found to be 13-[(2-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-3-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-β-d-glucopyranosyl)oxy]ent-kaur-16-en-19-oic acid-(2-O-β-d-xylopyranosyl-3-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl- β-d-glucopyranosyl) ester (rebaudioside T), whereas the other was determined to be 13-[(2-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-3-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-β-d-glucopyranosyl)oxy]ent-kaur-16-en-19-oic acid-(6-O-α-l-arabinopyranosyl-β-d-glucopyranosyl) ester (rebaudioside U). In addition, five C-19 sugar free derivatives were prepared and identified as follows: 13-[(2-O-α-l-rhamnopyranosyl-β-d-glucopyranosyl)]oxy]kaur-16-en-19-oic acid (dulcoside A1); 13-[(2-O-β-d-xylopyranosy-3-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-β-d-glucopyranosyl)oxy]kaur-16-en-19-oic acid; 13-[(2-O-β-d-xylopyranosyl-β-d-glucopyranosyl-)oxy]kaur-16-en-19-oic acid; 13-[(2-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-3-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-β-d-xylopyranosyl-)oxy]kaur-16-en-19-oic acid (rebaudioside R1) and 13-[(2-O-6-deoxy-β-d-glucopyranosyl-3-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-β-d-glucopyranosyl)oxy]kaur-16-en-19-oic acid, respectively. Chemical structures were determined by NMR experiments. HPLC analyses were also useful to differentiate different steviol-C13 sugar substituent patterns by elution position.

Concepts: Glycoside, Sugar, Sweeteners, Stevia, Steviol glycoside, Glycosides, Sugar substitute, Truvia


Steviol glycosides with an ent-kaurene core are being used in the Food Industry as non-caloric sweeteners. These compounds are chemically similar in terms of sugar types and sugar arrangements. In order to assign sugar positions, we describe herein, the dissociation pattern for steviol glycosides under varying collision energies.

Concepts: Food, Sugar, Food industry, Stevia, Steviol glycoside, Sugar substitute