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Effect of the artificial sweetener, sucralose, on gastric emptying and incretin hormone release in healthy subjects

Jing Ma, Max Bellon, Judith M Wishart, Richard Young, L Ashley Blackshaw, Karen L Jones, Michael Horowitz, Christopher K Rayner
American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 2009, 296 (4): G735-9
19221011
The incretin hormones, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), play an important role in glucose homeostasis in both health and diabetes. In mice, sucralose, an artificial sweetener, stimulates GLP-1 release via sweet taste receptors on enteroendocrine cells. We studied blood glucose, plasma levels of insulin, GLP-1, and GIP, and gastric emptying (by a breath test) in 7 healthy humans after intragastric infusions of 1) 50 g sucrose in water to a total volume of 500 ml (approximately 290 mosmol/l), 2) 80 mg sucralose in 500 ml normal saline (approximately 300 mosmol/l, 0.4 mM sucralose), 3) 800 mg sucralose in 500 ml normal saline (approximately 300 mosmol/l, 4 mM sucralose), and 4) 500 ml normal saline (approximately 300 mosmol/l), all labeled with 150 mg 13C-acetate. Blood glucose increased only in response to sucrose (P<0.05). GLP-1, GIP, and insulin also increased after sucrose (P=0.0001) but not after either load of sucralose or saline. Gastric emptying of sucrose was slower than that of saline (t50: 87.4+/-4.1 min vs. 74.7+/-3.2 min, P<0.005), whereas there were no differences in t50 between sucralose 0.4 mM (73.7+/-3.1 min) or 4 mM (76.7+/-3.1 min) and saline. We conclude that sucralose, delivered by intragastric infusion, does not stimulate insulin, GLP-1, or GIP release or slow gastric emptying in healthy humans.

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