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Sweetness–energy mismatch

Nature volume 535, page 203 (14 July 2016) | Download Citation


Regular consumption of the artificial, calorie-free sweetener sucralose causes animals to overeat.

Greg Neely at the University of Sydney in Australia, Herbert Herzog at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, also in Sydney, and their colleagues fed fruit flies a sucralose-enriched diet for between one and six days. After five days or longer on the sucralose diet, the flies ingested up to 30% more calories than did flies fed a normal diet throughout. The insects also became hyperactive and glucose intolerant.

The group discovered that a neural circuit was activated in the brains of sucralose-fed flies that is normally switched on during fasting, and is known to control hunger and sweet-taste intensity. They found similar responses in mice fed sucralose.

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