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Interventions and public health nutrition

Satiety scores and satiety hormone response after sucrose-sweetened soft drink compared with isocaloric semi-skimmed milk and with non-caloric soft drink: a controlled trial



Observational studies indicate that sugar-sweetened soft drinks (SSSD) may promote obesity, among other factors, owing to low-satiating effects. The effect of energy in drinks on appetite is still unclear. We examined the effect of two isocaloric, but macronutrient, different beverages (SSSD versus semi-skimmed milk) and two non-energy-containing beverages (aspartame-sweetened soft drink (ASSD) and water) on appetite, appetite-regulating hormones and energy intake (EI).


In all, 24 obese individuals were included in a crossover trial. Each subject was served either 500 ml of SSSD (regular cola: 900 kJ), semi-skimmed milk (950 kJ), ASSD (diet cola: 7.5 kJ), or water. Subjective appetite scores, ghrelin, GLP-1, and GIP concentrations were measured at baseline and continuously 4-h post intake. Ad libitum EI was measured 4 h after intake of the test drinks.


Milk induced greater subjective fullness and less hunger than regular cola (P<0.05). Also, milk led to 31% higher GLP-1 (95% CI: 20, 44; P<0.01) and 45% higher GIP (95% CI: 23, 72; P<0.01) concentrations compared with SSSD. Ghrelin was equally 20% lower after milk and SSSD compared with water. The total EI (ad libitum EI+EI from the drink) was higher after the energy-containing drinks compared with diet cola and water (P<0.01).


Milk increased appetite scores and GLP-1 and GIP responses compared with SSSD. The energy containing beverages were not compensated by decreased EI at the following meal, emphasizing the risk of generating a positive energy balance by consuming energy containing beverages. Furthermore, there were no indications of ASSD increased appetite or EI compared with water.

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The study was supported by The Danish Council for Strategic Research, The Food Study Group/ Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Novo Nordic Foundation, and Clinical Institute at Aarhus University, Denmark.


The funding entities had no role in study design and implementation or in analyzing and interpretation of the data.

The trial was registered at ID no. NCT00776971.

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Correspondence to B Richelsen.

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Maersk, M., Belza, A., Holst, J. et al. Satiety scores and satiety hormone response after sucrose-sweetened soft drink compared with isocaloric semi-skimmed milk and with non-caloric soft drink: a controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 66, 523–529 (2012).

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  • sweetening agents
  • beverages
  • appetite
  • ghrelin
  • glucagon-like peptide-1
  • energy intake

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