Sugar-Free Biscuits: A Sweet Solution to Obesity's Sour Problem?

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.02 - 2024 1:02 PM CET

Can sugar-free biscuits cut appetite in overweight adults? A new study explores the answer.

Trending Now

As the world grapples with rising obesity rates, a recent study published in EBioMedicine throws light on an intriguing question: Can sugar-free biscuits reduce appetite in overweight adults?

The research, focusing on the effects of sweeteners like Stevia and Neotame as alternatives to sucrose, delves into their potential in managing weight and metabolic disorders.

The Sweet Swap: An Insight into Dietary Changes

The backdrop of this study is the alarming increase in obesity, attributed to energy-rich diets and inactive lifestyles.

Moreover, the high consumption of simple carbohydrates, notably sugars, is under scrutiny for its role in hormonal changes that promote weight gain.

In response, health experts and policymakers advocate for reducing free sugar intake in diets. The replacement of these sugars with non-nutritive sweeteners or sweetness enhancers is a strategy that's been widely adopted, albeit with lingering questions about its long-term benefits.

The Investigation: Sweeteners under the Microscope

In an effort to shed light on this debate, researchers embarked on a randomized crossover trial involving 53 overweight or obese adults from England and France.

The objective was to compare the endocrine and appetite responses triggered by consuming Stevia and Neotame - two popular sweeteners in the European Union - against those caused by sucrose. Participants, ranging from 18 to 60 years old with a BMI between 25 and 35, underwent a two-week trial consuming fruit-filled biscuits laced with either of the sweeteners or sucrose, followed by washout periods.

The study meticulously measured the participants' subjective appetite levels, such as desire to eat, hunger, thirst, fullness, nausea, prospective intake, bloating, sensory-specific feelings of satiety, and appetite for sweet or savory foods.

Additional assessments included food reward, food preferences, and various endocrine responses, including insulin, glucose, and ghrelin levels, to ascertain the impact of these sweeteners.

The Findings

The study's results offer a nuanced view of the sweeteners' efficacy.

While replacing sucrose with Neotame or Stevia significantly lowered postprandial glucose and insulin levels in overweight or obese adults, it did not alter the endocrine response or appetite. The decrease in insulin response was consistent for both Neotame and Stevia when compared to sucrose, although Stevia showed a more pronounced effect on glucose levels than Neotame.

Interestingly, the levels of ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and pancreatic polypeptide indicated that neither acute nor repeated exposure to these sweeteners affected satiety responses.

Reflecting on Sugar-Free Options: A Path Forward?

The study presents a compelling argument for the potential health benefits of replacing free sugars with non-nutritive sweeteners like Stevia and Neotame, particularly in managing blood sugar and insulin levels.

However, it also points to a critical gap in our understanding of how these alternatives influence satiety, appetite, and food preferences over the long term.

Most Read