Sensory-specific satiety (SSS) describes a reduction in the pleasantness of the taste of (momentary liking) and desire to consume a food that occurs with eating, compared with the relative preservation of liking and desire for uneaten foods. We conducted three studies in healthy female and male participants to test whether SSS generalises from sweet drinks to sweet foods. Studies 1 (n = 40) and 2 (n = 64) used a two-condition cross-over design. Participants consumed non-carbonated, fruit squash drinks sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) versus water and evaluated various food and drink samples (stimuli). Generalisation of SSS was evident across all sweet stimuli, without having an effect on non-sweet (savoury) stimuli. These SSS effects were present when measured shortly after consumption of the sweet drink, but not 2 h later. There was no evidence of a ‘rebound’ increase above baseline in liking or desire to consume sweet foods 2 h after the sweet drink versus water. In study 3, 51 participants consumed labelled and branded 500 ml cola and water drinks (4 conditions, cross-over design) immediately before and during ad libitum consumption of sweet and non-sweet snack foods. Compared with still water, ‘diet’ (LCS-sweetened) cola reduced sweet food intake, but not total ad libitum intake. Carbonated water decreased hunger and increased fullness compared with still water, without differentially affecting thirst. Energy compensation from the ad libitum snacks for consumption of sugar-containing cola averaged only 20%. Together, these results demonstrate that consumption of LCS drinks acutely decreases desire for sweet foods, which supports their use in place of sugar-sweetened drinks. Further studies on the effects of carbonation of appetite are warranted.
The present publication reports results from three human studies showing that the consumption of drinks sweetened with low/no calorie sweeteners reduced the desire for, pleasantness of taste and intake of sweet food, when compared with still water. The authors conclude that, together, these results clearly reject claims that exposure to sweetness would cause a ‘sweet tooth’ or increased desire for sweetness; rather, in the short term, at least, consuming a sweet-tasting drink reduces desire for further intake of sweet drinks and foods.
The three studies in healthy adult participants aim to test whether sensory-specific satiety generalises from sweet drinks to sweet foods. The sensory-specific satiety (SSS) phenomenon describes a reduction in the pleasantness of the taste of (momentary liking) and desire to consume a food that occurs with eating, compared with the relative preservation of liking and desire for uneaten foods. Together, the collective results of these three studies demonstrate that consumption of low/no calorie sweetened drinks acutely decreases desire for sweet foods, which supports their use in place of sugar-sweetened drinks.