Non-nutritive sweeteners, such as sucralose, stevia, and aspartame, provide considerable sweetness with negligible calories. However, a lot of people maintain concerns about non-nutritive sweeteners. Common concerns relate to the effects of non-nutritive sweeteners on cancer risk, appetite, glycemic control, and the gut microbiome.
The current study evaluated the effects of a stevia (1g), sugar (60g), or water pre-load. After a standardized breakfast, subjects rested 3 hours, then received their pre-load 30 minutes prior to an ad libitum (buffet-style) pizza lunch.
Compared to 300mL water, stevia and sugar both reduced hunger, both immediately after the pre-load and after the ad libitum lunch. However, all treatments resulted in similar caloric intake at lunch, and throughout the full day of the test. In addition, stevia did not significantly alter post-meal blood glucose levels.
The bottom line: While this study didn’t show a meaningful benefit of stevia for reducing subsequent caloric intake, it represents yet another study failing to link non-nutritive sweeteners to adverse effects on metabolism or energy intake. The majority of available evidence suggests that non-nutritive sweeteners are a suitable tool for replacing calories and supporting weight management.