Sugar is a flavor enhancer that is not only found in sweets, sondern can also be found in many other finished products. There are 14 grams in a frozen pizza, and ketchup even consists of a third of it. In Austria and Germany alone, per capita consumption is around 33 and 34 kilograms, respectively.
Sugar plays an important role, especially when looking at the scales. Because even if we don’t want to hear it: White household sugar is a real fattening food. For example, 100 grams of a chocolate Santa Claus from Milka have 531 kilocalories. Main ingredient: sugar.
How sugar affects our eating behavior
However, little is known about how sugar, regardless of its energy content, affects our eating behavior. Austrian and German scientists working with Veronika Somoza and Barbara Lieder from the Universities of Vienna and the Technical University of Munich investigated this question. Small spoiler: sugar lovers can breathe easy.
For your study, which was published in the journal “Nutrients”, the researchers examined 27 healthy test participants between the ages of 18 and 45, all of whom were men. The test subjects received either a solution with white table sugar, with grape sugar or one of the two liquids with additional lactisols immediately after getting up. This is a substance that makes us less aware of the sweetness. All test solutions had the same calorie content.
Two hours after the men drank the test solutions, they were allowed to eat as much breakfast as they wanted. Shortly before and during the two-hour waiting period, the researchers took blood from them at regular intervals and measured their body temperature.
Whoever tasted less sugar ate more
The men who drank the lactisole-containing solution with table sugar – that is, the sugar tasted less tasty – ate around 13 percent more at breakfast than the study participants who received a solution without lactisole. That corresponds to around 100 calories. In addition, this test group had a lower level of serotonin. Many people know serotonin as a “happiness hormone” – but it also has another effect: It reduces appetite.
In contrast, the men who received a solution with glucose, ate about the same amount for breakfast. Here it made no difference whether they received a liquid containing lactisole or a pure liquid.
The results indicate that table sugar is filling – because it activates the sweet taste receptors. According to first author Kerstin Schweiger from the University of Vienna, they do not yet know exactly why this effect did not occur in glucose. The researchers assume that glucose and white sugar activate our sweet receptors in different ways. However, other previously unknown factors may also play a role.
According to the scientists, there is still a lot of research to be done to clarify the relationships between consumption, taste receptors and the feeling of satiety. It must also be said that the study was carried out on a very small group of participants – which consisted only of men.
The fact that sugar, even if it’s unhealthy, could at least make you full, is good news for all cookie lovers with regard to Christmas.