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Research Updates | Obesity / Overweight

Effects of increased added sugar intake on appetite

14 / 03 / 19


Higher added sugar intake is not associated with increased appetite.


This Australian research from the University of Wollongong is a Systematic Review (SR) of RCTs.  The SR included 21 articles describing 19 studies and explored the association between consuming different types of added sugars across a range of food and drinks sources to appetite markers (satiety, appetite hormones* leptin or ghrelin- see note below), and energy intake in overweight and obese adults.

Increased added sugar consumption did not consistently affect subsequent energy intake, satiety or ghrelin levels. Differences in total energy intake were comparable to differences in energy values of tested products (n=3). Added sugar intake was reported to increase leptin* (satiety hormone) levels.

The researchers say these results may be partly explained by variation of study methodologies and there is a need for more RCTs examining a range of added sugar sources and doses on appetite in overweight and obese subjects.


Thornhill K, Charlton K, Probst Y, Neale E. Does an increased intake of added sugar affect appetite in overweight or obese adults, when compared with lower intakes? A systematic review of the literature. Br J Nutr 2019 Jan;121(2):232-240

Link to abstract:

*NOTE: Leptin is known as the ‘satiety hormone’ and is released by fat cells. It sends signals to the hypothalamus to inhibit hunger and reduce food intake. Leptin helps regulate long term food intake and energy expenditure in order to maintain weight.

Ghrelin is known as the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite. It is produced in the stomach and small intestine and stimulates a person to eat more food and store fat