Do low-calorie drinks 'cheat' the enteral-brain axis?

Adaliene V.M. Ferreira, Simone Vasconcelos Generoso, Antônio Lúcio Teixeira

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The consumption of low-calorie beverages has increased worldwide, mainly because of their combination of sweet taste without adding significant calories to the diet. However, some epidemiological studies have linked the higher consumption of low-calorie beverages with increased body weight gain. RECENT FINDINGS: Although a matter of debate, this paradoxical association between low-calorie beverages and weight gain has been attributed to their effect on the enteral-brain axis. More specifically, artificial sweeteners present in low-calorie beverages could induce appetite increase, probably due to an ambiguous psychobiological signal (uncoupling sweet taste from calorie intake) that confounds the appetite's regulatory mechanisms, promoting overeating and, ultimately, leading to weight gain. However, many studies do not support this assumption, and the mechanisms underlying the interaction between low-calorie beverages and the enteral-brain axis remain to be defined. SUMMARY: The understanding of the effects of low-calorie drinks on the enteral-brain axis still remains in its infancy and needs to be unveiled. The consumption of low-calorie beverages reduces the calories from that drink, but compensatory phenomena may increase energy intake, and if so must be recognized and avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-470
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • appetite
  • enteral-brain axis
  • low-calorie beverage
  • weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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