Sweet Taste Affinity and the Consumption of Sweeteners


Kiana Dobson

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In two studies, rats bred to consume high amounts of saccharin solution (HiS) and rats bred to consume low amounts of saccharin solution (LoS) were tested on their preference for two sweeteners. One sweetener was the powder form of stevia, a plant extract that is 200 ? 300 times sweeter than sugar. The supply of stevia came from a commercial product that could be purchased at a typical grocery store. The second sweetener was sucrose, or table sugar, that came from a lab supplier. In the first study, the rats were given a two bottle test where they were exposed to a stevia solution and water for 24 hours. Three concentrations of stevia solution were presented in ascending order. Both lines of rats preferred the highest concentration more strongly than the lower concentrations. In the second study, the rats were given another two bottle test where they were presented with the highest concentration of stevia from the previous study and a sucrose solution. Three sucrose solutions were presented in ascending order. A preference for sucrose over stevia was clearly seen at the highest sucrose concentration. More research is needed in regards to stevia versus sucrose to in order to find the concentrations at which indifference toward either solution becomes a preference, and to test and compare the appeal of stevia products and table sugar. Overall the results suggest that both HiS rats and LoS rats prefer stevia over water and that at a high enough concentration rats will prefer sucrose over stevia.


Nancy Dess




Occidental Faculty Development award

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