Sucrose Produces Lower Increases in Satiety Signaling Hormones Vs Glucose

Human hand holding bowl of table sugar or sucrose in front of computer screen displaying sucrose carbohydrate molecule. Magnetic board with written note ‘sucrose’. Wooden board. Light effect. High point of view.
Sucrose, or common table sugar, is not as effective as glucose in signaling postprandial satiation.

Common table sugar is not as effective as glucose in producing postprandial satiation, as evidenced by its association with significantly lower increases in glucose, insulin, glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1), and peptide YY (PYY), according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

A total of 69 adults (40 women) between 18 and 35 years of age (mean, 23.22±3.74 years) were recruited and completed this study ( identifier NCT02945475. There were 25 lean, 24, overweight, and 20 obese participants, all of whom presented with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 27.03(±4.96) kg/m2

During the study, participants consumed 300 mL beverages on 2 occasions, with each beverage containing 75 g of either glucose or sucrose. Blood samples were taken at baseline as well as 10 minutes, 35 minutes, and 120 minutes after consuming the beverage. Samples were assessed for plasma glucose, insulin, GLP-1, PYY total, and acyl-ghrelin.

Compared with the beverage containing glucose, ingestion of the sucrose beverage was associated with a significantly lower rise in postprandial glucose (13700.87 vs 12824.53 mg/dL; P <.0001), insulin (8034.30 vs 5734.98 U/mL; P <.0001), GLP-1 (1392.70 vs 931.88 pg/mL; P <.0001), and PYY (8548.16 vs 7757.02 pg/mL; P =.02). No difference was found between the 2 sugars in terms of acyl-ghrelin suppression (8544.63 vs 8835.50; P =.54).

Participants classified as overweight had significantly higher postprandial glucose concentrations (14572.29 vs 12820.34 mg/dL; P <.0001), insulin (8480.10 vs 5587.19; P <.0001), and GLP-1 (1579.65 vs 1075.30; P =.001) following consumption of the glucose beverage. In participants classified as obese, ingestion of the glucose drink was also associated with higher glucose (15436.02 vs 13032.5 0 mg/dL; P =.002) and PYY (8371.34 vs 7092.04 pg/mL; P =.002).

Individuals who were insulin sensitive had lower postprandial glucose (12530.69 vs 13264.88 mg/dL; P =.01), insulin (4862.89 vs 6307.66 U/mL; P <.0001), and GLP-1 (824.08 vs 1200.21 pg/mL; P <.0001) if they consumed the sucrose drink vs the glucose drink. Also, consumption of the glucose drink in participants who were insulin resistant had significantly higher glucose (15397.35 vs 13266.63 mg/dL; P <.0001), insulin (13648.60 vs 9604.56 U/mL; P <.0001), and GLP-1 (1546.71 vs 1162.45 pg/mL; P =.04).

One potential limitation of this study includes the lack of assessment regarding the long-term consequences of sucrose vs glucose consumption in individuals across the BMI spectrum. Additionally, the study enrolled only young adults, which limits the generalizability of the findings across children and older adults.

The researchers concluded that their findings, in spite of the limitation, emphasize “the importance of considering individual characteristics that may affect the metabolic consequences of consumption of specific nutrients, such as different types of sugar.”


Yunker AG, Luo S, Jones S, et al. Appetite regulating hormones are reduced after oral sucrose vs glucose: Influence of obesity, insulin resistance and sex. Published online December 10, 2020. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. doi:10.1210/clinem/dgaa865