Effects of functional sweeteners on the development of the metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis are unknown. The objective was to compare the effect of dietary carbohydrate in the form of sucrose (SUCR) to D-tagatose (TAG; an isomer of fructose currently used as a low-calorie sweetener) on body weight, blood cholesterol concentrations, hyperglycemia, and atherosclerosis in low-density lipoprotein receptor deficient (LDLr /) mice. LDLr / male and female mice were fed either standard murine diet or a diet enriched with TAG or SUCR as carbohydrate sources for 16 weeks. TAG and SUCR diets contained equivalent amounts (g/kg) of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. We measured food intake, body weight, adipocyte diameter, serum cholesterol and lipoprotein concentrations, and aortic atherosclerosis. Macrophage immunostaining and collagen content were examined in aortic root lesions. CONTROL and TAG-fed mice exhibited similar energy intake, body weights and blood glucose and insulin concentrations, but SUCR-fed mice exhibited increased energy intake and became obese and hyperglycemic. Adipocyte diameter increased in female SUCR-fed mice compared to TAG and CONTROL. Male and female SUCR-fed mice had increased serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations compared to TAG and CONTROL. Atherosclerosis was increased in SUCR-fed mice of both genders compared to TAG and CONTROL. Lesions from SUCR-fed mice exhibited pronounced macrophage immunostaining and reductions in collagen content compared to TAG and CONTROL mice. These results demonstrate that in comparison to sucrose, equivalent substitution of TAG as dietary carbohydrate does not result in the same extent of obesity, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 6 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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