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Evaluation of aspartame effects on food intake, physical, biochemical, and histopatological parameters in rats


Recent years have seen an increase in consumption of diet and light foods by teenagers or those who are looking for a low-calorie diet, thus resulting in several sweeteners such as aspartame. However, their consumption still generates controversy due to many contradictory and inconclusive data. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of aspartame supplementation on dietary intake, physical, biochemical, and histopathological parameters in 18 male Wistar rats, at five weeks old (young mice) treated for 21 days. The animals were randomly assigned into two groups: control group (CG) - treated with distilled water by gavage and aspartame group (GA) - treated with 2ml/100g/day of aspartame. All animals received commercial feed (Essence (r)) and water ad libitum. The control of food intake was recorded weekly. The physical parameters were measured by analyzing the body weight, chest circumference, waist circumference, vertex-coccyx length, total abdominal fat and calculating the body mass index; biochemical parameters were analyzed by glucose, high-density lipoprotein and triglycerides. Apart from such analysis the histopathological study of the liver was conducted. Throughout the experiment the rats treated with aspartame showed a significant increase in body weight and food intake compared to the control group. There was no difference in other analyzes such physical, biochemical, and histopathological comparing GA to GC (P<0.05). From the results we can infer a greater chance of developing obesity, coming from the regular consumption of this type of sweetener, as it proved able to stimulate food intake, and hence the gain of body weight.

Aspartame; body weight; food intake

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil