Effect of the natural sweetener xylitol on gut hormone secretion and gastric emptying in humans: A pilot dose-ranging study

Anne Christin Meyer-Gerspach, Jürgen Drewe, Wout Verbeure, Carel W. Le Roux, Ludmilla Dellatorre-Teixeira, Jens F. Rehfeld, Jens J. Holst, Bolette Hartmann, Jan Tack, Ralph Peterli, Christoph Beglinger, Bettina K. Wölnerhanssen

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19 Citations (Scopus)
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Sugar consumption is associated with a whole range of negative health effects and should be reduced and the natural sweetener xylitol might be helpful in achieving this goal. The present study was conducted as a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over trial. Twelve healthy, lean volunteers received intragastric solutions with 7, 17 or 35 g xylitol or tap water on four separate days. We examined effects on: gut hormones, glucose, insulin, glucagon, uric acid, lipid profile, as well as gastric emptying rates, appetite-related sensations and gastrointestinal symptoms. We found: (i) a dose-dependent stimulation of cholecystokinin (CCK), active glucagon-like peptide-1 (aGLP-1), peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY)-release, and decelerated gastric emptying rates, (ii) a dose-dependent increase in blood glucose and insulin, (iii) no effect on motilin, glucagon, or glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP)-release, (iv) no effect on blood lipids, but a rise in uric acid, and (v) increased bowel sounds as only side effects. In conclusion, low doses of xylitol stimulate the secretion of gut hormones and induce a deceleration in gastric emptying rates. There is no effect on blood lipids and only little effect on plasma glucose and insulin. This combination of properties (low-glycemic sweetener which stimulates satiation hormone release) makes xylitol an attractive candidate for sugar replacement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number174
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 8 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research received no external funding and was financed by the St. Clara Research Ltd., a non-profit research institution, which is part of St. Claraspital Basel.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Appetite-related sensations
  • Blood lipids
  • Gastric emptying
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Gut hormones
  • Natural sweeteners
  • Uric acid
  • Xylitol


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