Female Rats show a Bimodal Preference Response to the Artificial Sweetener Sucralose

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The preference of female Sprague–Dawley rats for sucralose, a non-nutritive sweetener derived from sucrose, was evaluated in 23 h two-bottle tests with water or saccharin. Overall, the rats displayed weak or no preferences for sucralose (0.25–4 g/l) over water but strong preferences for saccharin (0.5–8 g/l) over water and saccharin (1 g/l) over sucralose (0.5 g/l). The rats also preferred a saccharin + sucrose mixture to sucrose, but sucrose to a sucralose + sucrose mixture. There were marked individual differences in sucralose preferences: about half the rats preferred sucralose to water at some concentrations while most remaining rats avoided sucralose. Both subgroups preferred saccharin to sucralose. Sucralose appears to have an aversive off-taste that reduces its palatability to rats.

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