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Aspartame in conjunction with carbohydrate reduces insulin levels during endurance exercise

Jason Siegler15*, Keith Howell2, Rebecca Vince3, James Bray3, Chris Towlson3, Daniel Peart3, Duane Mellor4 and Stephen Atkin2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, Australia

2 Diabetes and Endocrinology, Hull York Medical School, University of York, York, United Kingdom

3 Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom

4 Clinical Sciences Department, University of Chester, Chester, United Kingdom

5 School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown Campus, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW, 2751, Australia

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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012, 9:36  doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-36

Published: 1 August 2012



As most sport drinks contain some form of non-nutritive sweetener (e.g. aspartame), and with the variation in blood glucose regulation and insulin secretion reportedly associated with aspartame, a further understanding of the effects on insulin and blood glucose regulation during exercise is warranted. Therefore, the aim of this preliminary study was to profile the insulin and blood glucose responses in healthy individuals after aspartame and carbohydrate ingestion during rest and exercise.


Each participant completed four trials under the same conditions (45 min rest + 60 min self-paced intense exercise) differing only in their fluid intake: 1) carbohydrate (2% maltodextrin and 5% sucrose (C)); 2) 0.04% aspartame with 2% maltodextrin and 5% sucrose (CA)); 3) water (W); and 4) aspartame (0.04% aspartame with 2% maltodextrin (A)). Insulin levels dropped significantly for CA versus C alone (43%) between pre-exercise and 30 min, while W and A insulin levels did not differ between these time points.


Aspartame with carbohydrate significantly lowered insulin levels during exercise versus carbohydrate alone.

Aspartame; Exercise; Insulin; Blood glucose