Effect of plain versus sugar-sweetened breakfast on energy balance and metabolic health: A randomised crossover trial

Harriet A Carroll*, Yung-Chih Chen, Iain Templeman, Phoebe Wharton, William V Trim, Enhad A Chowdhury, Jeffrey Michael Brunstrom, Peter J Rogers, Dylan Thompson, Lewis John James, Laura Johnson, James A. Betts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Objective: Investigate effect of 3-weeks high (SWEET) versus low (PLAIN) sugar breakfast on energy balance, metabolic health, and appetite. Methods: 29 healthy adults (22 women) completed this randomised crossover study. Participants had pre- and post-intervention appetite, health and body mass outcomes measured, and recorded diet, appetite (visual analogue scales) and physical activity for 8 days during each intervention. Interventions were 3-weeks iso-energetic SWEET (30% by weight added sugar; average 32g sugar) versus PLAIN (no added sugar; average 8g sugar) porridge-based breakfast. Results: Pre- to post-intervention changes in body mass were similar between PLAIN (Δ0.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.3, 0.5kg) and SWEET (Δ0.2, 95% CI -0.2, 0.5kg), as were pre- to post-intervention changes for biomarkers of health (all p≥0.101) and psychological appetite (all p≥0.152). Energy, fat and protein intake were not statistically different between conditions. Total carbohydrate intake was higher during SWEET (287±82g∙d-1 versus 256±73g∙d-1; p=0.009), driven more by higher breakfast sugar intake (116±46g∙d-1 versus 88±38g∙d-1; p<0.001) than post-breakfast sugar intake (SWEET 84±42g∙d 1 versus PLAIN 80±37g∙d-1; p=0.552). Participants reported reduced sweet desire immediately after SWEET but not PLAIN breakfasts (trial*time p<0.001). Conclusions: Energy balance, health markers, and appetite did not respond differently to 3-weeks of high or low sugar breakfasts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Early online date28 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2020

Structured keywords

  • SPS Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences
  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Nutrition and Behaviour


  • sugar
  • Breakfast
  • appetite
  • health

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