Is Sucralose Bad For You? Pros And Side Effects To Know

Get your facts right before including this artificial sweetener in your daily diet.

By Sindhu KogantiSindhu Koganti, Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose are turning out to be omnipotent, given their wide range of applications in the food and beverage industry. Besides, sucralose is also gaining popularity as a substitute for sugar among those watching their calorie intake and blood sugar levels. But is sucralose bad for you? Or does it have any benefits? What do experts say?

In this article, you will learn more about what sucralose is, how it can react with your body’s metabolism, and its potential benefits and side effects. Keep reading.

What Is Sucralose?

Sucralose is a highly potent artificial sweetener and is commonly used in various food products and beverages. It also has been approved for use globally. According to US Food and Drug Administration, this non-nutritive sweetener is 600 times sweeter than natural sugar (1).

However, sucralose is not digested by the body (like natural sugars) to produce energy. It also adds zero calories to your diet. It can be a good substitute for sugar if you are looking to reduce your calorie intake.

Did You Know?
Sucralose was discovered by scientists from Tate and Lyle while working at Queen Elizabeth’s College in 1976.

So, how does sucralose benefit your health? Does it affect your blood sugar levels? We answer these questions in the following section.

Is Sucralose Healthy? The Potential Pros

1. May Not Affect Blood Sugar Levels

Woman checking blood glucose level

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Paula Doebrich, MPH and a registered dietitian nutritionist at Happea Nutrition, explains, “The structure of sucralose makes it unrecognizable to the body; therefore, the body cannot digest it. We get the taste of sugar without the calories or carbohydrates. This means it does not have any effect on blood sugar.”

Multiple studies have also shown that sucralose does not affect blood sugar levels, making it fit for consumption by people with diabetes (2), (3). However, a small study on people who had never used non-nutritive sweeteners concluded that their blood sugar and insulin levels increased after consuming sucralose (4). Hence, more studies are needed to understand this benefit of sucralose.

2. Does Not Impact Daily Caloric Intake

Woman adding sucralose to her tea

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Sucralose may help one maintain a low-calorie diet while still enjoying sweets as it does not have any calories. “Because it helps curb sweet cravings without adding calories, it can help people significantly cut their intake of added sugars, especially from soda,” says Doebrich.

However, a majority of clinical studies report no significant or beneficial effects of artificial sweeteners on body weight and glycemic control (5).

While sucralose may help you keep your calorie intake in control, it may also cause certain side effects. Read to know what they are.

Side Effects Of Sucralose

1. May Kill Good Gut Bacteria

Person with highlighted intestines to show gut health

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Bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria promote digestion and gut health. Research on rodents suggests that sucralose may reduce these good bacteria in the gut while not affecting the bad bacteria (6).

Lisa Richards, a nutritionist at The Candida Diet, weighs in saying, “Sucralose causes gastrointestinal irritation and bloating besides reducing the healthy gut bacteria. Generally, these bacteria help prevent bloating by improving overall gut health.” However, more human studies are warranted to understand this downside of sucralose.

2. May Become Harmful When Baked

Sucralose tends to break down when baked and interact with other ingredients, leaving behind a bitter taste when consumed. Cooking at high temperatures also causes sucralose to produce a compound called chloropropanol, which has carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties (7).

3. May Cause Bloating

Woman with bloating due to sucralose

Image: Shutterstock

Artificial sweeteners are linked to overeating, which, in turn, may cause bloating, says Ms. Richards. Diet sodas contain sucralose, the most common culprit of gas and bloating. This can negate any weight loss that may occur, she adds. However, more research is warranted to understand this phenomenon.

4. May Affect Dental Health

Woman with toothache due to sucralose

Image: Shutterstock

“Although sucralose is not as bad as sugar, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can soften enamel by 30-50%. Citric acid and phosphoric acid are the main culprits behind tooth decay. Sugar is broken down by bacteria that release these acids. Unfortunately, these acids are also found in sugar-free candies and colas,” informs Evan McCarthy, a dental care expert and the founder of Sporting Smiles. However, more studies are needed to arrive at a definitive conclusion in this regard.

Wondering what to choose between sugar and artificial sugar? We have cleared this out for you in the following section.

Sucralose Vs. Sugar

Real sugar is naturally healthier, given that it is nature-derived. However, its excess intake may bring you as much trouble. Such people may switch over to artificial sweeteners like sucralose.

As stated, sucralose allows you to enjoy sweets while maintaining your blood sugar and insulin levels. It also helps you maintain a low-calorie diet. Both these goals may be difficult to be achieved with sugar. While you need to consider the drawbacks of sucralose as well, remember that it has been scientifically approved for use globally. Ms. Doebrich recommends, “According to the FDA, the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of sucralose is 5 mg/kg/day.” So, consume it, but in small amounts.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of sucralose in 15 categories of food in 1998 and as a general sweetener in 1999.

The usage of sucralose as a substitute for sugar is gaining popularity. But the question of whether sucralose is good or bad remains inconclusive. However, sucralose exhibits some positive effects. It does not affect the daily caloric intake as it does not have any calories in it. It also does not affect blood sugar levels. However, there are a few side effects associated with sucralose intake. It may kill beneficial gut bacteria, trigger bloating, be harmful if baked, and negatively affect your dental health. Hence, caution is advised while consuming it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does sucralose make you fat?

No. Sucralose provides no calories and has no major effects on body weight or fat mass (8).

Does sucralose affect the liver?/p>

Possibly. Sucralose administration had caused severe liver damage in mice (9). However, more research is warranted on humans.

Key Takeaways

  • Sucralose is a non-nutritive sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than natural sugar.
  • It may help one maintain a low-calorie diet as it does not have any calories.
  • However, sucralose contains citric acid and phosphoric acid that may accelerate tooth decay.


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  1. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for Use in Food in the United States | FDA
  2. Effect of the artificial sweetener sucralose on gastric emptying and incretin hormone release in healthy subjects
  3. Effect of the artificial sweetener sucralose on small intestinal glucose absorption in healthy human subjects
  4. Sucralose affects glycemic and hormonal responses to an oral glucose load
  5. The Impact of Artificial Sweeteners on Body Weight Control and Glucose Homeostasis
  6. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats
  7. Sucralose A Synthetic Organochlorine Sweetener: Overview of Biological Issues
  8. The Impact of Artificial Sweeteners on Body Weight Control and Glucose Homeostasis
  9. The hidden hazardous effects of stevia and sucralose consumption in male and female albino mice in comparison to sucrose
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