Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that may help people living with diabetes reduce their sugar intake. However, recent research suggests possible adverse health effects from consuming sucralose.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that can cause serious health problems. The condition develops when people cannot produce or effectively use the hormone insulin. This hormone is responsible for helping cells use glucose for energy.

As such, it can affect a person’s blood sugar levels. To help manage the condition, people need to be mindful of how much sugar they consume. Sucralose is a zero or low calorie artificial sweetener. Many foods and beverages contain sucralose as a sugar substitute.

Read on to learn more about how sucralose may affect people living with diabetes.

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Sucralose is a low calorie high intensity sweetener (LCS). An LCS is an artificial sweetener that contains few or no calories and is highly sweet per gram.

Sucralose is the LCS that people most commonly use worldwide. A popular brand of sucralose is Splenda.

An LCS mimics the sweet taste of sugar but has a negligible effect on a person’s energy intake. For this reason, people with metabolic conditions, such as diabetes, may consume sucralose instead of other sugars.

Using an LCS such as sucralose as a sugar substitute may help treat a person’s diabetes. A lower calorie diet can help people prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.

However, scientists have carried out studies investigating how sucralose affects people with diabetes. Although research is ongoing, some studies indicate that consuming sucralose may impair a person’s glycemic response.

A 2018 article suggests that regularly consuming sucralose may lead to developing insulin resistance, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, its authors also note that other studies contradict these findings and recommend more research.

Is sucralose safe to consume?

All forms of LCS manufacturers add to food in the United States must be safe for consumption under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stipulates certain conditions for human consumption, such as acceptable daily intake levels.

The FDA continues to monitor the latest science available on LCSs, such as sucralose.

FDA researchers also regularly reassess the science of the safety of LCSs. Based on the currently available scientific evidence, the FDA states that authorized LCSs, including sucralose, are safe for the general population.

Having high levels of added sugar in a person’s diet increases their risk of developing conditions such as diabetes.

LCSs taste sweet but have a very low calorie content. For this reason, producers have recently begun using them more commonly in foods and beverages. People may use them to reduce the amount of sugar in their diet.

Scientists continue to investigate the potential risks of sucralose. Some research suggests that consuming LCS beverages may increase:

It may even increase mortality risk.

However, the researchers note that interpreting these findings is complex and more research is necessary. For example, people who already have type 2 diabetes or who are overweight may be more likely to consume LCS beverages.

Despite this, they note that there was enough consistent evidence across research to investigate their effects further.

According to the National Cancer Institute, studies have found no evidence that sucralose causes cancer. It also notes that some trials indicate that people who drank beverages with LCSs had a significant increase in body weight. However, other trials found that drinking beverages with LCSs instead of sugar may slightly improve body weight.

Sucralose has FDA approval. However, recent research suggests that impurities present in sucralose may cause health damage.

For example, a 2023 study indicates that sucralose-6-acetate, an impurity in sucralose, may harm a person’s gut health and cause DNA damage. This damage could lead to an increased risk of cancer.

However, the study only examined the effect of sucralose-6-acetate on blood cells in laboratory experiments. Still, the researchers indicate that the findings raised health and safety concerns regarding sucralose in food and suggest that a regulatory review may be necessary.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also recently advised against using LCSs for weight control. They suggest that LCSs do not provide any long-term benefits for reducing body fat. Evidence also suggests there may be potential undesirable long-term effects from the use of LCSs, such as increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Sucralose has FDA approval for human consumption. As sucralose is an artificial sweetener with a very low calorie content, people living with diabetes may consume it to help reduce their sugar and calorie intake. It may also benefit individuals with metabolic syndrome and risk factors for excess weight to replace added sugars with sucralose.

However, recent and ongoing research suggests sucralose may cause adverse effects for people living with diabetes. Scientists continue to investigate sucralose’s effects on people with and without diabetes. The FDA also continually monitors and reviews scientific evidence concerning food additives such as sucralose.