Jun 27, 2023

Understanding the Impact of Sucralose on Gut Health and Metabolism

Sucralose is a chemical sweetener made by adding chlorine atoms to regular table sugar. The artificial sweetener isn’t recognised, or processed, by the body, so it has a zero-calorie content.

Sucralose was discovered by accident just 40-years ago, and its low cost, combined with shelf stability, has made it very popular with food and beverage producers. The sucralose market is now worth over $3.75 billion per year, but there are growing concerns about its impact on our health.

Several studies have shown that sucralose consumption has effects on glucose and insulin metabolism while disrupting the balance of the gut microbiome. Previously, animal studies demonstrated changes in the gut bacteria composition with sucralose intake, but until recently its impact on humans had remained unclear.

In this article we explore a 10-week clinical trial conducted in healthy young adults to investigate the effects of long-term low-dose sucralose ingestion on gut microbiota and its impact on glucose and insulin levels.

The Study:

The study involved 47 healthy adult volunteers aged between 18 and 35 years. They were randomly divided into two groups: a control group and a sucralose group. The control group drank water, while the sucralose group consumed a daily dose of 48 mg of sucralose, equivalent to four commercial Splenda® packets (about half the intake considered safe for most people).

The trial lasted for ten weeks, during which participants adhered to a balanced diet and avoided other non-caloric sweeteners. Before and after the study, participants underwent an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to measure how well the body responded to glucose by producing the hormone insulin. Additionally, faecal samples were collected to assess the composition of the gut microbiota.


The findings indicated that sucralose consumption for just ten weeks led to changes in the gut microbiota composition. Specifically, it resulted in a very significant (3-fold) increase in Blautia coccoides, a bacterial species belonging to the Firmicutes phylum, and a decrease in Lactobacillus acidophilus. While both of these are known as beneficial bacteria, changes in the ratio of bacterial species (known as dysbiosis) impacts the production of secondary metabolites which send signals to the rest of the body. There were no significant changes observed in Actinobacteria or Bacteroidetes.

The glucose tolerance test at the end of the study revealed that individuals who had consumed the sucralose had a reduced sensitivity to insulin and were secreting 1.7% more insulin to cope with the same load (dose) of glucose.

This indicates that even though sucralose is a zero-calorie sweetener, it still impacted the body’s ability to efficiently and effectively respond to glucose. This suggests that some level of insulin resistance had developed during the relatively short trial. There was a significant increase in the serum insulin peak at 30 minutes after the glucose load in the sucralose group, indicating an altered insulin response.


The study provides valuable insights into the impact of sucralose consumption on gut microbiota and metabolism in humans. The findings suggest that even at relatively low doses, and in just 10-weeks, sucralose induced gut dysbiosis and increased insulin secretion.


This study and several others suggest that sucralose seems to drive changes in gut microbiota composition and alter glucose metabolism by reducing insulin sensitivity.

There is increasing awareness, and growing concern, that chemical sweeteners have a previously unrecognized impact on the body.  Sucralose is referred to as a ‘non-nutritive’ sweetener because it doesn’t offer the body any nutrients or health benefits. Conversely, Dr Coy’s sugars are natural and nutritive, offering multiple health benefits including balanced blood sugar levels, enhanced fat burning, and cognitive clarity.

Learn more about the benefits of Dr Coy’s sugars and how to begin your own intelligent sugar strategy.


Méndez-García LA, Bueno-Hernández N, Cid-Soto MA, De León KL, Mendoza-Martínez VM, Espinosa-Flores AJ, Carrero-Aguirre M, Esquivel-Velázquez M, León-Hernández M, Viurcos-Sanabria R, Ruíz-Barranco A, Cota-Arce JM, Álvarez-Lee A, De León-Nava MA, Meléndez G, Escobedo G. Ten-Week Sucralose Consumption Induces Gut Dysbiosis and Altered Glucose and Insulin Levels in Healthy Young Adults. Microorganisms. 2022 Feb 14;10(2):434. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms10020434. PMID: 35208888; PMCID: PMC8880058.

Additional Info:

Malkan S. Sucralose: Emerging science reveals health risks. U.S. Right to Know.

“In May 2023, the World Health Organization advised people not to consume non-sugar sweeteners, including sucralose, for weight loss. The recommendation is based on a systematic review of the most current scientific evidence, which suggests that consumption of non-sugar sweeteners is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality, as well as increased body weight.”

  • “The Food and Drug Administration approved sucralose for use in 1998….of the over 100 studies FDA reviewed at the time, none involved humans, only three lasted more than a year…. Subsequent studies, including longitudinal ones involving human populations, have linked sucralose to a range of health problems. FDA has not reevaluated its authorization with the current science. FDA’s 1998 authorization claims that “sucralose is relatively poorly absorbed” into the body. Recent science casts doubt on that claim.”


Azad MB, Abou-Setta AM, Chauhan BF, et al. Nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies. CMAJ. 2017;189(28):E929-E939.

“Evidence from RCTs does not clearly support the intended benefits of nonnutritive sweeteners for weight management, and observational data suggest that routine intake of nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with increased BMI and cardiometabolic risk.”

Debras C, Chazelas E, Srour B, et al. Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk: Results from the NutriNet-Santé population-based cohort study. PLOS Medicine. 2022;19(3):e1003950.

In this large cohort study [102,865 adults], artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame and acesulfame-K), which are used in many food and beverage brands worldwide, were associated with increased cancer risk. These findings provide important and novel insights for the ongoing re-evaluation of food additive sweeteners by the European Food Safety Authority and other health agencies globally.”