Physical FitnessIs there any documented health risk to sucralose?
[+7] [2] blue
[2011-03-09 00:06:17]
[ supplements health-risk ]

My protein powder lists sucralose as one of its ingredients. The powder is very sweet so I assume it must be composed of a large amount. Is there any concern in consuming large amounts of sucralose?

(1) Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar. But regardless, I would also like to know whether there are any good (peer-reviewed, large sample size, etc.) studies that found health risks about sucralose. - Matthew Read
[+7] [2011-03-09 15:06:25] Sparafusile [ACCEPTED]

Results from over 100 animal and clinical studies in the FDA approval process unanimously indicated a lack of risk associated with sucralose intake that did not significantly exceeded the estimated daily intake of 1.1 mg/kg/day.

There are also human studies:

Link to Google Scholar with more articles: [1]

From the information I gained from my quick research, I would conclude that sucralose is relatively safe. It also appears to be a good sweetener for those with diabetes.


+1 agree. They bounce back and forth on it all the time being bad for you and then ok again, and while I wouldn't have excessive amounts of it (as with anything), I'm confident that a little bit isn't going to hurt you. - Nathan Wheeler
the link for doesn't seem to work. I get an error page saying the URL is an incorrect format. Can you verify for me? - Berin Loritsch
@Berin Loritsch: I found a different link to the same article and posted a link to Google Scholar listing other articles. Some of which contradict my answer. - Sparafusile
[+2] [2011-05-16 15:09:30] YYY

Sucralose is like any other artificial sweetener; in small amounts it cannot hurt you, but if you take too much in it can cause the same slow breakdowns that people associate with overconsumption of soda, high fructose corn syrup, etc.

One of the larger concerns about sucralose from an objective perspective is that the 'safe' level keeps going down and down as the years go on. In 2003 the Canadian Diabetes Association recommended that 9mg/kg/day was a safe level of sucralose intake (2003 clinical practice guidelines, not available online from what I can see). In the adjoining 8 years, it has been downgraded and downgraded again to the 1.1mg/kg/day that Sparafusile has cited - all while manufacturers keep insisting that it is safe.

Government agencies routinely come out with studies in support of sucralose too, but they are usually so particular about their wording that they say very little about the impact to your overall health - they may say you won't die from it, but they refuse to say it will not have the negative effects detractors have pointed toward in their studies, such as enlarged liver and kidneys, shrunken thymus gland, reduced red blood cell count, etc. I always take this as a bad sign because this is exactly what happened with asbestos. There were decades of junk science that claimed asbestos wouldn't kill you. Really, they were right. Asbestos won't, but the cancer it causes certainly will.

Another problem with the consumption benchmarks is that no product will tell you how much sucralose is in it, so you cannot gauge how close or far away you are from the limit.

All of the above has been from my research on sucralose in the last 10 years or so. The following, though, is my personal experience: I must emphasize strongly that sucralose is NOT safe for diabetics. Sucralose is made by selectively chlorinating sucrose, and the ending chemical structure has free chlorides on it. These chlorides will easily break apart in your stomach and contribute to making your body more acidic (free Cl+ ions). For those of us with a glucose synthesis problem, being too acidic is a huge problem.

Even if you do not believe this, there is also the fact that since sucralose is 600 times more sweet than sugar, it will provoke a pancreatic response with even small quantities. This same phenomenon can also be found in xylitol ( source [1], and a related article on sucralose here [2]), which has a similar sweetness factor. This is in spite of the fact that neither sucralose nor xylitol has significant glycemic value. For diabetics, eating artificial sweeteners puts your pancreas under even more stress when it is the most weakened organ in your body. Diabetics need to get rid of these things completely, eat a real, natural-food diet, and exercise hard to take the strain off their weakened or disabled pancreases so they can get better, and not worse.