Nonnutritive Sweeteners in Breast Milk

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2015;78(16):1029-32. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2015.1053646. Epub 2015 Aug 12.


Nonnutritive sweeteners (NNS), including saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame-potassium, are commonly consumed in the general population, and all except for saccharin are considered safe for use during pregnancy and lactation. Sucralose (Splenda) currently holds the majority of the NNS market share and is often combined with acesulfame-potassium in a wide variety of foods and beverages. To date, saccharin is the only NNS reported to be found in human breast milk after maternal consumption, while there is no apparent information on the other NNS. Breast milk samples were collected from 20 lactating volunteers, irrespective of their habitual NNS intake. Saccharin, sucralose, and acesulfame-potassium were present in 65% of participants' milk samples, whereas aspartame was not detected. These data indicate that NNS are frequently ingested by nursing infants, and thus prospective clinical studies are necessary to determine whether early NNS exposure via breast milk may have clinical implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aspartame / analysis
  • Aspartame / metabolism
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners / analysis
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners / metabolism*
  • Saccharin / analysis
  • Saccharin / metabolism
  • Sucrose / analogs & derivatives
  • Sucrose / analysis
  • Sucrose / metabolism
  • Thiazines / analysis
  • Thiazines / metabolism


  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
  • Thiazines
  • Sucrose
  • trichlorosucrose
  • Saccharin
  • acetosulfame
  • Aspartame