Short-term impact of sucralose consumption on the metabolic response and gut microbiome of healthy adults

Br J Nutr. 2019 Oct 28;122(8):856-862. doi: 10.1017/S0007114519001570. Epub 2019 Sep 13.


Sucralose is an artificial non-nutritive sweetener used in foods aimed to reduce sugar and energy intake. While thought to be inert, the impact of sucralose on metabolic control has shown to be the opposite. The gut microbiome has emerged as a factor shaping metabolic responses after sweetener consumption. We examined the short-term effect of sucralose consumption on glucose homeostasis and gut microbiome of healthy male volunteers. We performed a randomised, double-blind study in thirty-four subjects divided into two groups, one that was administered sucralose capsules (780 mg/d for 7 d; n 17) and a control group receiving placebo (n 17). Before and after the intervention, glycaemic and insulinaemic responses were assessed with a standard oral glucose load (75 g). Insulin resistance was determined using homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance and Matsuda indexes. The gut microbiome was evaluated before and after the intervention by 16S rRNA sequencing. During the study, body weight remained constant in both groups. Glycaemic control and insulin resistance were not affected during the 7-d period. At the phylum level, gut microbiome was not modified in any group. We classified subjects according to their change in insulinaemia after the intervention, to compare the microbiome of responders and non-responders. Independent of consuming sucralose or placebo, individuals with a higher insulinaemic response after the intervention had lower Bacteroidetes and higher Firmicutes abundances. In conclusion, consumption of high doses of sucralose for 7 d does not alter glycaemic control, insulin resistance, or gut microbiome in healthy individuals. However, it highlights the need to address individual responses to sucralose.

Keywords: Glucose control; Gut microbiome; Insulin; Non-energy artificial sweeteners; Sucralose.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Male
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / analysis
  • Sucrose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sucrose
  • trichlorosucrose