Effect of sucralose and aspartame on glucose metabolism and gut hormones

Nutr Rev. 2020 Sep 1;78(9):725-746. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuz099.


Non-nutritive sweeteners are thought to be useful replacements for caloric sweeteners in sweet food and beverages, since the reduction in energy and carbohydrate intake may lead to health benefits stemming from weight management and glycemic control. However, the potential effects of non-nutritive sweeteners on glucose metabolism and gut hormones have not been determined definitively. Here, the available evidence of the effects of aspartame and sucralose consumption on glucose metabolism and gut hormones is reviewed. A majority of studies have found that consumption of aspartame or sucralose has no effect on concentrations of blood glucose, insulin, or gut hormones; however, 2 trials have shown that aspartame consumption affects glucose, insulin, and glucagon-like peptide 1 concentrations, while only a few trials have shown that sucralose consumption affects glucose, insulin, and glucagon-like peptide 1 concentrations. One study found higher glucose concentrations after sucralose consumption, while 3 studies found lower concentrations and 33 studies found no change in glucose concentrations. Moreover, only 4 studies reported increased concentrations of glucagon-like peptide 1. Three studies reported decreased insulin sensitivity following sucralose consumption, while 1 trial reported an increase in insulin sensitivity. In summary, the evidence from the clinical trials conducted to date is contradictory because of the different protocols used.

Keywords: aspartame; glucose metabolism; low-calorie sweeteners; non-nutritive sweeteners; sucralose.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspartame / pharmacology*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners / pharmacology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sucrose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sucrose / pharmacology


  • Insulin
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
  • Sucrose
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • trichlorosucrose
  • Glucose
  • Aspartame