Potential Effects of Sucralose and Saccharin on Gut Microbiota: A Review

Nutrients. 2022 Apr 18;14(8):1682. doi: 10.3390/nu14081682.


Artificial sweeteners are additives widely used in our diet. Although there is no consensus, current evidence indicates that sucralose and saccharin could influence the gut microbiota. The aim of this study was to analyze the existing scientific evidence on the effects of saccharin and sucralose consumption on gut microbiota in humans. Different databases were used with the following search terms: sweeteners, non-caloric-sweeteners, sucralose, splenda, saccharin, sugartwin, sweet'n low, microbiota, gut microbiota, humans, animal model, mice, rats, and/or in vitro studies. In vitro and animal model studies indicate a dose-dependent relationship between the intake of both sweeteners and gut microbiota affecting both diversity and composition. In humans, long-term study suggests the existence of a positive correlation between sweetener consumption and some bacterial groups; however, most short-term interventions with saccharin and sucralose, in amounts below the ADI, found no significant effect on those groups, but there seems to be a different basal microbiota-dependent response of metabolic markers. Although studies in vitro and in animal models seem to relate saccharin and sucralose consumption to changes in the gut microbiota, more long-term studies are needed in humans considering the basal microbiota of participants and their dietary and lifestyle habits in all population groups. Toxicological and basal gut microbiota effects must be included as relevant factors to evaluate food safety and nutritional consequences of non-calorie sweeteners. In humans, doses, duration of interventions, and number of subjects included in the studies are key factors to interpret the results.

Keywords: acceptable daily intake; gut microbiota; long-term studies; saccharin; short-chain fatty acids; short-term studies; sucralose.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Saccharin* / pharmacology
  • Sucrose / analogs & derivatives
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology


  • Sweetening Agents
  • Sucrose
  • trichlorosucrose
  • Saccharin