Sucralose can be found in many sugar free or low carb food options. Most people know that it is a type of artificial sweetener, though usually not a whole lot more than that. In this article we’re going to take a look at what exactly sucralose is, how it’s made, how it affects your body, and why it’s used.

What Is It?

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is actually made from sucrose, or table sugar [1]. The sucrose undergoes a controlled chemical process wherein three of the hydrogen-oxygen groups that make up the sucrose molecule are replaced with three chlorine atoms. The end result is a no-calorie sweetener that activates the same taste buds as sucrose, but is about 400 to 700 times sweeter.

What Is Its Biological Role?

Sucralose is not added to foods for any type of nutritional value, but rather to remove negative aspects of some of you favorite foods. Many of the popular foods that people like to eat taste so good due in part to sugar.

Even pasta sauce has sugar in it! In recent years, research has come to light suggesting that mainstream consumption of high amounts of sugar is a leading cause of the nation’s obesity epidemic [2], not to mention a major risk factor for a whole host of other illnesses.

Suddenly, people became wary about buying their favorite sugar-laden goodies. This is where artificial sweeteners come in. The idea is to remove the “bad” sugar and replace it with a no-calories sweetener.

Sucralose is now one of the most popular options because it is more natural than other types of sweeteners, being made from sugar, and it doesn’t have any bitter aftertaste like aspartame or other artificial options.

Some people who are not used to consuming artificial sweeteners also experience a rise in blood sugar of about 15% and a spike in insulin levels of about 20%. This effect doesn’t happen to everyone, and seems to be based on some type of seemingly unknown sensitivity to artificial sweetener.

How Does It Help Bodybuilders and People Who Work Out?

While concerns about the need for using sucralose may or may not be founded, its benefit to bodybuilders, cardio bunnies, and the rest of the population is all the same: the taste of sugar with, you know, sugar.

Whether or not you are cutting calories, most people who clock a lot of hours at the gym also try to avoid sugar. Sucralose can be a way to enjoy treats without the extra sugar/calories.

What Foods Contain It?

Sucralose is the primary ingredient in Splenda products, so that is always a sure source of this no-calorie artificial sweetener. Other sources include sugar free beverages, ice creams, cookies, snacks, etc.

These sugar free options, however, do not use sucralose exclusively and so it is always best practice to check the label on a product you’re considering buying to determine which artificial sweetener is used.

How Much Of It Do You Need?

While the FDA definitely does consider sucralose to be a safe alternative to sugar, there are no officially recognized consumption guidelines as sweeteners are not considered a part of a nutritious diet.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Much Of It?

According to the FDA there are no negative side effects [3] associated with consumption of sucralose. It is best to consult with your doctor before consuming this ingredient in the short or long term, as you circumstances may be unique.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Little Of It?

Just as the FDA does not have anything to say regarding upper limits of sucralose consumption, there is no data in terms of avoiding it. If you give credence to the finding that put the safety of this sweetener into question you can certainly avoid it without repercussion.

Final Take

Many of the additives in processed foods are not inherently good or bad; a lot of the controversy comes down to moderation and how much of your diet is composed of whole foods over their processed versions.

If you cannot have sugar, sucralose-sweetened treats give you the option to add a little bit of enjoyable variety to your diet without sacrificing your entire nutritional plan.


[1] All About Sucralose. Sucralose (Also Known As Splenda ™)., 2016

[2] World Health Organization.  WHO Urges Global Action To Curtail Consumption and Health Impact of Sugary Drinks. World Health Organization, 2016.

[3] Food And Drug Administration, US. Additional Information About High Intensity Sweeteners Permitted For Use In Food In The United States., 2015.