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We’ve got the answers to your frequently asked questions about the popular low-calorie sweetener, sucralose.
What is sucralose?
Sucralose is a no-calorie, high quality sweetener that is made from sugar and tastes like sugar. It is approximately 600 times sweeter than sugar.
How was sucralose discovered? Who discovered it? Where was it discovered? When?
Sucralose was discovered in 1976 as the result of a joint sweetener research project conducted by Tate & Lyle and Queen Elizabeth College in London, UK. The scientists, who were investigating the structure-taste relationship of the sugar molecule, discovered that by modifying the structure of sugar in a certain way they could intensify the sweet taste of sugar whilst at the same time making it non-caloric.
Sucralose and Diabetes
How is sucralose made?
Sucralose is made through a patented, multi-step process that starts with sugar and selectively replaces three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms. The result is an exceptionally stable sweetener that tastes like sugar, but without sugar’s calories.
Is sucralose a natural sweetener?
No. Sucralose is not a natural product – it is not found in nature. Although sucralose is made from sugar, the sugar molecule is chemically modified to make sucralose which is classed as an artificial sweetener.
How many calories does sucralose have?
Sucralose is not metabolized for energy in the body so it has no (zero) calories.
Exactly how sweet is sucralose?
Sucralose is, on average, about 600 times sweeter than sugar and thus only very small amounts are required to sweeten foods and beverages. For example, a standard 12-ounce can of diet soda would require only 70 milligrams (0.07g) of sucralose compared to a full-calorie version that would typically contain about 40g of sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
What are the benefits of sucralose? In what sort of foods and beverages do manufacturers use sucralose?
Sucralose is extremely versatile. Already it is being used in most food and drinks, including dairy deserts, baked goods, chewing gum, ice cream, and low carbohydrate snacks. It can be used in foods where some other sweeteners cannot. The fact that it remains sweet under high/intense heat and during long-term storage, coupled with its great sugar-like taste means sucralose is used in a vast range of reduced-calorie foods and beverages.
Sucralose is made from sugar and has a great sugar-like taste. It is also extremely versatile and can be used to replace caloric sweeteners such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup in most foods and drinks. Sucralose retains its sweetness for longer including during cooking and baking.
Find more information on sugar reduction, helpful handouts and more on managing diabetes here.
Is sucralose safe?
Sucralose is safe. This is the view of every regulatory agency that has reviewed the scientific research on the ingredient.
Were tests conducted on humans? Have there been any negative reactions reported?
Since its introduction over a decade ago, millions of people have safely enjoyed foods and beverages sweetened with sucralose. It is conclusively tested and its safety has been confirmed by regulatory authorities representing more than 80 countries worldwide.
An extensive database of scientific research demonstrates sucralose has no harmful effects and is safe for all consumers, including sensitive populations like diabetics, children and pregnant women. Sucralose requires no warning labels or health information statements.
Does sucralose cause cancer?
The short answer is no. There is no scientific proof that sucralose causes cancer in humans. Through decades of scientific research and extensive reviews of over 100 different studies, global regulatory authorities around the world have deemed sucralose safe for human consumption and support the use of sucralose and other low-calorie sweeteners in food and beverages. Even some of the most trustworthy health agencies, such as the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, agree that there is no scientific evidence that sucralose causes cancer or any other health issues. More information can be found on our Sucralose Facts page, here.
Doesn’t sucralose contain chlorine?
Yes the sucralose molecule contains three atoms of chlorine, and this is the key to how we intensify the sweetness of sugar and remove the calories.
There is no cause for concern about the safety of sucralose due to the presence of chlorine. In the case of sucralose, the addition of chlorine atoms converts sucrose (sugar) to sucralose, which is an inert, unreactive substance. The chlorine in sucralose does not separate in the body, nor does sucralose accumulate in the body. In fact, it is the presence of these chlorine atoms that prevent sucralose from being broken down in the body for energy, thus, making sucralose non-caloric.
Is the chlorine in sucralose safe?
Absolutely. This is why every regulatory authority which has reviewed the scientific data on sucralose has approved it for use as a food ingredient.
Chlorine is used to modify the structure of the sugar molecule and produce sucralose and is really the key to how the sweetness of sugar is intensified while at the same time retaining the taste of sugar and rendering it non-caloric. There is absolutely no cause for concern about the safety of sucralose due to the presence of chlorine. In the case of sucralose, the addition of chlorine atoms converts sugar to sucralose, which is an inert, nonreactive substance. The chlorine in sucralose does not separate in the body, nor does sucralose accumulate in the body.
Is the chlorine in sucralose released in the body?
No, sucralose does not break down in the body. It is not affected by the body’s digestive processes. The chlorine in sucralose does not separate in the body, nor does sucralose accumulate in the body. Only a small proportion of the sucralose that is consumed is actually absorbed and that is quickly eliminated as sucralose in the body wastes. The majority of ingested sucralose just passes through the digestive system unchanged.
Chlorine and Sucralose
How is sucralose metabolized in the body? How long does it take to break down in the body?
Sucralose enters and leaves the body as sucralose. It is not broken down in the body and does not provide any calories.
What will the long-term effects of sucralose consumption be?
Sucralose is safe. There will be no ill effects as a result of long-term sucralose consumption. Specific testing, both in animals and man, has been conducted to assure us of that. This is why over 80 countries around the world, including the UK and the US, have approved sucralose for human consumption.
How does sucralose interact with other foods/food ingredients/drugs?
Because sucralose will be used in so many different foods, potential interactions have been thoroughly investigated. These studies have shown that sucralose is an inert, nonreactive ingredient that does not interact with other food ingredients or drugs.
Was sucralose thoroughly tested?
Yes. Sucralose was tested to the satisfaction of every regulatory authority that has reviewed the data from the safety studies. Regulatory authorities worldwide have agreed and permitted sucralose to be used as a sweetener, without the need for any special warning labels of health information statements.
How was the safety of sucralose determined?
Regulatory authorities globally have very specific requirements in terms of scientific studies to demonstrate safety of new food ingredients, including sweeteners. Sucralose underwent all of the required scientific studies and the data has been reviewed by scientific experts representing regulatory authorities around the world. Every regulatory authority that has reviewed the safety data on sucralose has concluded that sucralose is safe for human consumption.
What happens to sucralose in the body?
Although sucralose is made from sugar, the body does not recognize it as sugar or a carbohydrate. It is not metabolized by the body for energy, so it is calorie-free. The vast majority of ingested sucralose is not absorbed and simply passes through the digestive system. The small amount of sucralose that is absorbed is rapidly eliminated in urine as sucralose.
Can diabetics consume sucralose?
Yes. Numerous studies have shown that sucralose is suitable for people with diabetes. Sucralose is not recognized by the body as sugar or as a carbohydrate. It is not metabolized by the body for energy and does not affect blood glucose levels. Sucralose has no effect on carbohydrate metabolism or insulin secretion and is therefore suitable for diabetics. For more information please visit The American Diabetes Association Web site www.diabetes.org and the SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Web site, www.splenda.com (See: Living with Diabetes section).
Does sucralose affect the environment?
How does sucralose enter into the environment? Is sucralose measured in the environment? Have the environmental properties of sucralose been reviewed by regulatory authorities? The Calorie Control Council sat down with Duane Huggett, PhD for a Question and Answer session.
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