If you are avoiding sugar (which is a good thing!), yet you substitute with sucralose—the generic name for the stuff in the yellow packets—you might want to know that researchers are concerned about the safety of this artificial sweetener based on many of its biological effects in the body. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health recently published a report in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B: Critical Reviews that summarized sucralose’s effects accordingly:

  1. Sucralose alters metabolic parameters (such as blood sugar and insulin levels), and its chronic effects on body weight are unknown.
  2. Sucralose alters expression of detoxification enzymes that control the bioavailability of other drugs and, thus, might interfere with medications.
  3. The metabolites of sucralose and the safety of these metabolites are unknown.
  4. Sucralose alters the indigenous bacterial balance in the gut. In particular, sucralose decreases the amount of beneficial Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
  5. Baking with sucralose produces metabolites known as chloropropanols, which are potentially toxic.
  6. Sucralose has been found to damage DNA.
  7. Long-term safety of sucralose is unknown and of potential concern.

The researchers call for further assessment of the safety of this food additive, which is currently not restricted in vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants, children, elderly, persons with medical conditions, and patients taking multiple medications.

If you are a fan of sucralose, consider switching to a natural alternative such as stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, or xylitol. Or better yet, get rid of that sweet tooth altogether. If you gradually wean yourself off of sweet foods, you will notice that you don’t miss the sugar. In fact, sweet foods will lose the appeal they once had.