Can Sucralose Help You Lose Weight?

sucralose weight loss weight gain

Does the nonnutritive, no-calorie sweetener sucralose really help you lose weight? Many people use low- or no-calorie sweeteners because they want to avoid the calories that natural sugar, aka sucrose, provides. How does sucralose compare with sucrose? Scientists have explored these and other questions in numerous studies, the most recent of which appeared in the JAMA Network Open.

First, however, let’s learn a little about sucrose and sucralose.

What is sucrose?

Sucrose, also known as table sugar, sugar, or granulated sugar, is a type of carbohydrate composed of glucose and fructose. It occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and is also made commercially from sugar beets and sugar cane. Sucrose is considered a natural sugar when you consume it from whole foods (e.g., apples, carrots) and as added sugar when it’s found in processed or refined foods (e.g., soda, condiments, canned foods). 

Read about new research shows sucralose does affect blood sugar and insulin

What is sucralose?

Sucralose is an extremely sweet (600 times sweeter than sugar) nonnutritive sweetener that actually begins its life as sugar. However, through the magic of chemistry, three specific hydroxyl groups on the sucrose molecule are eliminated and replaced with three chlorine atoms. This structural change prevents enzymes in the digestive tract from metabolizing the molecule so nearly all of the sucralose you consume leaves the body in stool while the rest is excreted in the urine. 

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Questions about the safety of sucralose and other artificial sweeteners are often asked. In the case of sucralose, the FDA has stated that it is GRAS (generally regarded as safe). However, there is evidence that sucralose may elevate insulin and blood glucose levels in some individuals.

A new study on sucrose and sucralose

In a new study published in JAMA Network Open, investigators explored the impact of sucrose and sucralose on healthy young men and women, some of whom were obese, in a randomized, crossover trial. On three separate occasions, the participants were given a drink that contained either sucrose, sucralose, or water. 

Read about 5 artificial sweeteners that are (probably) making you fat

The goal was to look at how individuals’ brains responded to sucrose and sucralose and how their eating behaviors might change after consuming these sugars. The authors found that obesity and being female were both associated with greater responses in the brain to food in general as well as sweet food cues when the women consumed sucralose versus sucrose. The men did not have these responses. Women also consumed more calories in a meal after drinking sucralose when compared with drinking sucrose. 

Bottom line

Based on the findings of this recent study, it appears that the non-calorie sweetener sucralose may cause women, and obese women, in particular, to be more attracted to food and to consume more calories than they would if they consumer sucrose (e.g., table sugar). While sucrose has calories and sucralose does not, this information is important to consider, especially among women who choose to consume sucralose.

It’s also important to note that it’s possible that frequent use of artificial sweeteners like sucralose may increase your desire for sweet foods in general, which could jeopardize your efforts to lose weight. All of these factors, as well as the health concerns associated with sucralose use, are reasons to pause before using this artificial sweetener.

Everything you need to know about sucralose. Food Insight 2021 Apr 28
Palsdottir H. Sucralose (Splenda): Good or bad? Healthline 2020 Jan 31
Yunker AG et al. Obesity and sex-related associations with differential effects of sucralose vs sucrose on appetite and reward processing: a randomized crossover trial. JAMA Network Open 2021 Sep 28
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Lisa Roth Collins is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and is the Marketing Manager at She is passionate about health and wellness and tries her best to make healthier choices every day for herself and her family. Her journey to natural health was driven by her own struggles with digestive discomfort, depression, and anxiety. Lisa returned to school in 2014 to study nutrition at the Canadian School for Natural Nutrition. She threw herself into her studies so she could learn as much as she could to help herself feel better and thrive. Upon completing the program and being certified as an RHN, Lisa began her work at Naturally Savvy where she has been able to help so many people learn to make healthier choices for themselves. Through her work, she has connected with so many incredible people in the industry whether other authors, influencers, or brands. Plus, she is affectionately known as "Techie Spice" because of her ability to wrap her head around technology. Every day she gets up with a renewed sense of energy and ready to make a difference. You can read all of Lisa's content here. In her spare time, Lisa loves to try new recipes, make delicious and nourishing meals, and she is an avid reader. For more information about Lisa, check out her profile on here.