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Does Sucralose Have Digestive Side Effects?

By Andrea Johnson ; Updated August 14, 2017

Sucralose, a white crystalline powder made from sucrose, is used as a low-calorie sweetener according to Medline Plus. Sucralose tastes much sweeter than sucrose since it is 600 times sweeter. Sucralose is used in products which need a longer shelf life and in baked products. The use of sucralose can have digestive side effects.

Gut Bacteria

A balance of beneficial bacteria is necessary for normal gut function. Sucralose may compromise the bacteria in the gut. A 2008 study in "The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health" led by researcher Abou Donia explains sucralose given to rats for 12 weeks reduces the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Beneficial bacteria helps the immune system to function properly, synthesizes vitamins, improves digestion and fights off bad bacteria. Therefore, maintaining needed bacteria is critical to health.

Gastrointestinal Upset

Gastrointestinal symptoms can result due to eating sucralose. Womentowomen.com lists several symptoms of gastrointestinal upset such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and nausea. Digestive side effects are unlikely and sucralose is safe according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sucralose consumed in moderation is the key to preventing digestive side effects.

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Colon Damage

Damage to the colon is a risk of eating large amounts of sucralose. Rats were given sucralose in a study in the 2002 "Mutation Research" journal led by researcher Sasaki. The effects of the large amount of sucralose given to the rats results in DNA damage to the colon. Any damage to the colon can potentially lead to digestive problems. Moderation is recommended when using sucralose.

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