What is Sucrose Laurate and How Is It Used?

Sucrose laurate is a white or off-white powder made from a combination of lauric acid and sucrose that is sometimes used in certain beverages as well as in some personal care products, cosmetics and liquid medications.

Use in Food

Sucrose laurate is mainly used for emulsification, or keeping oil-based and water-based substances mixed together. In foods, this typically means keeping the colors, added nutrients and flavors of clear beverages from separating out of the liquid. Sucrose laurate can also help keep food safe when combined with pressure-assisted thermal processing treatments, as it helps inactivate the spores of certain types of bacteria that can cause food spoilage, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Protection in November 2010 3.

Food Sources

Sucrose laurate is found in some beverages, including milk, buttermilk, bottled water, soda, flavored water-based beverages, alcoholic beverages, sports drinks, tea and coffee. Sucrose laurate or other similar chemicals may also be found in some processed meats, coffee whiteners, chocolates, pastas, biscuits, breads, chewing gums and caramels.

Other Potential Uses

Sucrose laurate can help soften and condition your skin when used in beauty products. It can also act as a surfactant, or a substance that helps remove dirt or make substances foamy, which is why it is sometimes used in shampoos. A study published in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2014 found that sucrose laurate could help stabilize liquid versions of ibuprofen, such as those meant for children, making the medicine dissolve better and making it more bioavailable.

Safety Concerns

To date, there aren't any known health concerns with the use of sucrose laurate in foods, beverages and personal hygiene products. It most likely breaks down into sucrose and fatty acids in the intestinal tract, according to the European Food Safety Authority 6. The substance isn't a toxic chemical and hasn't been detected in the urine or tissues of people who use shampoos containing sucrose laurate, according to the GoodGuide website 4.

The International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences study noted that compared to other similar chemicals, it can be used in smaller amounts and has no toxicity concerns. It is also relatively free of color, smell and taste and quickly biodegrades after it is used, making it relatively environmentally friendly.