Sucralose exposure common in healthy young adults
Instructions to avoid low-calorie sweeteners (LCSs) are ineffective, according to a study, adding that nondietary sources such as personal care products may significantly contribute to overall exposure.
Researchers enrolled a total of 18 healthy “nonconsumers” (<1 food or beverage with LCSs/mo; aged 18 to 35 years) in a 2-week trial that assessed the effects of LCSs on the gut microbiota and consisted of three visits.
Participants were advised extensively about avoiding LCSs at baseline. After the run-in, they were randomized to consume diet soda containing sucralose or carbonated water (control) three times per day for 1 week. Participants kept food diaries throughout the study, and a spot urine sample was taken at each visit.
“Despite the selection of healthy volunteers with minimal reported LCS consumption, more than one-third were exposed to sucralose at baseline and/or before randomization, and nearly half were exposed after assignment to the control,” researchers said.
There were eight participants who had sucralose in their urine (29.9 to 239.0 ng/mL; mean 111.4 ng/mL) at baseline. After the run-in, sucralose was detected in eight individuals, two of whom did not have detectable sucralose at baseline (25.0 to 1,062.0 ng/mL; mean 191.7 ng/mL). Only one participant reported consuming an LCS-containing food prior to her visit.
After the intervention, sucralose was found in three individuals randomized to receive carbonated water (26 to 121 ng/mL; mean 60.7 ng/mL).
LCSs are found in many foods and beverages, but consumers may not be aware of their presence. Also, the role of LCSs in appetite, weight and health remains controversial, according to researchers.