Controlling blood sugar levels is essential for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The artificial sweetener sucralose, sold under the brand name Splenda, cannot be broken down by the digestive tract, so it does not directly affect blood sugar. However, sucralose can be problematic for diabetics because it can alter the body's response to sugars and also affect the bacteria that live in the stomach. As a result, diabetics should be cautious in their use of sucralose and other artificial sweeteners.
Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance
Although artificial sweeteners do not directly affect blood sugar, they can lead to chronically high blood sugar levels by inducing glucose intolerance, in which the body becomes less sensitive to insulin. A study found that artificial sweeteners change the types of bacteria in the digestive tract, resulting in glucose intolerance. As a result, use of sucralose or other artificial sweeteners could exacerbate Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by glucose intolerance.
This is possibly less of a concern for people with Type 1 diabetes, which is caused by a lack of insulin rather than a poor response to insulin. Nevertheless, diabetics of either type should be cautious when using sucralose or other artificial sweeteners and talk to their doctors about any changes in their diets.