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HomeHealth articlesblood sugar levelsWhat Is the Impact of Artificial Sweeteners on Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels?

Artificial Sweeteners - Impact on Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels

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Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes and non-nutritive sweeteners that offer the sweetness of sugar without calories. Read the article to know more.

Written by

Dr. Swathi. R

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Shaikh Sadaf

Published At May 18, 2023
Reviewed AtMay 18, 2023


The incidence of diabetes mellitus has increased over the last few years, mainly due to one's eating habits and physical activity. This may also include the artificial sweetening agents that were broadly replaced by other forms of sugar, which have a paradoxical, negative effect on blood glucose. Ingestion of these artificial sweeteners results in the release of insulin from the pancreas, which is mistaken for glucose due to the sweet taste. Increased insulin levels in the blood may eventually lead to decreased receptor activity due to insulin resistance.

In addition, artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than sugar. Only a small amount of artificial sweeteners are used in sweeteners to sweeten the food, so food can be made with artificial sweeteners that have relatively lesser calories than those prepared with sugar. These sugar substitutes do not affect the blood sugar level. In addition, most artificial sweeteners are considered free foods. They may contain fewer calories than 20 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates or fewer on a diabetes exchange. But the other ingredients in foods that have artificial sweeteners may still affect one's blood sugar level. Also, sugar alcohols may increase the blood sugar level, including sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol. And in some people, the sugar alcohol may cause diarrhea.

What Are Artificial Sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners stimulate the tongue's taste receptors. They are often called non nutritive or low calorie sweets. Artificial sweeteners give a sweet taste without any added calories. Therefore, they are often added to other foods marked as health or diet products. Even chewing gums, desserts, nonfood items, and even toothpaste may contain artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners most commonly used are listed below:

  • Saccharin.

  • Neotame.

  • Acesulfame potassium.

  • Neotame.

  • Aspartame.

What Will Cause the Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels to Rise?

One has tightly controlled mechanisms for keeping one's body's blood sugar levels stable. Blood sugar levels may increase when we eat foods containing carbohydrates. Such as:

  • Pasta.

  • Sweets.

  • Bread.

Potatoes are high in carbohydrates. When they are digested, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar and absorbed into the bloodstream, increasing blood glucose sugar levels. When one's blood glucose levels increase, the body releases insulin. Insulin is a key hormone. It allows the blood sugar to leave the blood and facilitates its entry into the cells and tissues, where it is used for energy comsumption or converted and stored as fat. However, minimum amount of insulin is released even before any sugar or glucose enters into the circulating bloodstream. The response is known as a cephalic phase insulin release. It is triggered by the smell, sight, and taste of food, as well as by swallowing and chewing. The blood sugar level drops too low when the liver releases stored sugar to stabilize it. This happens when one fasts for a prolonged period overnight. These theories are based on how artificial sweeteners interfere with increasing blood sugar levels.

  1. Regular use changes the balance of the gut bacteria. This could make the cells resistant to the insulin one produces, leading to increased blood sugar and insulin levels.

  2. The sweeter taste of the artificial sweeteners may trigger cephalic phase where the insulin release, causing a small rise in the insulin levels.

Do Artificial Sweeteners Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

Artificial sweeteners will not raise one's blood glucose levels in a shorter time. So one can drink diet coke, for example, without causing a rise in blood sugar. Artificial sweeteners change gut bacteria. When a mouse was fed artificial sweeteners for 11 weeks, there were negative changes in the gut microbiome that resulted in elevated blood sugar levels. When implanted, the bacteria from the mice were germ-free mice, and they also had increased blood sugar levels.

Will Artificial Sweeteners Raise Insulin Levels?

Studies on artificial sweeteners and insulin levels may show mixed results. The effects also may vary between the various types of artificial sweeteners:

  • Sucralose: In both human and animal studies, it shows where there is a link between the ingestion of sucralose with raised insulin levels. Either sucralose or water are administered in a glucose intolerance test. Those given sucralose have higher blood insulin levels as they slowly clear the insulin from their bodies. Sucralose and saccharin are heat stable and are easiest to use for cooking and baking.

  • Saccharine: It stimulates the effect of sweet receptors present in the mouth which results in increased insulin levels. Therefore, mouth washing with saccharin solution cause the insulin level to rise.

  • Aspartame: Some studies show that Aspartame is not linked with raised insulin levels. Nevertheless, Aspartame is well known as the most controversial artificial sweetener.

  • Acesulfame Potassium: The effect of Acesulfame- K on insulin levels in humans is unknown. Acesulfame potassium may increase insulin levels in rats. Injecting a large amount of Acesulfame - k affected the insulin levels. Sucralose may increase insulin levels by triggering the receptors in the mouth. Few high-quality human trials were still being determined whether other artificial sweeteners have similar effects.

Can One Use Artificial Sweeteners If Suffering From Diabetes?

Artificial sweeteners do not increase blood sugar levels. Hence, they are preferred as safe sweetening alternatives for people with diabetes. People with diabetes have abnormal blood sugar control due to insulin deficiency or increased insulin resistance. In the short term, artificial sweeteners would not raise one's blood sugar levels, unlike intakes of sugar. Therefore, they are considered safe for people with diabetes. However, their implications on health on long-term use still needs to be explored.

Does One Avoid Artificial Sweeteners?

There is no strong evidence that one should stop having it. On the contrary, artificial sweeteners have been declared safe by regulatory bodies in Europe and the United States countries. However, they also say that health claims and long-term safety concerns require more research. And also, artificial sweeteners may not be healthy; they were, at the very least, significantly less bad than refined sugar if one was eating them as part of a balanced diet.


The effects of artificial sweeteners present in the blood vary depending on the type of sweetener. Patients who consumed artificial sweetening agents had higher insulin resistance than those who had no artificial sweeteners. More studies were required to conclude the direct correlation of artificial sweeteners with decreased insulin sensitivity.

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Dr. Shaikh Sadaf
Dr. Shaikh Sadaf



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