New ex-vivo study on low and no calorie sweeteners finds positive impact or no impact on human gut microbiota

| Filed in:

6 February 2024, London, UK: A new, first-of-its-kind study has identified unique and potentially beneficial interactions between certain low and no calorie sweeteners, including stevia, and the human gut microbiota. Tate & Lyle PLC (Tate & Lyle), a world leader in ingredient solutions for healthier food and drink, partnered with Cryptobiotix, pioneers in preclinical gastrointestinal research, on the study.

Close-up of a woman's hands holding a yoghurt pot while reading the label

Tate & Lyle and Cryptobiotix’s breakthrough ex-vivo* study shows that sucralose does not impact the gut microbiota, while other low and no calorie sweeteners have potentially beneficial health effects.

Dr. Davide Risso, molecular biology specialist and Tate & Lyle’s Head of Nutrition Research, led the project to explore the potential impact of certain low and no calorie sweeteners on the gut environment in both healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes. The research involved taking samples from co-living adults consuming a similar diet – to lower the potential variation introduced by differences in long-term diet, a major driver of microbiota composition. The doses of low and no calorie sweeteners used were based on actual intakes, regulations and amounts that are generally included in foods and beverages during different timepoints.

Results from the pre-clinical study, published in the leading peer reviewed, open-access journal the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, found that some of the studied low calorie and no calorie sweeteners had no impact on the gut microbiota, while others had potential beneficial health effects.

Cryptobionix logo

Using Cryptobiotix’s cutting-edge SIFR® (“cipher”) technology to recreate the gut environment outside of the human body, the research partners found that sweeteners, such as sucralose, do not impact the microbial composition of the gut. Furthermore, other sweeteners, including stevia, have a beneficial impact on the gut microbiota as they were found to be easily fermented and increase the density of certain health-supporting bacteria, with the production of short-chain fatty acids.

The study adds to the strong scientific evidence demonstrating the beneficial role low and no calorie sweeteners can play when used as a part of a balanced diet. Assessments of additional low and no calorie sweeteners, including allulose and erythritol, are being completed and details will be shared in due course.

Dr. Davide Risso, Tate & Lyle’s Head of Nutrition Research, said:
“In this study, the low and no calorie sweeteners we have assessed are shown to have either no impact on the gut microbiota or to offer potential health benefits beyond their established sugar and calorie reduction benefits. Human clinical trials will be required to confirm the potential health benefits. At Tate & Lyle, we’re committed to advancing understanding around the role of low and no calorie sweeteners in the diet and sharing knowledge in this emerging field as a purpose-led, science-driven company.”

Dr Pieter Van den Abbeele, Cryptobiotix’s Chief Scientific Officer, said:
"Cryptobiotix was founded with the ambition of providing accurate insights into the impact and behaviour of ingredients in relation to the gut microbiome. This study provides much-needed evidence to consider the potential benefits of sweeteners individually, rather than as a uniform whole. The robustness and validation work that went into the SIFR® technology used, allowed us to pinpoint specific health-promoting pathways in relation to specific low and no calorie sweeteners."

*In ex vivo studies, living tissues are directly taken from a living organism and studied in a laboratory with minimal alterations to the organism’s natural conditions.


Notes to editors:

Press Contacts:
Maxine Boersma
Senior Manager, Global Corporate PR, Tate & Lyle
+44(0)7502 919579

Aurélien Baudot
CEO & co-founder, Cryptobiotix
+32 494 928 327

About Cryptobiotix:

Cryptobiotix is a preclinical CRO providing research services to in functional foods and therapeutic products, across foodtech, biotech and pharma. It was founded with a focus on researching the interactions between gut modulators, ranging from whole food to specific ingredients like probiotics or APIs. At the heart of their approach, the SIFR® technology (Systemic Intestinal Fermentation Research), a pipeline developed and validated to predict in the lab how individuals would react in real life. Additionally, through lab automation, the validated SIFR® pipeline enables an unmatched throughput that helps generate data across individuals for all the investigated products. To support this unique pipeline, Cryptobiotix relies on an empowered team devoted to curiously explore the world of the gut microbiome, taking the path less travelled, while maintaining the highest industry and deontological standards.

At preclinical stage, they address two key elements: the discovery of lead products and the unravelling their mechanism of action. They achieve this through tailor-made experimental design, analytics across omics and host-microbiome interactions as well as compelling preclinical storytelling. From early R&D screening to in-depth characterisation, Cryptobiotix addresses specific research questions and provides the answers to accelerate and de-risk gut health product development. For more information, please visit or follow Cryptobiotix on Linkedin

Click here for our press image gallery

About Tate & Lyle: 
Supported by our 160-year history of ingredient innovation, we partner with customers to provide consumers with healthier and tastier choices when they eat and drink. We are proud that millions of people around the world consume products containing our ingredients every day.

Through our expertise in sweetening, fortification, and texture, we develop ingredient solutions which reduce sugar, calories, and fat, add fibre and protein, and provide texture and stability in categories including beverages, dairy, bakery, snacks, soups, sauces, and dressings.

We have more than 3,500 employees working in around 57 locations across 39 countries. Science, Solutions, Society is our brand promise and how we will achieve our purpose of Transforming Lives Through the Science of Food. By living our purpose we believe we can successfully grow our business and have a positive impact on society. We live our purpose in three ways, by supporting healthy living, building thriving communities and caring for our planet.

Tate & Lyle is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol TATE.L. American Depositary Receipts trade under TATYY. In the year to 31 March 2023, Tate & Lyle revenue from continuing operations totalled £1.75 billion. For more information, please visit or follow Tate & Lyle on LinkedinX (Twitter)Facebook or YouTube

Nutrition Centre logo 2023

Nutrition plays a key role in consumers’ lives

We address the health and nutritional needs of your consumers using our science-based innovative ingredient solutions. Discover how in our Nutrition Centre...