Which artificial sweeteners can cause insulin spikes?

  • What do you mean by "the body acts"? They don't cause insulin spikes (unless you are eating sweeteners "filled" with glucose), but other hormones react as with real sugar. Also, do you consider the gut flora to be part of the acting body or not?
    – rumtscho
    May 22, 2015 at 18:51
  • I understand that an insulin spike is a reaction to carbs, which have calories. Artificial sweeteners, since they have no calories, should thus cause no insulin spike, in theory.
    – jiniyt
    May 22, 2015 at 19:11
  • Insulin secretion is usually a reaction to carbs or fat (with the carbs causing a larger spike because of high GI) but this does not mean that it doesn't increase in other cases. Anyway, artificial sweeteners interfere with leptin signalling, I don't remember if they also do something about insulin or not. If you want to keep the question small and answerable, it's better to ask about insulin effects only. But like everything else we consume, they have tons of other effects, and the net effect on weight (which I assume you are interested in) tends to be weight gain.
    – rumtscho
    May 22, 2015 at 19:22
  • Jiniyt, As @rumtscho stated, it's better to limit yourself on the scope of your questions if you hope to have an answer. Please ask only one question at a time. Other content should be explanatory. Thanks. May 23, 2015 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


There is a good article on that in Nature, where in a study it was found that non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) in fact do lead to a rise of serum insuline levels, possibly via a induced change of the gut flora, proven by the fact that the effect could be reproduced after fecal transplantation in mice. (Full article here)

And this is about the status of scientific knowledge about it. There is a good review on the NAS topic in childrens' diets.

Also, Aspartame exposure during pregnancy has been found to reduce insulin sensitivity in male mice, thereby showing a gender difference and other side effects.

So, to answer the question: By today's knowledge it's yes, they may cause insulin spikes, but rather indirectly. But nonetheless, they produce measurable adverse effects on your glucose homeostasis, the pathways of which are still not quite clear but may - amongst others - have to do with your gut flora, your insulin receptor sensitivity or behaviourial mechanisms of the brain reacting to sweet taste.

  • From an anonymous suggested edit: "The article on that in Nature, is shown to exhibit signs of p-hacking and should not be taken as absolute proof." Jan 15, 2018 at 12:49

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