Sucralose – what’s the deal?

A common question we receive goes something like this:

Typically, I don’t consume or recommend products with sucralose. Can you share more about your reasoning for using this ingredient?

Yes, absolutely.

Short version: Doses matter, ADIs (acceptable daily intake levels) are set at cautious amounts, and a 150lb person would need to consume 25-50 ORS packets per day (which would be 20,400-40,800mg of sodium) to reach the FDA’s ADI for sucralose!

Long version:

When we created the ORS formula for Ventura County Fire Dept in Spring 2020, the original version did not contain sucralose. Our excitement for the new product was crushed pretty quickly as the fire safety captains said the crew didn’t like it (basically because it wasn’t sweet enough compared to the more expensive ORS competitor). I’ve come to find out that there actually are studies about how important taste is to usage specific to ORS: (

All our sport products (Performance, Recovery, & Protein) were either sweetened with sugar, or a combo of sugar, stevia, and/or monk fruit. While trying to decide which way to go to bolster sweetness with a sugar alternative, I did a review of research and came across this super thorough paper in the Journal of Food & Chemical Toxicology: (

The authors performed a comprehensive review and came to the following conclusion:

“In conclusion, the extensive database of studies assessing genetic toxicology, short and long term safety, animal and human absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, reproductive, development, and neurological effects and, most recently human clinical trials in healthy and diabetic subjects by numerous researchers provide a clear demonstration of safety of use of sucralose as a non-caloric sweetener in foods and beverages.”

Prior to that final conclusion, they also reference usage amounts compared to the ADI.

“The results of well-conducted consumption estimates, even using conservative approaches such as use of maximum use levels, consistently find that the intakes of sucralose in all members of the population, including children and diabetics, remain well below the ADI. The current average sucralose consumption level is also less than 3 mg/kg bw/d, even at the 95th percentile of use, and including special populations such as children and persons with diabetes.”

The US FDA lists an ADI of 5mg per KG of body weight ( For comparison, one serving of Fluid Tactical ORS contains 7-14mg of sucralose, which is 2-4% ADI for a 68kg (150lb) person.

Interestingly enough, sucralose was evaluated by the EU Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) and they established an acceptable daily intake three times higher than the US FDA (15 mg/kg body weight (bw)).

Also, if you like podcasts, this topic was just reviewed on the RDs vs BS podcast where Emily Zorn and Marie Pesacreta discussed a variety of alternative sweeteners including sucralose. Here is a link to their discussion but the abridged version is that they’re fine/safe to consume up to a certain level: (

True to our name, we are happy to evolve if the information or data changes.

How does this information resonate with you? Do you have additional questions? We would love to hear your feedback!

An ORS above the rest

    Tactical ORS Formulation
    Fluid Tactical ORS is scientifically formulated for faster relief from dehydration caused by extreme workouts, heat exhaustion, vomiting, diarrhea, travel, or hangovers. It is to be consumed to relieve symptoms of dehydration such as dizziness, headache, dry mouth, muscle cramps, and fatigue. The formula was carefully designed to not only hydrate the body, but to also taste delicious so that it is easy for anyone to drink. Tactical ORS comes in four flavors: Citrus Punch, Fruit Punch, Lemon Lime, and Watermelon. Multiple rounds of taste testing were performed by collegiate athletes, working professionals, and your average Joe to hone in on the tastiest version of each flavor. The final product is a carefully formulated, delicious, and Informed Sport Certified hydration drink that all athletes and people who work in a high heat-stress environment deserve. 
    Creating the hydration drink that people deserve is all about the perfect ratio of water, electrolytes, and glucose. In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a new recommended formula for oral rehydration salts solution to aid in rehydration. This formula consists of approximately 816 mg of sodium, 370 mg of potassium, and 6.4 g of glucose per 16 ounces of water. When formulating Tactical ORS, we heavily researched the WHO’s formula and created a very similar, but much tastier version. Like the WHO, our formula has the same electrolyte content of 816 mg of Sodium and 370 mg of potassium per 16 ounces of water. However, we added a little extra glucose to help our body’s sodium-glucose co-transportation that aids in the absorption of water and to please the taste buds (Ofei, 2019). We also added 3 mg of zinc and 25% DV of vitamin C to support immune and intestinal function (Altaf, 2002).
    In order to make the drink soft yet pleasing to the palate, we added a very small amount of sucralose. Now I know some people are weary of the use of sucralose, so let me try to ease those concerns. First off, sucralose is scientifically proven to be a safe, non-caloric sugar alternative with no side effects on health. Multiple studies were performed to assess its effects on the human body’s growth, development, reproduction, immunity, and overall health status. Each study concluded that sucralose has no adverse reactions to one’s health and is a safe and effective alternative to sugar (Magnuson, 2017). Secondly, the pinch of sucralose added to our formula is a key ingredient for making a smooth, tasty drink that people will actually want to consume. If an athlete was given a bottle of ORS and couldn’t stand the taste of it, they would likely dump it out and continue down the road of dehydration. BUT, if the athlete enjoys the taste of it, they are likely to drink the whole bottle and come back for more, allowing the correct ratio of water, electrolytes, and glucose to work in their body to rehydrate their cells and recover from dehydration! 
    Another key element to the perfect ORS formula is osmolarity. The WHO recommends an ORS to be a hypotonic solution (<275 mOsmol kg −1), meaning the solution has a lower amount of solute and osmotic pressure than our blood, causing water to flow into the cells to balance the concentration gradient (Rowlands, 2021). For this reason, we made a formula with a calculated osmolarity of less than 275 mOsmol kg −1 to ensure optimal water absorption and hydration. Between the electrolytes to glucose ratio, the osmolarity, and the delicious taste, Tactical ORS was intentionally formulated to be the hydration formula that your body deserves. Your cells and your tastebuds will say thank youuuu! 
    Works Cited
  1. Magnuson, Bernadene A., et al. “Critical Review of the Current Literature on the Safety of Sucralose.” Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 106, 2017, pp. 324–355., 
  2. Oral Rehydration Salts: Production of the New ORS. World Health Organization, 2006. 
  3. Altaf, Waseem, et al. “Zinc Supplementation in Oral Rehydration Solutions: Experimental Assessment and Mechanisms of Action.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 21, no. 1, 2002, pp. 26–32., 
  4. Ofei, Sylvia Y., and George J. Fuchs. “Principles and Practice of Oral Rehydration.” Current Gastroenterology Reports, vol. 21, no. 12, 2019, 
  5. Rowlands, David S., et al. “The Hydrating Effects of Hypertonic, Isotonic and Hypotonic Sports Drinks and Waters on Central Hydration during Continuous Exercise: A Systematic Meta-Analysis and Perspective.” Sports Medicine, vol. 52, no. 2, 2021, pp. 349–375.,