What Is Ace-K and Should You Avoid It

Sweeteners are sneaky and often times, artificial sweeteners are misunderstood. Acesulfame Potassium, commonly referred to as Ace-K, is an artificial sweetener, that is commonly overlooked. We’re going to talk more about the science and research behind acesulfame potassium in more detail and why you should avoid products that use this artificial sweetener. 

What Is Acesulfame Potassium 

Discovered in 1967 by a German scientist Hoechst AG, Acesulfame Potassium, or more commonly known as Ace-K, is a potassium salt. Ace-K is related to the artificial sweetener saccharin, it is often used in combination with other low or no calories sweeteners, due to its bitter aftertaste. 

Ace-K is intensely sweet. Ace-K is around 250 times sweeter than sucrose, or table sugar. Ace-K is added to a ton of packaged goods such as soft drinks, baked goods, crackers, and supplements, to enhance sweetness, yet is often overlooked by consumers. Like most artificial sweeteners. 

Acesulfame Potassium has been recognized as safe to consume by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1988. However, there are other health effects that should be considered when consuming products that contain Ace-K.

The Dangers Of Acesulfame Potassium 

A large body of evidence has shown that Ace-K can impose several negative effects on human health, including gut dysbiosis, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. 

Preliminary animal studies have shown Ace-K increases the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, decreases the expression of glucagon receptors, GLP-1R and GLP-2R, and induces small intestinal injury with an increase in intestinal permeability. The glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R) is a receptor protein found on beta cells of the pancreas and on neurons of the brain. It is involved in the control of blood sugar level by enhancing insulin secretion [R].

Hyperpermeability of the gut, is the etiology or mechanism associated with inflammatory bowel disease, like chrons, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Therefore, evidence suggests that Ace-K can disrupt metabolic processes, and interfere with gut hyperpermeability, blood sugar, and body weight.

Additional studies have shown that there is a direct correlation with Ace-K, obesity and chronic inflammation [R].

Neurometabolic effects have also been observed with the consumption of acesulfame potassium. A series of in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that acute exposure to ACK may decrease intracellular ATP production and reduce cellular viability and protective activity of neuronal cells affecting neurocognitive function [R].

A study published in the journal PLos One, investigated the long-term effects of Ace-K on neurometabolic functions in mice. The study found that extended Ace-K exposure (40 weeks) in normal C57BL/6J mice demonstrated impaired cognitive memory functions and learning localized in the hippocampus [R].

What Are Some Alternative Sweeteners 

Ace-K is used in a variety of no-calorie sweeteners, such as Equal, Swiss one, Swiss Sweet, and NutraSweet. The benefit of using a no-calorie or low-calorie is in reducing overall caloric and sugar intake, for better overall health and weight loss. The acceptable daily intake of Ace-K is 15mg/kg per day. 

Yet, there are a variety of alternative sweeteners you can use in place of Ace-K.

Other sweetener alternatives include Stevia, Monk Fruit, Sucralose (Splenda), Erythritol, or Xylitol. Or you can substitute with natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or just ordinary sugar, if you don’t mind the added calories. 

Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K): Takeaway

Although Ace-K has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe for consumption, research suggests negative health affects associated with acesulfame potassium consumption. Ace-K has been shown to affect gut hyperpermeability, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Additional research and human clinical trials are needed to verify real world results. However, your best bet is to cut out Ace-K and stay away from supplements that use it. There's no reason a supplement should at this ingredient, when there are so many others to choose from.


The Swole Kitchen provides 1:1 nutrition coaching, macro coaching, and custom meal plans to help guide you to becoming the best version of yourself. We teach you how to enjoy the foods you love in the right amounts, so you can fit into your favorite pair of jeans, hit your health and fitness goals, and be healthy and happy. We guide you through making sound nutritional decisions and teach you along the way, so you can learn how to take control of your health, and discover what if feels like to live again.

THE SWOLE KITCHEN provides 1:1 nutrition coaching, macro coaching, and custom meal plans to help guide you to becoming the best version of yourself.

We believe nutrition should be simplified and delicious. We give you the tools you’ve been missing to anticipate and meet your needs on a daily basis. Discover what if feels like to truly love your body and your life with personalized 1:1 nutrition coaching.

Tags: Nutrition