We all know how important it is to restrict our intake of sugar and sweets if we want a healthy, balanced diet. But, does that mean that artificial sweeteners are okay for us?
Well, let’s take it from the top… artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes. They can be made from chemicals or naturally existing components, like plants.
Stevia is one of the most “popular” sweeteners, but now, sucralose is the newest artificial sweetener.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this sugar substitute.
What is Sucralose?
Sucralose, often marketed as “Splenda”, differs from other sweeteners, mostly because it is derived from real sugar. That’s why those yellow packs of Splenda are widely preferred, as the taste is most similar to real sugar.
However, sucralose has been chemically altered to be around 600 times sweeter than sugar 😲 The good news here though, is that it contains nearly no calories. Yes, you read it right, almost no calories! That’s because it passes through your body instead of being stored and used later as energy.
Sucralose is utilized in a wide variety of foods such as yogurt, ice cream, and soda, since it doesn't leave an aftertaste on your tongue, like Stevia does.
Everything about it sounds amazing, right? Well… let’s get real, is it actually healthy 🤔?
Is Sucralose Healthy?
It is possible to reduce calorie intake by simply substituting sucralose for sugar. But, besides the weight loss benefits, is it safe to consume? Even though it’s been chemically altered? Yes.
Sucralose was approved for human consumption as a general sweetener by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999.
However, sucralose has been the subject of conflicting research over the years, as it has a number of potential side effects.
- Altered gut health. Many different kinds of useful bacteria, known as the microbiome, live in your gastrointestinal tract (GI). Your microbiome helps maintain a healthy immune system in your body.
But… sucralose has been proven to alter your gut microbiome, reducing the number of healthy bacteria by half 😨
- Addictive. We all know that sugar is addictive, but unfortunately, artificial sweeteners may be just as addictive. According to several studies, consuming a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners makes you crave even more sugary meals and beverages. It’ll be harder to tame that sweet tooth if you’re substituting real sugar for sucralose.
- Increased exposure to toxins. Sweeteners can be used in baking and cooking. However, sucralose is a heat-resistant sweetener that may break down at high temperatures, releasing toxic compounds that may increase your cancer risk. That’s why it is advisable to use other sweeteners when baking at temperatures above 350°F (175°C).
- Higher risk of diabetes. According to some studies, people who ingest sucralose have a far higher chance of getting diabetes. Diet soda consumption was linked to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure and obesity) and a 67 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Linked to leaky gut. As we mentioned before, our bodies can not digest sucralose. Sucralose travels through our gastrointestinal tract without decomposing. This can damage the GI tract by harming the intestinal wall, which can cause a “leaky gut”. When your intestinal barrier is impaired, toxins can enter into your bloodstream, instead of passing through your GI tract.
Foods with sucralose
Sucralose is used in a variety of food and beverage products that are often labeled as “healthier” alternatives. The shocking thing here is that sometimes you might not even realize that sucralose is in the food that you buy at the supermarket.
When food shopping, make sure to look at the ingredients label to see if the product contains sucralose 🔍 Remember that sucralose is also called Splenda.
Also, products containing sucralose are labeled as “sugar-free,” “sugarless,” or “zero calories”. Look out for these labels, because they usually indicate that some kind of artificial sweetener is used.
So, what’s the verdict?
To be completely honest, sucralose is not healthy 😞 From increased cravings to digestive problems and weight gain, sucralose doesn’t do you any favors. In fact, it impacts your health negatively in a number of ways.
Stay on track to creating a healthy lifestyle by reducing your sugar intake as much as possible. One day soon, you might be taken by surprise when you realize that you’ve completely tamed your sugar cravings 😃