One of the biggest lies in the modern world is that artificial sweeteners can prevent diabetes and obesity. These sweeteners exist in low-calorie and diet foods and beverages. Although the marketing makes it seem like these are healthier food and beverage options, there are serious health risks associated with these artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda (sucralose). Research continues to uncover the negative health effects of artificial sweeteners like sucralose.
Instead of grabbing one or two white or brown cane sugar packets, people opt for yellow or pink packets of artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda. The “sugar-free” option is a healthier substitute, or at least that’s what manufacturers want you to think. The reality is that it is better to opt for healthier sugar alternatives that provide natural sweetness, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
What Is Sucralose?
As a chlorinated sucrose derivative, sucralose is derived from sugar and contains chlorine. There is a multistep process that goes into creating sucralose. One has to replace three hydrogen-oxygen groups of sugary with chlorine atoms. This process ultimately intensifies the sweetness of sucralose, which was found via the development of an insecticide compound. Later, the public was introduced to sucralose as a “natural sugar substitute.” And in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved sucralose for use in 15 food and beverage categories. These categories included products like gum, water- and fat-based products, baked goods, frozen dairy desserts, and beverages.
Data shows that the range of product utilization with sucralose is quite extensive. It is very popular in food and beverage products because it is readily soluble with ethanol, methanol, and water. For this reason, it has applications in water- and fat-based products. Other artificial sweeteners, like saccharin and aspartame, are not as soluble.
Reasons To Avoid Sucralose
Linked To Leaky Gut Syndrome
As of now, the understanding is that the body cannot digest sucralose. It travels through the digestive tract and damages as it goes, harming the intestinal walls, which can potentially cause leaky gut syndrome. According to one animal study from Duke University, Splenda reduces beneficial bacteria in the gut and increases fecal pH levels. That indicates the amount of nutrients you can absorb in the gut.
Associated With Weight Gain
Isn’t it interesting that the food that was supposed to help you lose weight does the opposite? There are epidemiological human studies that suggest an association between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and weight gain. Artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Although these studies didn’t directly identify sucralose’s effect on weight gain, they did show that it doesn’t help with weight loss.
One study monitored two groups of children, which received either an eight-ounce can of no-calorie sweetened beverage or sugar-sweetened beverage. At the end of the study, the overall calorie consumption was greater for the group that consumed sugar-sweetened beverages. That said, the sucralose group gained more weight during the study period.
Increases Risk Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Ongoing evidence supports that sucralose may cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. One researcher made note of this years ago after examining a rapid increase of IBS among residents of Alberta, Canada. Sucralose seems to have a more detrimental effect on gut bacteria than other artificial sweeteners. A more recent study found that the use of artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, doubles the risk of Crohn’s disease.
May Increase Diabetes Risk
One study found that consuming sucralose dramatically increased the risk of diabetes. Another small study found that daily consumption of diet soda increased the risk of metabolic syndrome by 36% and type 2 diabetes by 67%. Researchers note that these findings indicate that sucralose is one of the many unexpected triggers of diabetes. The answer, then, is that sucralose is dangerous for diabetics and non-non-diabetics alike.
For the first time, researchers evaluated this phenomenon in human subjects. 17 obese and insulin-sensitive individuals took oral glucose tolerance tests after consuming sucralose with water. The tests revealed an increase in peak plasma glucose concentrations, but they also noted a 23% decrease in insulin sensitivity, which prevents glucose absorption in cells.