Side effects of sucralose, The negative effects of sugar on the body such as diabetes, high blood pressure, impaired cognitive function, inflammation, and liver disease have made lots of people avoid their love for sugary substances to a more subtle approach which is the use of artificial sweetener.
Artificial sweeteners are used in place of sugar, they are the substitution or alternative to sugar hence the name sugar substitute. They are chemicals added to certain foods and beverages in order to add a sweet taste to them.
Most times Artificial sweeteners are referred to as natural sugar even though they have been processed and refined. Artificial sweeteners is derived from naturally occurring substances e.g. Sucralose is derived from sugar.
A lot of processed food like chips, dairy products, cookies, drinks, and even toothpaste contains artificial sweeteners.
The surface of the tongue is made of taste receptors that react to salty, sour, bitter, or sweet. The taste receptors of the tongue recognize Artificial sweeteners as having a sweet taste. This makes them a hundred or a thousand times sweeter than sugar and earned them the name “intense sweeteners”.
There are quite a lot of artificial sweeteners in the world but the Food and drug administration (FDA) has approved over 6 artificial sweeteners.
More sweeter than table sugar.
Sweet one, sunnet
Sweet’N low, nectar sweet and sweet twin
Sugar substitutes add very little or no amount of calories to our diet. Therefore, the products that contain them are recognized as healthy foods.
The sugar substitute industry is rapidly growing as a lot of people now prefer sweetness with zero calories to added sugar. In May 2020, the worth of the sugar substitute industry has been predicted to rise to about USD 10.27 billion by the end of 2026.
Sucralose is one of the few artificial sweeteners approved in 1999 by the FDA, it is considered safe and healthy. Recent studies by different researchers is making many users of sucralose question the authenticity of the product.
Sucralose is not a natural product though it is derived from a naturally occurring substance ( I.e. sugar). It is manufactured by the combination of molecules of sugar and chlorine. It contributes to the sweetness of certain food (processed food), cakes, drinks without adding extra carbs or calories.
Sucralose is produced by the chlorination of sucrose, it is also over a thousand times sweeter than sucrose. The chemical process begins with sucrose( I.e. the normal table sugar).
The manufacturing of Sucralose requires a multi-step patented process i.e 3 hydrogen oxygen group from the sucrose molecule are replaced with chlorine atoms. This replacement of hydrogen oxygen atoms with chlorine atoms results in a non-calorie artificial sweetener that is over 600 times sweeter than the regular table sugar.
The brand name in which sucralose is generally known as is Splenda.
It will interest you to know that the manufacturing of sucralose was not a planned or intentional decision it just happened during the chemical production of another completely different chemical substance.
According to the history, Queen Elizabeth College and Tate & Lyle were conducting research when a supposedly harmful laboratory accident occurred.
It was basically a homophone mistake, an instruction was given out by the instructor saying “test” but a scientist heard “taste”. In other cases, this could have led to something bad but instead, he discovered that the mixture was very sweet.
Sucralose was produced by two companies, Tate& Lyle and Johnson & Johnson, the sugar substitute was introduced into the United State of America in the year 1999.
The artificial sweetener and sugar substitute sucralose are low in calorie and it is mostly used in baking and cooking. Lots of processed food contain little quantities of sucralose
This is due to the shelf stability of sucralose, it also stable at a high temperature. However, recent studies have shown that temperature higher than 119°c can break down sucralose.
Most artificial sweeteners have an afterward bitter taste(I.e they taste sweet during consumption but leave behind a bitter taste). Sucralose does not have an afterward bitter taste, it is 600 times sweeter than the regular table sugar.
A packet of Splenda(most common brand product of sucralose), is about 12mg and the acceptable daily intake of Sucralose is about 5mg.
The majority of Sucralose just passes through the body, the structure of sucralose prevents it from breaking down(digestion) or been stored by the body for energy. A little amount of sucralose can be absorbed by the body but it is not broken down to give energy.
Splenda is required in very little amount in our diet, it’s already highly sweetened you do not need to pour a 12mg of Splenda into a little cup of tea.
Sucralose is popular among other no- caloric sugar substitute due to difference in its taste and stability (temperature and shelf).
It is advantageous over sucrose as it has low calorie, doesn’t lead to the formation of dental cavities, has long shelf stability, safe for people with diabetes, and taste like the regular table sugar.
USES OF SUCRALOSE
Sucralose is present in lots of processed food and drinks we consume, it is combined with dextrose to produce Splenda which is marketed and distributed around the world as an artificial sweetener.
Sucralose is used as a sugar substitute in many beverages due it its low calorie content. It is also considered safe for diabetic patients, it doesn’t lead to the formation of cavities in the teeth and some research has proven that it doesn’t increase blood sugar or insulin levels but there is an exception as Splenda contains dextrose and maltodextrin which elevates insulin levels.
2 Processed foods:
Certain products like cookies, chocolate, cake, canned food, and drink contain the low-calorie artificial sweetener Sucralose. Splenda is also made from sucralose.
It is produced by the combination of sucralose with dextrose and maltodextrin then it is packaged and sold as a sugar substitute.
Sucralose is used in cooking and baking, it is available in a granulated form unlike sucrose (regular table sugar) that melts when a higher temperature is introduced, sucralose does not dissolve when exposed to a temperature lower than 119°C.
SIDE EFFECTS OF SUCRALOSE
Although sucralose is a no-calorie artificial sweetener that has been approved by the FDA, recent studies have shown that sucralose is quite harmful to health.
Sucralose does not require digestion and has a stable shelf life and temperature.
Research has shown that sucralose affects, the bacteria in the gut increases blood sugar and insulin levels, and releases some harmful compounds when exposed to high temperatures.
Possible negative effects of Sucralose includes;
1 Gastrointestinal health:
Does sucralose really affects the gut, how does that happen since it’s not digested by the body?
The gastrointestinal tract is the home to many beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria, lactic acid bacteria, these bacteria plays a vital role in digestion and also helps in the proper functioning of the immune system.
A recent study has shown that Sucralose reduces these healthy bacteria and leaves the harmful bacteria, weeks after sucralose intake was discontinued the bacteria level was still reduced. This shows that the gut was still affected by the sucralose consumed.
This experiment was carried in a rat, therefore human studies still need to be conducted.
2 Elevated level of glucose and insulin in the blood.
There is a controversy around the claim that sucralose elevates the level of glucose and insulin in the blood.
Some research has shown that sucralose does not increase the blood sugar or glucose level, according to the study it plays a role in improving glycemic control.
Other research claims that sucralose actually increases the blood sugar and insulin levels of a person during the initial consumption of sucralose I.e. the blood sugar or insulin level of a person that recently started taking sucralose may increase.
A research conducted on 17 humans showed an increase in blood sugar of people who just started taking sucralose but there was no increase in those that have been continuously consuming sucralose.
3 Release of Harmful substances
One of the proposed use of Splenda is for cooking and baking. Sucralose was more preferred to another sugar substitute because it has high stability when exposed to high temperatures however, recent studies have shown that heating sucralose with glycerol leads to the degradation and release of chloropropanol which is highly toxic.
Chloropropanol is a toxic food contaminant that has a negative impact on the body, studies have shown that it is carcinogenic among other negative effects it has on health.
If you are unsure about the reliability of sucralose due to the controversy arising from different research and studies, you should probably avoid the entire product.
IS Sucralose safe
Due to the claims of recent research and studies, most people that regularly consume sucralose are scared. They are no longer sure if sucralose is as safe as they once thought it once.
Sucralose is extremely controversial, there is diverse research that supports the harmlessness of the no-calorie sweetener but recent studies are constantly opposing this claim.
Recent research claims that sucralose stable temperature is actually not that stable as it can degrade and produce a carcinogen known as chloropropanol.
The claims also state that sucralose affects the gastrointestinal tract negatively and increases blood sugar levels.
Despite the claims of these recent studies FDA still considers sucralose to be a safe sugar substitute.
They have also approved the use of sucralose as a safe product that can be consumed.
The FDA also stated that the accepted daily intake of sucralose is 5mg/kg, this is a lot lesser than the amount that research has found safe and appropriate. In the world, the ADI(acceptable daily intake) of sucralose remains lesser than the quantity that studies have been found safe enough to consume.
Can kids take sucralose?
Parents are trying to curb the level of sugar their kids consume as research has shown that the calories in kids’ food is primarily from sugar.
There are limited studies as to the ADI or long term effects of Sucralose on kids.
Sucralose does not lead to the formation of dental cavities, it is also low in calories while providing sweetness, therefore it can be added to children’s food to reduce the sugar content they consume regularly.
Though artificial sweeteners are safe for kids with the exception of kids with phenylketonuria, it is more advisable to stick to healthy food recipes for kids.
Is sucralose safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers?
Pregnant and lactating mothers are always concerned about what to eat in order to avoid hurting their babies as the babies still rely on what they ingest to get nutrition.
Research has shown that sucralose does not have any adverse effects on pregnant or nursing mothers and their babies. Side effects of taking sucralose in a pregnant or lactating mother have not yet been discovered.
The amount of sucralose absorbed by the body is very minimal, therefore only a little percentage is present in the breast milk.
Pregnant women and lactating mothers are advised to eat a balanced diet that comprises of all the necessary nutrients the baby require to grow and develop properly without any impaired function as a result of a deficiency in a particular nutrient.
Is sucralose safe for people with diabetes?
Diabetic patients are cautious about what they eat and the ingredients that make up what they eat in order to avoid an increase in their blood sugar level.
Sucralose is a low-calorie artificial sweetener that is very low in carbs. Though it is manufactured from sucrose and over 600 times sweeter than sucrose, research has shown that it doesn’t increase the blood sugar or insulin level.
Diabetic patients need to be meticulous about their carbs intake, the low carb content of sucralose makes it a suitable option for people looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake.
According to the American Diabetes association the total carbs and calorie content of the body can be greatly reduced by substituting sweeteners that contain calories with no-calorie sweeteners.
As long the ADI (acceptable daily intake) is strictly followed, nonnutritive sweeteners(no-calorie) are safe to use.
Diabetic patients should consult a dietitian that can give them a proper healthy recipe that would not lead to an elevation in blood sugar level.
Does sucralose results in weight loss?
Weight has become paramount in the world, people are searching for easier and comfortable ways to lose weight that doesn’t include exercising. Sucralose contains low calories and some people believe that the low calorie content of sucralose can influence weight loss.
Food filled with added sugars (sweeteners added to enhance the taste of processed food and beverages) can lead to weight gain. Added sugar contain high calorie content and provides little or zero nutrients to the body.
Sucralose contains low to zero calories, therefore substituting no-calorie artificial sweeteners for added sugar can influence weight loss. Processed food and beverages should be replaced with food and beverages that are low in calories in order to facilitate weight loss.
Research and studies have shown that the replacement of added sugar with low calorie sweetener has lead to a noticeable decline in weight.
Observational studies have not been able to show a direct relationship between sucralose and weight loss but some research shows a slight increase in the body mass index(BMI).
Therefore other factors tend to play a vital role either in weight gain or loss.
Losing weight requires lots of changes in lifestyle, eating habits. Replacing high added sugar with a low calorie sweetener is just a part of the steps involved in weight loss. To lose weight you have to engage in eating a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that contributes zero calories, it does not require digestion and only a little quantity is absorbed by the body.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding sucralose, but the food and drug administration FDA has approved sucralose as a substance that is safe to consume.
Observational studies have not been able to link sucralose with weight loss but sucralose can play a vital role in weight loss since high calorie sweeteners facilitate weight gain.
Sucralose may lead to an increase in blood sugar levels during the initial phase of sucralose consumption.
If you have been taking sucralose for a long time and there have been no side effects, then you can continue with it but if the controversy is causing an uneasiness within you, then you can substitute sucralose with other FDA approved artificial sweeteners like aspartame, neotame, advantage or Saccharin.