We all know how important it is to restrict our intake of sugar and sweets to maintain a balanced diet. Adding too much sugar to your diet might impair your metabolism and general health. But what about sugar substitutes?
Sugar substitutes are popular among people concerned about their calorie intake. As a result, many people use artificial sweeteners such as sucralose. Despite sucralose being safe to consume, research has linked it to health issues.
On that note, let's find out if sucralose is indeed bad for your health.
Four ways sucralose can affect your health
Artificial sweeteners come in various flavours, all of which replicate the sweetness of sugar (sucrose) without the calories. Sucralose is different from other artificial sweeteners, though, as it is made from sugar. Its molecular structure is tweaked, making it 600 times sweeter than sugar and is almost calorie-free.
Sucralose is popular among fans, as it does not leave an unpleasant aftertaste like other sugar substitutes. That perhaps explain its popularity. Sucralose is found in various products, including sugar-free gum, soda, ice cream,and yoghurt.
You can use it instead of sugar in baked items, as it is heat stable. Sucralose is safe to consume, and there appears to be no concerns with its short or long-term use. Sucralose is seemingly unaffected by other foods or drugs. Nevertheless, let's look at some of the effects sucralose could have on your general health:
#1 Weight increase
Many people turn to diet drinks and calorie-free sweeteners to maintain their weight. However, it's not proven if artificial sweeteners can help you lose weight. Some studies have revealed no link between low-calorie sweeteners and body weight.
Others have found that people who replace sugar with low-calorie sweeteners weigh slightly less on average – a difference of fewer than two pounds. The bottom line is that sucralose and other artificial sweeteners do not have significant weight-loss effects.
#2 Keeping sugar craving in check
Sugar is addictive, and artificial sweeteners may be, as well. According to research, having a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners makes you crave more sugary meals and beverages.
You may find it difficult to give up your favourite sweets, but limiting your sugar intake can help you a lot. Your sweet appetite will get reset, and you'll begin to appreciate the natural sweetness of foods like fruits.
#3 Gut health
The beneficial bacteria in your gut are important for your overall health. They may help with digestion, immunological function and the prevention of various ailments.
According to a study on animals, sucralose has been found to be harmful for beneficial bacteria. Rats who were fed the sweetener had 47–80% fewer anaerobes after 12 weeks. Sucralose, in other words, has been linked to adverse impacts on the bacterial environment in the gut.
Beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacterial and lactic acid bacteria get drastically reduced, but pathogenic bacteria appeared to be unaffected. Furthermore, the gut flora does not get restored to normal levels even after trials. More human studies, though, are required.
#4 Baking with Sucralose could be dangerous
Splenda is a heat-resistant sugar that can be used in cooking and baking. Recent research, though, has cast doubt on that.
According to a study, splenda appears to break down and interact with other substances at high temperatures. Heating sucralose with glycerol, a chemical present in fat molecules, produces hazardous compounds called chloropropanes, which may increase the risk of cancer.
Is Splenda safe to consume?
Sucralose, like other artificial sweeteners, has a few issues. Although some believe it is completely innocuous, new research suggests it may have some metabolic effects. It can increase blood sugar in some people. It may potentially harm the bacterial ecosystem in your gut, although more human studies are needed to confirm that.
You should avoid using it in cooking or baking, as it emits hazardous substances. Although the long-term health effects of cosuming suclarose are unknown, health authorities such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believe it is safe.
Side effects of Sucralose
There have been a few reported instances of sucralose-related side effects. Some studies claim that sucralose use causes a variety of ailments, including thymus damage. This assertion is based on a laboratory trial in which sucralose was administered to young rats on a low-calorie laboratory diet. The thymus glands shrank (the thymus gland is essential for immune system function).
That is a common response in rats when they are stressed due to weight loss, regardless of what caused it, and it is not unique to sucralose use too. Follow-up studies were conducted to ensure there was no sign of immune system malfunction.
Sugar can be consumed in modest amounts. Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners may have certain advantages, but you shouldn't condemn sugar if used in moderation.
Splenda is not necessarily bad for you, but it is not recommended for high-heat cooking and baking. Also, if you have problems with your gut health, talk to your doctor and check if sucralose is safe for your consumption.