Artificial sweeteners occupy a dubious position within the health and diet industries. After the controversies surrounding saccharin and cyclamate, people have spent years searching for a proper substitute. Sucralose is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners in sweets and diet sodas these days.
What is sucralose? Is it healthy for you, or does it have serious negative side effects? Here’s what you need to know about this popular sugar alternative.
What Is Sucralose?
Sucralose is a sweetener more commonly known by its brand name, Splenda. It’s a laboratory-made, zero-calorie alternative to sugar.
It tastes similar but is in fact over six hundred times sweeter than sugar itself. Unlike some other artificial sweeteners, sucralose is heat stable, meaning it can be used in cooking and baking.
Sucralose is technically made from similar chemical structures to those found in sugar. In fact, it’s made by tweaking some of the molecular bonds within sugar so that it maintains the sweetness, but isn’t absorbed by the body in the same way.
What Is Sucralose Found In?
Due to its heat stability, sucralose can be found in a wide variety of mainstream products. Most products that boast “no added sugar” on their label substitute sucralose for sugar. Most mainstream soda companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi use sucralose in their diet products, as well.
Another good rule of thumb? If something boasts that it contains zero calories, but still tastes sweet, it more than likely contains sucralose or other sugar alternatives. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a protein powder without sucralose without some extensive searching.
Is Sucralose Bad for You?
With how common sucralose has become, most would think that there are no ill-effects to its use. In most cases, they would be correct: The FDA has approved sucralose as a food-safe product for most mainstream consumers. However, if you have a sensitivity to the substance, you may experience side effects such as:
- Increased insulin resistance
- Raised blood glucose levels
- Potential gut bacteria damage
- Blurred vision
- Dizziness and migraines
It’s generally safe for use. However, you should make sure to track any negative reactions you have before eating or drinking anything with sucralose.
What Other Alternatives Are There for Sucralose?
There are many other sugar alternatives aside from sucralose on the market. Some of the most common ones include stevia, aspartame, saccharin, xylitol, and erythritol. However, each of these can come with its own host of side effects, so research before you buy!
The Facts About Sucralose Are Anything But Sweet
Sucralose itself might be six hundred times as sweet as sugar and one of the most widespread alternatives to sugar out there. However, with its laundry list of potential side effects and known issues with raising blood sugar, the facts about it are anything but sweet. Make sure to check your ingredients to avoid overloading yourself with this artificial sweetener.
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