With all the negative media I’ve been reading lately in regards to sucralose, it started to make me think…can sucralose really be that bad for you?
As a type 1 diabetic, lets just say I had a lot of WOW moments when deciding to research what was going into my body. If you think sucralose is safe, you may want to think again. Why they consider and promote this as safe for the diabetic community disturbs me on a lot of levels, lets take a look why!
When it comes to sucralose and diabetes, it seems like a perfect match. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is nearly 600 times sweeter than the ordinary (table) sugar. It contains zero calories and hence, is popular as a zero-calorie sweetener. It is widely used by diet and weight conscious people all over the world. Sucralose is sold under the brand name Splenda, which is commonly available in the market. Some claim sucralose is also better than other artificial sweeteners as it can be used in baking… me personally, I think there are healthier alternatives when it comes to cooking.
Thing is, most artificial sweeteners cannot be used in baking due to their instability. But, this is not the case with sucralose as it remains stable even when exposed to heat for a longer time (gotta love that chemical structure). This additional property makes it a favored choice among other artificial sweeteners including aspartame. Also, due to its extra sweet property, it is used for making a variety of sweets and desserts like jams, jellies, candies, sweet fillings, fruits juices, etc. However, you should be aware of the negative side effects that sucralose can pose.
Sucralose And Chlorine:
One possible side effect from Splenda unrelated to allergies is the possibility of chlorine poisoning. Sucralose is one of the few artificial sweeteners that claims to be made from sugar; chlorine atoms are added. The constant consumption of sucralose, compounded daily, year after year can reek some major havoc on your body as your body does not fully get rid of what you consume.
There is one study shows negative metabolic effects and weight gain in today’s younger population with the consumption of artificial sweeteners, you can check that out here.
Another study shows that Sucralose vastly depletes our intestine flora as it destroys the beneficial bacteria which is a main driver for a healthy immune system. Our stomach houses over 70 of the the cells that make up our immune system to help protect us from various disease and sickness.
A randomized controlled trial was performed by Abou-Donia et al46 in 2008, in which male rats were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 groups: control, or sucralose plus maltodextran in the following doses (mg/kg/day): 1.1, 3.3, 5.5, or 11. Fecal pH and bacterial analysis were conducted weekly, and after 12 weeks half of the rats from each group were sacrificed. Small intestinal tissue was used to evaluate the effects of sucralose and maltodextran on levels of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and cytochrome P-450 (CYP450). The remainder of the animals underwent a 12 week recovery period after which further assessment of pH/bacteria/P-gp, CYP450 was performed.
During the duration of the study, no diarrhea in any of the rats was observed. In terms of the effect on the microbiome, they found that the total number of anaerobes decreased significantly in all sucralose plus maltodextran groups. At the lowest dose, total anaerobes were reduced by approximately 50% compared with controls. Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, andBacteroides were significantly reduced at the lowest dose as well. Aerobic bacteria decreased significantly in all sucralose plus maltodextran groups except at the lowest dose (decreased by 51–68% of controls).
The enterobacteria count was not different from the control population in any group. In the recovery period, the total anaerobes remained significantly lower in all groups, as did bifidobacteria (other specific bacteria were not significantly different from the controls). The mean fecal pH significantly increased in all sucralose plus maltodextran groups at end of 12 weeks and stayed significantly elevated in all groups except the lowest sucralose plus maltodextran group after 12 weeks of recovery. Sucralose plus maltodextran enhanced the intestinal expression of P-gp up to 2.4-fold, and increased CYP3A4 and CYP2D1 intestinal expression (though these effects were not seen in the group that received the lowest dose of sucralose plus maltodextran).
In summary, sucralose plus maltodextran significantly decreased beneficial intestinal bacteria (ie, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Bacteriodes), but had no effect on enterobacteria. Sucralose plus maltodextran also resulted in elevated fecal pH and enhanced intestinal expression of P-gp and CYP450 enzymes. Several parameters continued to differ after 12 weeks of recovery, including a decrease in the total number of anaerobes and enhanced P-gp and CYP expression.
Sucralose and Gastrointestinal Problems:
According to Vanderbilt University, about 27 percent of the sucralose in Splenda is absorbed by the body, meaning the substance will stay in the bloodstream and organs for long periods of time. This can not only potentially damage the internal organs, but also has negative gastrointestinal effects, like bloating, painful gas or diarrhea.
Others reports are also starting to connect the rising rates of inflammatory bowel disesse with the consumption of artificial sweeteners, sucralose in paticular due to the impairment of digestive proteases (enzymens in our stomach that help us digest food, protein in paticular).
Canada was the first country to approve the use of sucralose, and it was allowed to be used as a tabletop sweetener in breakfast cereals, beverages, desserts, toppings, fillings, chewing gum, breath mints, fruit spreads, salad dressings, confectionary, bakery products, processed fruits and vegetables, alcoholic beverages, puddings and table syrups (8). Interestingly, the study by Wrobel et al (9) reported that the incidence of pediatric IBD in Southern Alberta was 2.3 (per 100,000 population) between 1983 and 1987, 2.5 between 1988 and 1992, 5.0 between 1993 and 1998, and 6.5 between 1999 and 2005 (9), indicating a dramatic increase in the early 1990s.
In additional, the gas some people experience when eating foods or drinking beverages with sucralose is due to the fact that the natural bacteria that occurs in the stomach metabolizes parts of Splenda once it’s ingested to produce nitrogen gas.
One might think that coconut sugar is produced from coconuts, but its not. Coconut sugar is a product of the coconut tree, or more specifically the sap obtained from coconut tree’s flower buds. It is sometimes called coco sap sugar or coconut palm sugar. The blossoms are cut and the nectar is collected into bamboo containers. As a sweetener, especially for diabetics, how safe is coconut sugar? Lets take a look!
Why Coconut Palm Sugar:
As diabetics we all know the importance of eating low glycemic items to help prevent glucose spikes. Coconut palm sugar is a nutrient-rich, low-glycemic crystalline sweetener that looks, tastes, dissolves and melts almost exactly like sugar, but it’s completely natural and unrefined. It’s acquired from the flowers growing high on coconut trees, which are opened to collect their liquid flower nectar. This nectar is then air-dried to form a crystalline sugar that’s naturally brown in color and naturally rich in a number of key vitamins including over 16 amino acids, minerals and phytonutrients including potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6.
It is never refined or bleached like white sugar. So the nutrients it was made with are still there. That’s rare for sweeteners, most of which are highly refined.