Is Sucralose Bad For You? Pros And Side Effects To Know

Written by Sindhu Koganti, BTech (Biotechnology), Diploma In Nutrition

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose are turning out to be omnipotent, given their wide range of applications in the food and beverages industry. Besides, sucralose is also gaining popularity as a substitute for sugar among those watching their calorie intake and blood sugar levels. But is sucralose really good for you? If yes, what is the recommended intake? What do experts suggest?

In this article, you will learn more about what sucralose is, how it can react with your body’s metabolism, and its potential benefits and side effects. Keep reading.

What Is Sucralose?

Sucralose is a highly potent artificial sweetener and is commonly used in various food products and beverages. It also has been approved for use globally. According to US Food and Drug Administration, this non-nutritive sweetener is 600 times sweeter than natural sugar (1).

However, sucralose is not digested by the body (like natural sugars) to produce energy. It also adds zero calories to your diet. It can be a good substitute for sugar if you are looking to reduce your calorie intake.

So, how does sucralose benefit your health? Does it affect your blood sugar levels? We answer these questions in the following section.

Is Sucralose Healthy? The Potential Pros

1. May Not Affect Blood Sugar Levels

Paula Doebrich, MPH and a registered dietitian nutritionist at Happea Nutrition, explains, “The structure of sucralose makes it unrecognizable to the body; therefore, the body cannot digest it. We get the taste of sugar without the calories or carbohydrates. This means it does not have any effect on blood sugar.”

Multiple studies have also shown that sucralose does not affect blood sugar levels, making it fit for consumption by people with diabetes (2), (3). However, a small study on people who had never used non-nutritive sweeteners concluded that their blood sugar and insulin levels increased after consuming sucralose (4). Hence, more studies are needed to understand this benefit of sucralose.

2. Does Not Impact Daily Caloric Intake

Sucralose may help one maintain a low-calorie diet while still enjoying sweets as it does not have any calories. “Because it helps curb sweet cravings without adding calories, it can help people significantly cut their intake of added sugars, especially from soda,” says Doebrich.

However, a majority of clinical studies report no significant or beneficial effects of artificial sweeteners on body weight and glycemic control (5).

While sucralose may help you keep your calorie intake in control, it may also cause certain side effects. Read to know what they are.

Side Effects Of Sucralose

1. May Kill Good Gut Bacteria

Bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria promote digestion and gut health. Research on rodents suggests that sucralose may reduce these good bacteria in the gut while not affecting the bad bacteria (6).

Lisa Richards, a nutritionist at The Candida Diet, weighs in saying, “Sucralose causes gastrointestinal irritation and bloating besides reducing the healthy gut bacteria. Generally, these bacteria help prevent bloating by improving overall gut health.” However, more human studies are warranted to understand this downside of sucralose.

2. May Become Harmful When Baked

Sucralose tends to break down when baked and interact with other ingredients, leaving behind a bitter taste when consumed. Cooking at high temperatures also causes sucralose to produce a compound called chloropropanol, which has carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties (7).

3. May Cause Bloating

Artificial sweeteners are linked to overeating, which, in turn, may cause bloating, says Ms. Richards. Diet sodas contain sucralose, the most common culprit of gas and bloating. This can negate any weight loss that may occur, she adds. However, more research is warranted to understand this phenomenon.

4. May Affect Dental Health

“Although sucralose is not as bad as sugar, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can soften enamel by 30-50%. Citric acid and phosphoric acid are the main culprits behind tooth decay. Sugar is broken down by bacteria that release these acids. Unfortunately, these acids are also found in sugar-free candies and colas,” informs Evan McCarthy, a dental care expert and the founder of Sporting Smiles. However, more studies are needed to arrive at a definitive conclusion in this regard.

Wondering what to choose between sugar and artificial sugar? We have cleared this out for you in the following section.

Sucralose Vs. Sugar

Real sugar is naturally healthier, given that it is nature-derived. However, its excess intake may bring you as much trouble. Such people may switch over to artificial sweeteners like sucralose.

As stated, sucralose allows you to enjoy sweets while maintaining your blood sugar and insulin levels. It also helps you maintain a low-calorie diet. Both these goals may be difficult to be achieved with sugar. While you need to consider the drawbacks of sucralose as well, remember that it has been scientifically approved for use globally. Ms. Doebrich recommends, “According to the FDA, the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of sucralose is 5 mg/kg/day.” So, consume it, but in small amounts.

The Final Word

Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners come in handy when you need to add sweetness to your diet without the calories. As sucralose is about 600 times as potent as normal sugar, even a little can help soothe your sweet tooth. Moreover, it may also allow you to eat sweet dishes without having to worry about rising blood sugar levels. However, artificial sweeteners may promote overeating and cause bloating. Sucralose is also said to reduce healthy gut bacteria besides softening the enamel of your teeth on prolonged usage. Hence, use sucralose wisely. Consult your doctor for more clarity.

Key Takeaways

  • Sucralose is a non-nutritive sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than natural sugar.
  • It may help one maintain a low-calorie diet as it does not have any calories.
  • However, sucralose contains citric acid and phosphoric acid that may accelerate tooth decay.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for Use in Food in the United States | FDA
    https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/additional-information-about-high-intensity-sweeteners-permitted-use-food-united-states
  2. Effect of the artificial sweetener sucralose on gastric emptying and incretin hormone release in healthy subjects
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19221011/
  3. Effect of the artificial sweetener sucralose on small intestinal glucose absorption in healthy human subjects
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20420761
  4. Sucralose affects glycemic and hormonal responses to an oral glucose load
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23633524/
  5. The Impact of Artificial Sweeteners on Body Weight Control and Glucose Homeostasis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7817779/
  6. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18800291/
  7. Sucralose A Synthetic Organochlorine Sweetener: Overview of Biological Issues
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3856475/

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