Thursday, January 27

What are the main risks of consuming splenda on a daily basis

Sucralose is widely used in households and the food industry. Its excessive consumption can cause alterations in glucose, intestinal level and activate cravings for sweet foods.

Photo: Myriams-Fotos / Pixabay

By now we all know that excessive amounts of added sugar is one of the worst health habits. It has harmful effects on metabolism and general health. That is why many people in the United States and the world have chosen to resort to the consumption of artificial sweeteners, as is the specific case of one of the most popular: sucralose. However, while authorities state that sucralose is safe to eat, some studies have linked it to health problems. Especially when it is consumed on a daily basis.

What is sucralose?

Sucralose is a calorie-free artificial sweetener. although there are different alternatives on the market: Splenda is the most common sucralose-based product. Sucralose is made from sugar in a multi-step chemical process in which three groups of hydrogen and oxygen are replaced with chlorine atoms. It was discovered in 1976 when a British university scientist allegedly misheard instructions on testing a substance. And when he tasted it, he found it to be incredibly sweet. Years later, companies Tate & Lyle and Johnson & Johnson jointly developed Splenda products. And in 1999 it was officially introduced in the United States and since then it is one of the most popular sweeteners in the country.

Splenda is a product widely used in the home, the food industry and of course, in restaurants. It is commonly used as a substitute for sugar in both cooking and baking. And its main virtue is that it has no calories. It also contains carbohydrates such as dextrose (glucose) and maltodextrin, increasing the calorie content up to 3.36 calories per gram. However, the total calories and carbohydrates that Splenda contributes to your daily diet is completely negligible, as you only need small amounts at a time.

Regarding its main characteristics, the one that attracts the most attention: lSucralose is 400 to 700 times sweeter than sugar and does not have a bitter aftertaste like many other popular sweeteners. However, we cannot forget that it is a chemical substance and with it it is related to some health effects that are worth mentioning.

1. Effects on blood sugar and insulin

People say that sucralose has little or no effect on insulin and blood sugar levels. However, it has been found that this depends entirely on the type of person and if they are used to consuming artificial sweeteners. According to a small study in 17 severely obese people who did not regularly consume these sweeteners reported that sucralose raised blood sugar levels by 14% and insulin levels by 20%.

A more recent reference is available. A study published in Cell Metabolism in 2020 found that eating sucralose and carbohydrates together consistently for 10 consecutive days decreased insulin sensitivity in otherwise healthy adults. In other words, it is possible that consuming too many sucralose-based sweeteners can cause blood sugar levels to rise, which can increase the risk of prediabetes and diabetes.

2. Possible gastrointestinal effects

In recent years much has been said about eThe effect artificial sweeteners have on gut health. The first thing that is important to understand is that beneficial bacteria in the gut are extremely important for overall health. They are a great ally to improve digestion, benefit immune function and reduce the risk of many diseases. With this as background, there is a study carried out in rats in which it was found that lsucralose can have negative effects on these bacteria. After 12 weeks, the rats that consumed the sweetener had between 47% and 80% fewer anaerobes (bacteria that do not require oxygen) in their gut. So that beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria were significantly reducedwhile the most harmful bacteria appeared to be less affected. What’s more, the gut bacteria had not yet returned to normal levels after the experiment was completed.

3. They can increase cravings for sweet foods

Believe it or not, artificial sweeteners, in general, can be counterproductive for those trying to lose weight. According to a mini review, artificial sweeteners affect the brain differently than real sugar leaving you less satisfied. Therefore it has been proven that they can cause additional sweet cravings. When we eat sugar, the reward pathways in our brain are activated and release hormones that make us feel good, which explains why we love sweets so much. On the other hand, when artificial sweeteners are consumed, those same pathways are only partially activated as they contain no calories, which means that they cannot be broken down into energy for the body. So, that is the explanation why sweeteners can lead us to eat more and possibly gain weight.

We can conclude that like other artificial sweeteners, sucralose is very controversial. Some claim that it is completely harmless, but new studies suggest that it may have some effects on metabolism, craving for sweet foods, and overall health. Remember that it is a chemical and processed substance, therefore consuming it occasionally can be a good low-calorie alternative. While its long-term health effects are still unclear, it is considered safe by health authorities such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Remember that it’s all about balance and the best recommendation will always be to avoid any type of added and processed sugar. They are related to an increased risk of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, hypertension, dental damage, deterioration in mental, immune and emotional health. On the contrary, the best way is to consume foods rich in natural sugars such as fruits, vegetables, cereals and seeds, which are also related to great nutritional and medicinal properties.

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