Sucralose Side Effects – Can It Be Worse than Sugar?

In the past several years, sugar has become one of the most harmful ingredients in the world.

Sugar has been deemed “the root of all evil”.

With that in mind, manufacturers and people are always looking for another way to add sweetness to food and beverages.

That is why products made with sucralose, like Splenda, for example, appeared on the market.

But how safe is sucralose [1]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230017301265?

And are there are any potential side effects of sucralose you should know?

It is worth mentioning that in the past few years, sucralose is also getting the “sugar treatment”.

Let’s discuss what is sucralose, how it is used, and potentially harmful side effects.

What is sucralose?

Sucralose, sold mainly under the brand name “Splenda” has been popular in the past several years [2]https://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-review-splenda-is-it-safe.

People rejoiced when sucralose hit the market.

Those trying to find a sugar substitute without negative side effects and health hazards loved sucralose.

Splenda, or sucralose for that matter, was approved by the FDA in 1998.

Since then, there have been a number of studies and reports surfacing regarding the negative sucralose side effects.

Many believe that sucralose has been deceptive from the very beginning.

While it was marketed as a “more natural alternative sweetener derived from sugar itself”, sucralose is actually chlorinated sugar.

When it accumulated in our body, chlorine is actually quite harmful and can be a major threat to our overall health.

Here are some reasons why sucralose and Splenda got so popular quickly:

  • Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar
  • Unlike sugar, sucralose brings very little calories to the table
  • Referred as a high-intensity sweetener

Sucralose is just one of the five artificial sweeteners approved for use in the US.

The other four include aspartame, saccharin, neotame, and acesulfame potassium.

In 1998, after reviewing a large body of information, including trials, clinical studies, and toxicology reports, Selda was approved by the FDA.

Despite recent research regarding negative sucralose side effects, Selda has not been removed from the list.

The truth about sucralose

Sucralose Side Effects

Most people turn to sucralose and other artificial sweeteners when they are trying to eliminate sugar from their diet.

But turns out, sucralose is not so good for your diet.

Products like Splenda offer a dream come true: the ability to enjoy a sugar derivative without affecting your health.

But if you know little about sugar, you know this is nearly impossible.

The truth is that artificial sweeteners actually increase your chances of obesity by decreasing your body’s ability to eliminate calories [3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24219506.

Some of the major concerns with artificial sweeteners are that they increase weight gain, increase fat storage, increase your appetite, and increase cravings for carbs [4]https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/6/sucralose-found-in-splenda-zero-calorie-sweetener-/.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at all the negative sucralose side effects.

Sde effects of sucralose

Digestion

First and foremost, consuming sucralose on a regular basis has a negative effect on your digestion.

Artificial sweeteners, not just sucralose, can wreak havoc with your digestion.

The result is bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Splenda, or sucralose, does act as a laxative because it alters the bacteria in the gut.

But it also alters good bacteria, which means bacteria responsible for your healthy digestion are harmed.

When sucralose enters your body, the levels of nitrogen gas and water increase in your body, resulting in diarrhea and other nasty side effects.

Intestinal flora

Healthy gut flora is important in so many aspects for our health.

Almost every article on improving overall health and immune system has a section “improve your gut flora”.

Sucralose, as mentioned, can damage and disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in your body [5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5522834/.

An animal study found out that consuming sucralose decreases the amount of good bacteria in your digestive tract, all while increasing bad bacteria in your stool.

Prevents absorption of medication

Not only sucralose has a harmful effect on your body, it also prevents medications that you might consume from working properly.

Sucralose can inhibit the proper absorption of medications, which in turn, decreases their potency.

There are several studies done lately that sucralose can inhibit absorption of cancer and heart disease medications [6]https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/artificial-sweeteners-fact-sheet.

Headaches

According to studies, artificial sweeteners are responsible for triggering nagging headaches.

Sucralose is one of those sweeteners.

Studies point that sweeteners cause mild side effects, and can transform to migraine with prolonged use.

Insulin response

Diabetes Care Journal found out that consuming sucralose on a regular basis will alter the way your body responds to sugar.

Even though this “healthy sweetener” is marketed as calorie-free for diabetics, you should be careful.

Allergies

Consuming sucralose has also led to allergic reactions in some people.

Some of the symptoms reported include:

  • Rashes or hives on the skin
  • Blistering and itching of the skin
  • Bleeding gums
  • Heart palpitations
  • Achy joints
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety or depression

Can you eliminate sucralose from your body?

Sucralose takes time to build up in your system.

The good news is that eating something with sucralose once or twice is not a cause of concern.

Our body will dispose sucralose consumed sparingly.

However, the problem happens when you consume sucralose on a daily basis.

In that case, your body cannot get rid of it as easily.

According to research, our body can get rid of 96.7% of sucralose when consumed sparingly.

When consuming on a regular basis, our body can flush only 92% of sucralose.

Now, 92% might seem like a high number.

But those 8% accumulate in your body, and make your cells toxic [7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10882819.

Studies regarding sucralose side effects are still mainly conducted on animals and rats.

More human studies are needed so that the FDA can pull sucralose off the market.

Sucralose vs. Stevia

An important discussion among health care and nutrition experts is stevia versus sucralose.

Both are artificial sweeteners, and people discuss which one is healthier.

There is a major distinction between the two.

For example, stevia-based products are not based on sugar at all.

They are derived from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, a plant known as “yerba dulce” in its native South America.

Stevia is still explored as a relatively new sweetener option.

Stevia is not fully approved by the FDA as a sweetener.

However, the compound in stevia, which is steviol glycosides, is approved by the FDA.

The sweetness in stevia comes from steviol glycosides, a product recognized as “considered safe” by the FDA, or GRAS.

Approximately 95% of stevia is actually extract from steviol glycosides.

Stevia is 200 to 400 times sweeter than table sugar. Sucralose, on the other hand, is 600 sweeter than sugar.

But unlike stevia, sucralose is a by-product of sugar.

As mentioned previously, sucralose is nothing more than chlorinated sugar.

Stevia has nothing to do with sugar, the sweetness is derived from another source.

Best sugar alternatives

We talked about the potentially harmful sucralose side effects, but what is your other alternative?

As mentioned, one alternative is stevia.

But there are other natural sweeteners that do not contain as many calories.

Here are some:

  • Raw honey, 64 calories in 1 tablespoon
  • Dates, 66 calories in one date
  • Coconut sugar, 45 calories in 1 tablespoon
  • Maple Syrup, 52 calories in 1 tablespoon
  • Blackstrap molasses, 47 calories in 1 tablespoon
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