Sucralose is an artificial sweetener used in place of refined sugar. This helps to keep weight in check, but is it healthy for you?

The minute we start a diet, the first thing we want to avoid is refined sugar. The first option that comes to out mind are sugar-free sweeteners such as Sucralose. However, we often find ourselves wondering is sucralose safe to consume, how much sucralose should be had, and what are the side effects of sucralose.

Sucralose makes our food sweeter than what refined sugar would do, and reduces our calorie intake as well. While experts say that it is safe, there is some research that points out its side effects as well.

What is sucralose?

Sucralose is a no-calorie artificial sweetener derived from sucrose. It is approximately 600 times sweeter than sugar. Used in various food and beverage products, sucralose provides sweetness without contributing to caloric intake. It is widely favoured for its stability in high-temperature conditions, making it suitable for cooking and baking, dietitian Kejal Shah tells Health Shots.

A woman baking
Sucralose is considered safe for baking. Image courtesy: Freepik

Does sucralose affect blood sugar and insulin?

Sucralose has no significant effect on blood sugar and insulin levels as it is not metabolised by the body. “It goes through the digestive system, and is not absorbed. This is what makes it an appropriate sweetener for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage their blood sugar,” says Shah. This characteristic contributes to its popularity as a sugar substitute in diets focused on controlling carbohydrate intake and insulin response.

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A study, published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism points out to the fact that Sucralose does not impact insulin sensitivity.

Is baking with sucralose harmful?

Baking with sucralose is generally considered safe. Unlike some sweeteners, sucralose remains stable at high temperatures, making it suitable for cooking and baking. “There are no harmful substances formed during the baking process, allowing for the creation of low-calorie and sugar-free treats. However, it’s advisable to follow recommended usage guidelines to maintain the desired sweetness and avoid any potential alterations in taste or texture,” explains Shah.
However, these are some studies which suggest otherwise. This study, published in Food Chemistry, points to the fact that heating sucralose with glycerol, can produce a harmful substance called chloropropanols.

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Does sucralose affect gut health?

There are mixed views on whether sucralose consumption impacts gut health. A study published in Frontiers in Physiology, suggests that consuming sucralose for 6 months had an impact on gut microbiome and enhanced inflammation. However, other studies, such as this The British Journal of Nutrition study points out to the fact that it does not have an impact on gut microbiome. “The overall effects appear to be neutral for most people. As for weight, sucralose is often used as a weight-loss aid due to its lack of calories. It provides sweetness without contributing to overall energy intake, making it a popular choice for those aiming to reduce calorie consumption and manage weight,” says Shah, adding, “However, individual responses may vary, and it’s essential to consider overall dietary habits for effective weight management.”

Does sucralose help you to lose weight or gain weight?

Sucralose is commonly used as a tool for weight management and weight loss. Since it is calorie-free and does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels, it allows people to enjoy sweetness without adding extra calories to their diet. “By substituting sucralose for sugar in foods and beverages, individuals can reduce overall calorie intake, which can contribute to weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. However, it is crucial to maintain a balanced diet and exercise for comprehensive weight management,” explains Shah.

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A woman with a weight scale
Using sucralose in stead of sugar, helps you lose weight. Image courtesy: Freepik

Is it safe to consume sucralose?

Yes, sucralose is generally considered safe for consumption. “The body does not metabolise sucralose, so it passes through without contributing calories. However, some individuals may be sensitive to artificial sweeteners, so moderation is key,” says Shah, adding, “As with any food additive, it is advisable to adhere to recommended intake levels and consult with healthcare professionals if there are concerns about its use, especially for specific health conditions or during pregnancy.”

What are alternative natural sweeteners that are safer to use than sucralose?

Stevia and monk fruit are popular natural sweeteners perceived as safer alternatives. “Stevia is derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant and is calorie-free. Monk fruit extract, obtained from the monk fruit, is also calorie-free and is known for its intense sweetness. Both sweeteners are considered safe, with minimal impact on blood sugar levels,” says Shah. Additionally, they lack the potential concerns associated with some artificial sweeteners. However, individual preferences and sensitivities may vary, so it is advisable to moderate intake and consult with healthcare professionals if needed.

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