Nutrition

The Skinny on Sucralose: All Your Questions Answered

It’s human nature to crave the sugary goodness of a sweet treat. I mean really, who doesn’t love cookies, cake, candy, and all other sweets?

But there’s just one sad problem. They’re loaded with sugar!

If there’s one thing most nutrition experts agree on it’s that too much sugar is bad for you.

Not only does sugar undermine your fat burning efforts, but too much of it can lead to a number of negative health effects. There’s a strong link between a diet high in sugar and an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease.

That doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of all things sweet forever though!

Low- and no-calorie sweeteners are growing in popularity as sugar substitutes, and they’ve found their way into many of the foods and beverages you consume.

One of the most common alternative sweeteners is sucralose. In fact, it’s what we use as a sweetener in our awesome IdealLean Protein, BCAAs, pre-workout, and other IdealFit products.

You may have heard of sucralose, but you probably have questions. I’m here to answer them all!

What Is Sucralose

A spoonful of sucralose next to a sliced strawberry

Sucralose is a sugar substitute made from sucrose (table sugar).

Even though it begins as sugar, sucralose is chemically altered during the production process and its caloric value is removed.

The product is a non-nutritive sweetener that tastes sweet but provides no calories, carbs, or nutritional value.

Sucralose is about 600x sweeter than sugar, so only a very small amount is needed to sweeten foods.

Since it’s so sweet, some sucralose-based sweeteners are combined with other ingredients to reduce the sweetness intensity.

Sucralose is a common ingredient in everything from chewing gum, to coffee creamer, protein shakes, bars, soda & other beverages, dairy products, and just about every sugar-free food you can think of. It’s also the primary ingredient in Splenda.

Is Sucralose Bad for You

A big question on the mind of many people is whether sucralose is hazardous to your health.

The short answer to this question is no, sucralose is not bad for you.

The FDA concluded that sucralose was safe for human consumption and approved it for commercial use in 1998. They reviewed the findings of over 110 research studies during this process!

But why all the negativity? The speculation about sucralose can be primarily attributed to skepticism surrounding all artificial sweeteners that stems from some bad publicity thrown at them decades ago.

In the 1970’s, before alternative sweeteners were as widely used as they are today, a study was published linking saccharin (the earliest artificial sweetener) to cancer in lab rats. Over the years, serious questions regarding the methods and results of this study have arisen causing experts to question its validity.

Despite the fact that this study was focused only on saccharin, and that these results were never observed in human trials, the public response was that of fear and anger. This eventually led to a distrust of all low- and no-calorie sugar substitutes.

Despite the negative attitude many have toward sucralose, over 100 studies (like this one) dating back more than 2 decades have shown sucralose to be safe for use as a sugar-free sweetener in food.

Recommended Daily Amount

A woman drinking bcaas and pre-workout which are sweetened with sucralose

The FDA has set the ADI (acceptable daily intake) for sucralose at 5 mg per day.

This limit is well below the amount shown to be safe in research studies. However, 5 mg is still more than what the average person is likely to consume in a single day.

Since sucralose is so sweet, a very small amount is present in the products it sweetens. To put it in perspective, you would need to consume 23 packets of Splenda to hit 5 mg of sucralose.

A single serving of IdealLean Protein delivers 0.31mg of sucralose, less than 1/16th of the acceptable daily intake.

Since we’re dealing with such small amounts, it isn’t really necessary to actively limit your consumption of sucralose-sweetened products for fear of getting more than the recommended daily amount.

Sucralose and Diabetes

After you enjoy a meal, your pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin.  

Those with diabetes experience a diminished ability to produce or respond to insulin.

Eating foods high in sugar cause a blood sugar spike which, in turn, signals the release of insulin to bring those levels back under control.

When insulin levels are inadequate, or when the body doesn’t respond to insulin as it should, these blood sugar spikes can cause some serious problems.  This is why those affected by diabetes are advised to limit their consumption of high-sugar foods.

But since sucralose has little to no effect on insulin, it’s a suitable sugar substitute for diabetic individuals.

Sucralose lets people with diabetes still enjoy a sugar-free sweetened treat without experiencing the blood sugar spike and the potential complications that might follow enjoying a full-sugar treat.

Is Sucralose Safe When You’re Pregnant

A woman doing yoga after having consumed sucralose

Sucralose is indeed suitable for women who are pregnant or nursing.

Although it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor, sucralose is not known to cause negative effects in new or expecting mothers.

Doctors generally don’t advise women to make an effort to limit or reduce their intake of sucralose during pregnancy. This may be different in cases of unusual medical conditions.

Does Sucralose Elevate Blood Sugar

Numerous studies have shown that sucralose does not cause an elevation in blood sugar after consumption.

Since our bodies don’t break down or digest sucralose, it provides no calories, carbs, or sugar, and doesn’t cause an elevation in blood sugar.  

This is why the American Diabetes Association offers alternative sweeteners, like sucralose, as good substitutes for high-sugar foods and beverages.

Sucralose and Weight Loss

A woman drinking a sucralose sweetened weight loss drink

When you’re trying to burn fat and lose weight, solid nutrition should be your top priority. You should make sure that you’re hitting your target numbers for carbs, protein, and fat, without going over your daily calorie limit.

You also want to account for sugar in your diet, and try to limit added sugars as much as possible. Sugar can sabotage your weight loss efforts by making your body want to hold onto its fat stores, even if your overall calorie intake is in line with your goals.

But going without anything that tastes sweet is just no fun, and it can be mentally exhausting! That’s where sucralose sweetened foods and beverages can be useful.

You can satisfy your sweet tooth while still meeting your nutritional goals when you choose sugar-free, sucralose-sweetened foods, drinks, and supplements.

It’s a great way to stay focused on your weight loss target and still eat things that you enjoy. It’s like having your cake and eating it too!

Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong, sugar can have a place in your diet, albeit a limited one. I’m definitely an advocate for cheat meals, as long as they’re within reason!

But indulging in high-sugar treats should be a rare occurrence that you save for special occasions.

The rest of the time, stick to sugar-free foods sweetened with sucralose to satisfy your sweet tooth!

No Post Tags



IdealFit

IdealFit

Designed By Women, For Women


Check out our current special offers on protein, pre-workout, bcaas and more! Shop Now