An epicurean life indicates taste, enjoyment, and a love for pleasure. Food plays a big part in such a lifestyle. But high-carb diet with excessive calories leads to obesity and chronic problems. So, artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes like sucralose have become popular. But is sucralose bad for you or good? Are the added sugars in beverages and food helpful or harmful?
What is sucralose?
The sucralose sold in the market is processed from normal table sugar. Its hydroxyl molecules are replaced with chlorine to produce a no-calorie sweetener. This artificial sugar is 600 times sweeter but adds no carbohydrates. About 85% of it does not even get digested by the stomach enzymes.
What is the acceptable daily intake?
Retailers sell processed sugar under different brand names. They use it to sweeten dairy products, canned fruits, syrups, condiments, and chewing gums. Sucralose remains stable despite high temperatures. So, it is also common in baked goods like cookies, pies, bread, and cupcakes. And yes, the low-calorie sweetener has approval by global health and food safety authorities.
Even small quantities of sucralose can add excessive sweetness. So, it is legal and safe to mix it with other food items to improve the taste. But how much can you consume? The established ADI of sucralose is 5 milligrams/kilogram(mg/kg) of body weight. This quantity is 100 times less than the sucraloses safety volume confirmed by researchers. A person who weighs about 150 pounds or 68 kg needs only 340 mg. To consume this amount, you need to use 28 packets of sucralose or nine diet soda cans. This average daily intake over a lifetime will not have any adverse side effects.
Is sucralose bad for diabetics?
People with diabetes cannot afford to raise their blood sugar levels. They have to avoid calorie-rich foods and beverages. Otherwise, blood glucose goes out of control and creates complications in heart, kidney, and others. Dieticians advise them to use non-nutritive sweeteners like sucralose.
The artificial sweetener improves the taste of food and beverages. But the ADI is an essential factor here. Research shows that sucralose does not increase blood sugar levels. It can also assist with the efficient management of diabetes through better glycemic control.
The sucralose-related data on glucose spikes and type 2 diabetes risk is inconclusive. Researchers could not establish a causal relationship. But you have to consult the doctor or dietician for proper guidance. Focus on safety and health benefits by relying on a low-calorie, balanced diet.
Safe for kids and breastfeeding women
Sucralose can safely enrich and sweeten the child’s diet. It will not add any calories and keep the cavity risk low. Besides, the acceptable levels for the sweetener intake also apply to children. However, pediatricians do not make any recommendations as accurate research data is not available.
Pregnant women have cravings for sweet foods and beverages. But, there is no need to worry if sucralose bad for you. The sweetener is safe for pregnant and lactating women. It has no side effects, but excessive intake is a significant factor.
Only a small amount of sucralose, about 15%, gets digested in the body. So, the bloodstream absorption levels are also safe. But, remember that sucralose has zero calories. A nursing mother and growing infant need calories and rich nutrients. So, sucralose adds nothing to the whole process.
Is sucralose bad for your appetite?
Artificial sweeteners like sucralose make the food more palatable. But such tasty food can activate regions in the brain. Yes, those who enjoy the delicacies and desserts feel pleasure. Their brain regions that signal reward also respond positively. But activating such neural pathways through low-calorie, non-nutritional sugar is a double-edged sword.
Having a satisfying food experience without nourishing the body can be risky. The low-calorie diet is rewarding, but the body gains no sugar. So, appetite-related hormones can get negatively affected. Such changes can take a toll on your hunger, cravings, and natural desire for good food.
But the research data on this issue is inconclusive and controversial. Random trials involving desserts and water intake led to a reduction in hunger. But personal food experiences cannot always correlate to physiology and psychology. Consult a dietician to avoid obesity or weight loss problems.
Weight management and sugars
Weight control data on the artificial sweetener’s role is encouraging. Random trials show that low-calorie substitutes can lead to modest weight loss. Those who lost weight relied on artificial sugar and controlled their calorie-intake. But there are too many variables like body weight, health, water intake, and low-calorie sweetening foods. So decide after asking if sucralose bad for you or good in the long run. Research and observational studies do not confirm safety in long term usage.
Remember that sucralose does not reduce weight. It merely reduces the need for consuming high amounts of sugar. Thus, if you consume other calorie-rich foods along with sucralose, weight loss might not be possible.
Is sucralose bad for your microbiome?
The gut or intestinal tract has a diverse microbiome with bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. It can improve the body’s digestion, immunity, and overall health. The gut micro-organisms also protect you against diseases and supply essential nutrients like vitamin K, B12, riboflavin, and thiamine.
The role of sucralose in improving or weakening this microbiome is not under the light. Research on rodents produced inconsistent results. Simultaneously, human data has ascertained the absence of metabolic effects of sucralose on the gut. However, the microbiome profiles vary significantly in different people. But dietary changes can make the gut respond by deviating from the norm.
In conclusion, a rich diet includes various foods and beverages. Health experts endorse the safe-intake of sucralose for nutrition. But, depending entirely on sucralose is not a good choice. It is also essential to have a balanced diet instead of a salad and loads of diet cola. You might feel satisfied and experience weight loss, but there could be other consequences.