Is It Safe to Consume Splenda?

Added sugar can adversely affect your metabolism and general health. Due to this reason, many individuals use artificial sweeteners. Splenda is a brand name for an artificial sweetener. It is utilized as a substitute for sugar by persons who want to consume low calorie foods in their daily routine. Splenda is used commonly as a substitute for sugar in both baking and cooking and is added to various food products. But is it safe to consume Splenda?

Is Splenda Safe?

The artificial sweetener sucralose present in Splenda is one of the five sweeteners that have been approved by FDA to be used in the USA. The other four are:

  • Neotame
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Saccharin

It was concluded by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) that Splenda is safe to consume after the scientists have reviewed a large amount of information including toxicology trials, reports and clinical studies. Splenda got approval for general use in the year 1999 and it has not been removed till now from the list. However, this fact may not be completely true. Some other studies hold different opinions.

Sucralose May Affect Insulin and Blood Sugar

It is believed that sucralose may have few or no effects on insulin and blood sugar levels. However, this also depends on your health state and whether you consume artificial sweeteners regularly or not.

In a small study conducted on 17 persons suffering from severe obesity who did not consume artificial sweeteners regularly, it was found that sucralose elevated their insulin levels by 20% and blood glucose levels by 14%. Several other studies conducted on healthy people with normal weight have found no effects on levels of blood glucose and insulin. However, the people included in these studies consumed sucralose regularly.

Hence, if you don’t take sucralose regularly then some changes may occur in the levels of your blood glucose and insulin. If you are consuming sucralose regularly, then there may not be any effect.

It May Be Harmful to Bake with Sucralose

Is Splenda safe? It is considered that Splenda is resistant to heat and is good for cooking and baking. However, this notion has been challenged in recent studies. It is proposed that at high temperatures, sucralose breaks down and begins to interact with other ingredients.

In one study it was found that harmful substances referred to as chloropropanols were produced by heating sucralose with glycerol (present in fats). Chloropropanols may increase the risk of certain cancers. More research is required; however, in the meanwhile it is best to utilize other sweeteners while baking at temperatures greater than 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sucralose May Affect Gut Health

The good bacteria present in the gut are very important to maintain your overall health. They may benefit function of immune system, improve digestion and decrease the risk of multiple diseases.

One study done on rats found that sucralose had adverse effects on the good bacteria of the gut. After 12 weeks of consumption of the sweetener, beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria were significantly reduced in the rats. Moreover, the bacteria present in the gut have not returned to normal levels even 12 weeks after the experiment ended. However, this was an experiment on rats and human studies are required to support the facts.

Sucralose May Cause Weight Gain

Is Splenda safe? One of the common reason for which people choose artificial sweeteners instead of sugar is to avoid extra calories from sugar that can result in weight gain and its related health issues.

However, a review found that the brain is not satisfied in the same way by artificial sweeteners as real sugar, thereby leading to overconsumption. It was noted in the review that several large-scale studies have demonstrated that a positive correlation exists between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and gain in weight.

Splenda May Have Certain Adverse Effects

Are artificial sweeteners not good for health? It really depends on which studies you refer to and whom you talk to. The studies that are conducted against sucralose demonstrate its side effects. Some of the side effects from its use are:

  • Dizziness
  • Migraines
  • Rashes
  • Cramping in the intestines
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Bloating
  • Tinnitus
  • Chest pain
  • Bleeding from gums

If you develop any of the above mentioned symptoms, stop using Splenda for a few days and then use it again. Make note of the symptoms and see whether the adverse effects you are having are due to sucralose. If so, stop its use and opt for another alternative sweetener or sugar.

If you are using a large quantity of sucralose, try cutting the amount of the sweetener and see if that reduces the symptoms – the side effects could be linked to the quantity you are using instead of the product.

Should You Avoid Splenda?

After discussing the answer to question "Is Splenda safe?" let’s discuss whether it should be avoided or not.

Overconsumption of high-fructose corn syrup and sugar, especially from soda and other sweet beverages poses severe health risks in the form of various diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. This risk outweighs the risk of cancer posed by consumption of sucralose and other artificial sweeteners.

Due to this reason, Splenda can be an option for individuals who want to consume sugary beverages and soft drinks. However, it may not be a good choice for high heat baking and cooking. You should also avoid it if you are having persistent gut problems.

Water, carbonated water with some fruit juice and unsweetened tea are healthy options that you can have in place of sugary beverages or artificially sweetened beverages.

If you want to avoid artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, then plenty of excellent alternatives are available that can be used to sweeten baked goods and drinks such as:

  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Stevia
  • Agave syrup
  • Coconut sugar
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