Sucralose: harm, benefits, calories, GI

sucralose keto

Sugar substitutes are all about “if you can’t, but really want to, then you can.” But be careful… For example, sucralose is 600(!) times sweeter than sugar, but it is better to think twice or even three times before messing with it. Here we’ll explain why.

Have you ever added Splenda to your bulletproof coffee or tea? Congratulations – you’ve eaten sucralose. It is actually not a good sweetener, which is derived from regular sugar. 

Sucralose came about by accident. Sometimes an imperfect grasp of language and the audacity to lick anything lead to scientific discoveries – in 1976, at Queen Elizabeth College, Professor Leslie Hugh asked a young assistant, Shashikant Phadnis, to test chlorinated sugar compounds. 

But instead of the word “test”, Phadnis heard the word “taste” and licked the powder, which turned out to be wildly sweet. A few months later, a new sweetener was patented. 

What is sucralose?

The sweetener sucralose is an artificial sugar substitute. 

It looks like a white, odorless crystalline powder. It may also be available in liquid form. It tastes sweet, very sweet.

Other names for sucralose are trichlorohalactosaccharose, an organochlorine compound, and on labels it’s hidden under the number E955. And it’s definitely known to you by the most popular brand Splenda – the little yellow packets offered in cafes as a sugar substitute.

How is sucralose made? 

To produce sucralose, ordinary sugar is taken and its chemical structure is changed. To put it simply, chemists in the lab remove a few hydrogen atoms and add chlorine atoms in their place. 

As a result, although sucralose tastes sweet, your body can’t digest it. It is what is called an “artificial non-caloric sweetener”.

The formula for sucralose is C12H19Cl3O8

sucralose keto
How is sucralose made

Is sucralose natural? 

No, sucralose is legally classified as an artificial sweetener.

That’s fine, but natural products have been in our diet for hundreds of years, but artificial products have only been around recently. And their effects on the body and the side effects in the long term are unknown. 

What is the sweetness factor of sucralose?

Sucralose has a greater interaction with the taste buds, so its sweetness is perceived as 600 times more intense than that of sugar. This is why it is often mixed with other substitutes such as maltodextrin or dextrose.

How many calories and carbs are in sucralose?

Sucralose has 336 kcal and 91.2 carbs per 100 grams. But only 15-20% is metabolized and digested.

What is the glycemic index of sucralose?

The higher the GI of the product, the greater the blood sugar rise. A good sweetener, such as erythritol, should have a zero glycemic index. Sucralose also has a glycemic index of 0. 

100 grams of sucralose contains:

  • Calories: 340 kcal
  • Total fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 90 g
  • Net Carbohydrates: 90 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Is sucralose keto?

No, sucralose is not keto. Yes, it has no sugar, but it has carbohydrates. 

Yes, it has a zero glycemic index, but it is mostly mixed with other substitutes that have a high GI. 

Furthermore, it has a slew of drawbacks that make it unsuitable for keto whether you want it or not.

Sucralose: safety

At first, it had a crystal-clear reputation… The sweetener sucralose was approved by the FDA (U.S. Food Administration), identifying a safe dose of 5 mg per 1 kg of weight. In Europe, it is higher – 15 mg.

But studies in recent years show that sucralose is not as perfect as previously thought, and much of the work that has concluded its safety has been funded by the manufacturers. 

For long enough, sucralose was approved in the European Union (EU). But in February 2018, the EU changed its mind a bit and banned all artificial sweeteners, including sucralose, in baked goods and bread.

Sucralose sweetener: is it safe for children?

Sucralose sweetener, like other artificial sweeteners, is not recommended for children. Sucralose can get into breast milk, so it is also not recommended when feeding. 

Sucralose: harm 

Whether you are on keto or not, sucralose causes unwanted side effects:

Encourages weight gain.

Nominally, sucralose doesn’t raise blood sugar and has almost no calories, but if it’s used systematically, you can lose insulin sensitivity.

Endocrinologist Dr. Olesya Bruslik says: 

“Aspartame and sucralose in studies on mice increase insulin resistance! When mice got their sugar back after taking sweeteners, their glycemia was several times higher than before taking sweeteners. And all of this was due to changes in the microbiota. Also, sucralose causes fat cells to grow on their own by activating their growth receptors! So much for the non-caloric product.”

Increases the risk of developing diabetes

Diabetes Care magazine published a study showing that drinking diet soda with sucralose daily increases the risk of metabolic syndrome by 36% and type II diabetes by 67%.

Becomes toxic at high temperatures – above 120°C.

Duke University researchers have proven that when heated strongly, especially with fats, sucralose begins to interact with other substances to form toxic compounds that increase cancer risk. 

So, using sucralose for baking is definitely a bad idea.

Sucralose can accumulate in fat tissue

The experiment was done on rats, but still. They were fed sucralose for 40 days at high doses – 16 times the safe dosage of 5 mg/kg for humans. Based on the results, they found that the safe dose of sucralose for humans was less than 1 mg/kg.

Reduces immunity because it harms the gut microbiota.

Daily consumption of sucralose for 6 months, even at a safe dosage, changes the microbiota for the worse. The number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which help the immune system and improve digestion, is reduced by 50%, vitamins and nutrients become less absorbable, and bloating can occur. Even saccharin is not as harsh. Microflora recovery is very slow after consuming sucralose.

Increases sugar cravings

According to other studies, sucralose increases cravings for sweets.

Individual intolerance can’t be ruled out.

If you persist in eating sucralose-based sweeteners and experience headaches or diarrhea, it may not be right for you.  Sucralose sweetener has no nutritional value and contains no vitamins or beneficial trace elements.

sucralose keto
They are really sugar-free but full of sucralose

Sucralose: benefits

If you need it, you can find some benefits in sucralose.

  • Not sugar.
  • Has a zero glycemic index, doesn’t affect blood sugar and insulin levels. But not always.
  • Doesn’t destroy tooth enamel, so it doesn’t provoke tooth decay.
  • Enhances the taste and aroma of foods.
  • Has no unpleasant odor or aftertaste. 

Is sucralose worth adding to your diet?

You may not realize it, but sucralose is probably already in your diet: it is often included in sweeteners. It’s also found in sugar-free sodas. You can find sucralose in juices, farmer cheese, baby and sports nutrition. So read the labels carefully.

Bottom line:

  • Sucralose is made from sugar but is much sweeter.
  • Harmful from all angles: bad for the microbiota; increases the risk of diabetes; can become toxic at high temperatures. 
  • Numerous scientists and researchers are calling for a review of sucralose’s safety and a change in its status from “use with caution” to “avoid”.

The best alternatives to sucralose

  • Stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar and has a glycemic index of zero. But sometimes there is a bitter aftertaste – try a brand change. 
  • Erythritol doesn’t give an insulin response. It’s not as sweet as sugar. Disadvantages: it leaves a cold feeling in the mouth, which many people do not like; if overdosed, it can cause bloating or diarrhea. But it’s quite good mixed with arhat or stevia.
  • Monk fruit is 100-250 times sweeter than sugar and contains no calories. Its disadvantage is the price. 
  • Allulose is less sweet and caloric than sugar and has no effect on glucose. The disadvantage is the same as with monk fruit – price.

Sucralose-free sweet keto recipes

Chocolate parfait
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Lviv Cheesecake
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Paradisaic delight
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Lemon Curd Tart
With coconut crust
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