‘Oh sugar’, how many times a day do you think this? Us too! Sugar is on people’s minds a lot, and for good reason. Added and simple sugars in food can cause a whole host of health problems, including tooth decay, type 2 diabetes and obesity (NHS 2017). Therefore, current dietary guidelines emphasise the importance of reducing these sugars in our diets (SACN 2015), and sugar substitutes are being increasingly popular. In 2015, the market for sugar substitutes was estimated to be worth $13 billion, and it continues to grow (Grand View Research 2018).
Sucralose is a popular sugar substitute. An artificial sweetener with a sweetness 600 times that of table sugar and containing zero calories (Calorie Control Council 2020), sucralose was discovered in 1976 (Grand View Research 2018). Since the United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved it as safe for human consumption in 1999, it has appeared in literally thousands of foods and beverages (FDA 2018). However, there is growing evidence that sucralose, in fact, could have negative effects on our bodies. Consequently, Swisse Me have delved into the research on your behalf. Here’s what we found.
Contrary to averting the effects of regular sugar on the blood and helping to stabilise blood glucose, sucralose may in fact have the opposite effect. A small study by Pepino et al. (2013) found that, in certain populations, sucralose increased blood glucose and insulin levels while decreasing insulin sensitivity. This could be bad news for those who use sucralose to manage their blood glucose, particularly diabetics. Later studies by Romo-Romo et al. (2018) and Lertrit et al. (2018) found similar effects in healthy subjects. We’ll pass on the sucralose; we’re sweet enough as it is, thanks!
Sucralose is commonly used to reduce calories when cooking and baking. However, recent studies have suggested it is not heat resistant. For example, a review by Healthy baking? We think not.
Whilst more research is needed to confirm that sucralose is in fact a risk to human health, Swisse Me isn’t taking any chances. Where possible we try not to use these types of sweeteners and add natural sugars from fruits or stevia.
Lertrit, A., Srimachai, S., Saetung, S., Chanprasertyothin, S., Chailurkit, L.O., Areevut, C., Katekao, P., Ongphiphadhanakul, B. and Sriphrapradang, C. (2018) Effects of sucralose on insulin and glucagon-like peptide-1 secretion in healthy subjects: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition, 55, pp.125-130.
Pepino, M.Y. et al. (2013) Sucralose affects glycemic and hormonal responses to an oral glucose load, Diabetes Care, 36(9), 2530-5
Romo-Romo, A., Aguilar-Salinas, C.A., Brito-Córdova, G.X., Gómez-Díaz, R.A. and Almeda-Valdes, P. (2018) Sucralose decreases insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects: a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 108(3), 85-491.
Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) (2015) Carbohydrates and Health. TSO: London.
Schiffman, S.S. and Rother, K.I., (2013). Sucralose, a synthetic organochlorine sweetener: overview of biological issues. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 16(7), 399-451.