What Is the Difference Between Stevia, Sucrose,Splenda and Sucralose?
Lets take a look at what all of these sugar substitutes really are and decide if you want to put them into your body.
What Is Stevia?
Native to South America, stevia is a naturally sourced, zero-calorie sweetener that has been used as a natural sugar substitute for hundreds of years. Traditionally known as yerba dulce (sweet herb), stevia is a concentrated extract made from the leaves of the stevia plant, which is grown in Brazil, Paraguay, and areas of Southeast Asia.
The sweet tasting components of stevia are comprised of what’s called glycosides, which are naturally present in the stevia plant. There are 11 major glycosides, in which, rebaudioside A, is the most abundant.
What Is Sucralose (Splenda)?
Sucralose or Splenda is the only sugar substitute that is actually derived from real sugar molecules (sucrose). Sucralose is made through a patented, multi-step process that starts with sugar and selectively replaces three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms. The result is an exceptionally intense sweetener that tastes like sugar but without sugar’s calories.3 Sucralose much like stevia, is a zero-calorie sweetener, as it passes through the digestive system, without being metabolized.
Did you know that Splenda is actually Sucralose with a Branded name? NOPE i did not know that either!
Sucralose is chlorinated form of table sugar. FDA says it is safe to consume. Ask yourself this, Do you think you want to have chlorine added to the food you eat or the drinks you drink? I definitely do not! Now i know its not like drinking or eating chlorine but consuming modified chlorine atoms can be Detrimental to your overall health.
Sucrose Versus Sucralose
Sucrose is a naturally occurring sugar, commonly known as table sugar. Sucralose, on the other hand, is an artificial sweetener, produced in a lab. Sucralose or Splenda is trichlorosucrose, so the chemical structures of the two sweeteners are related, but not identical. The molecular formula of sucralose is C12H19Cl3O8, while the formula for sucrose is C12H22O11. The sucralose molecule looks like the sugar molecule, superficially. The difference is that three of the oxygen-hydrogen groups attached to the sucrose molecule are replaced by chlorine atoms to form sucralose.
Unlike sucrose, sucralose is not metabolized by the body. Sucralose contributes zero calories to the diet, compared with sucrose, which contributes 16 calories per teaspoon (4.2 grams). Sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than sucrose. Unlike most artificial sweeteners, it doesn't have a bitter aftertaste.
Splenda or Sucralose's downside is that your body can absorb the chlorine atoms, which can attack the good bacteria in your body. Both of these sweeteners are options for people who need to cut table sugar. They are going to affect everyone differently. Some people with diabetes claim it's fine, while others say it spiked their insulin levels. It's best to discuss with your doctor and see which one may provide the most benefits for you and your health situation.
Does Sucralose Affect Gut Health?
The friendly bacteria in your gut are extremely important for your overall health.They may improve digestion, benefit immune function and reduce your risk of many diseases. Interestingly, one rat study found that sucralose may have negative effects on these bacteria.
After 12 weeks, rats that consumed the sweetener had 47–80% fewer anaerobes (bacteria that don't require oxygen) in their guts.
Beneficial bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria were significantly reduced, while more harmful bacteria seemed to be less affected.
What's more, the gut bacteria had still not returned to normal 12 weeks after the experiment was finished.
Nevertheless, as this was a study in rats, more research is needed to explore whether sucralose really affects gut bacteria in humans.
Baking With Sucralose May Be Harmful
Splenda is considered to be heat-resistant and good for cooking and baking. Yet, recent studies have challenged this.
It seems that at high temperatures, it starts to break down and interact with other ingredients.
One study found that heating sucralose with glycerol, the backbone of fat molecules, produced harmful substances called chloropropanols. These substances may raise cancer risk.
More research is needed, but it may be best to use other sweeteners instead when baking at temperatures above 350°F or 120°C in the meantime.
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF SUCRALOSE
It takes time for sucralose to build up in the system, so if you have eaten something made with sucralose once or twice, worry not. Our body is able to dispose of sucralose consumed sparingly. However, if you use sucralose daily, your body may not be able to get rid of it.
Research has found that your body can get rid of 96.7% of sucralose when consumed sparingly, however, with more consistent consumption; your body can only get rid of 92.8% of sucralose.
92.8% may still seem like a high number, but that 8% of chlorinated sugar remaining in your body gets stored in your body and accumulates, making your cells toxic.
It may seem surprising that the FDA would approve something that is clearly so toxic, however, the FDA has a history of approving several things that have later been pulled off the market for being harmful.
The truth is, FDA testing of a product is not always so rigorous and often provided by companies that have a financial interest in the product.
Suffice to say, the studies often conducted are short-term and often skewed in the favor of the interested party. These short-term studies barely skim the surface and do not examine the effect sucralose may have on the liver or kidneys.
Below are some of the side effects associated with that little yellow packet.
Consuming sucralose may have a detrimental effect on your digestion. Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can wreak major havoc with your digestion, causing diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
Splenda may act as a laxative because it alters the bacteria in your gut, particularly the good bacteria. Good bacteria in your gut ensures that the digestion process goes smoothly while minimizing the amount of gas production while breaking down food.
However, when sucralose is thrown into the mix, the levels of nitrogen gas and water potentially increase in your colon, possibly leading to such nasty side effects as diarrhea.
DISRUPTS YOUR INTESTINAL FLORA
More and more we are finding out that maintaining a healthy gut flora can be the key to so many aspects of general health. So new dietary advice is beginning to emerge on how to improve your gut flora. The bad news is that sucralose may damage and unbalance the good to bad bacteria balance.
One animal study found that consuming sucralose decreased the good bacteria in your digestive tract while increasing bad bacteria in your stool. There are currently no studies indicating that this would have a similar effect in humans, however, it is something to consider.
3) PREVENTS ABSORPTION OF MEDICATION
Consuming sucralose may inhibit the proper absorption of certain medications, decreasing their potency. These drugs include medications for heart disease and cancer.
A study released in 2008 that artificial sweeteners may be responsible for triggering nagging headaches. This artificial sweetener lineup includes sucralose.
This study indicates that consuming artificial sweeteners may cause mild side effects such as headaches, and possible even migraines.
However, more studies need to be done in order to determine how artificial sweeteners affect people that are susceptible to migraine headaches.
5) INSULIN RESPONSE
Diabetes Care journal found that consuming sucralose may alter the way your body responds to sugar. Diabetics beware: this zero calorie sweetener can severely affect your glucose levels.
Some people have reported that consuming sucralose has led to a host of symptoms resembling an allergic reaction. The most common symptoms observed after consuming sucralose within a 24-hour time frame are:
• Rashes or hives on the skin. Some people have reported blistering, itching, redness, and swelling
• Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and eyelids
• Bleeding gums
• Shortness of breath, including wheezing and coughing
• A runny nose and sneezing
• Bloodshot, watery eyes
• Heart palpitations
• Achy Joints
• Nausea, bloating, gas, or diarrhea
• Anxiety or depression
OTHER SIDE EFFECTS
Consumer complaints against Splenda have been numerous. These reports have included such side effects as:
• Blood sugar spikes
• Digestive problems
• Weight gain
• Blurred vision
HUMAN STUDIES INTO SUCRALOSE SAFETY
There have been very few human clinical trials into the safety of sucralose or Splenda and only two trials were ever published prior to the FDA approving the stuff for human use. Those two trials actually involved 36 human subjects.
Yes, you heard that right…before approving sucralose, there was a grand total of 2 completed studies involving 36 participants. But that is not all…the longest completed and the published trial lasted all of four days and actually examined the effect of sucralose regarding tooth decay rather than any other human tolerance issues.
While the FDA is not lying when they tell you that they have reviewed more than a hundred studies on Splenda, they fail to tell you that the vast majority of these studies were conducted on animals rather than humans. The results of these animal studies indicate that there are plenty of potential issues including the following potential problems.
1. A decrease in red blood cell count and signs of anemia.
2. High doses caused an interference with the production of sperm and led to infertility.
3. Brain lesions occurred when sucralose was given to animals in high doses.
4. Rats fed with sucralose exhibited enlarged or calcified kidneys which the FDA determined was
5. Rabbits fed with sucralose experienced significantly greater spontaneous abortions.
6. Rabbits given sucralose also suffered a far higher mortality rate compared to control group
As things stand, there is nowhere near enough evidence that artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame can be safely consumed and it would appear to be best to avoid them entirely until their safety is proven one way or another.
For the time being, you would be far better off avoiding artificial sweeteners entirely and if you have a sweet tooth going down a more natural route.
The potential risks are not worth it based on what we know today. Especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding–these latest studies are a bit scary, to say the least.
Your best bet is to stick to more natural versions–below are some good options:
• Lakanto has a nice brown sugar taste–it is a mix of Monkfruit and Non-GMO erythritol. It is my pick as the best option no calorie sweetener.
• Stevia is good but has a bit of an aftertaste that Lakanto does not.
• Honey is a good option if you are not counting calories or worrying about impacting blood sugar or stay in ketosis.
• Another option is coconut sugar, it has less of a blood sugar impact (35 Glycemic Index). It is still sugar and it has a lot of fructose which is processed in the liver.
• Maple Syrup is another healthier (although not zero calorie) option
Anything is bad in excess so cutting overall sugar consumption should be the priority. If you are adding a teaspoon in your coffee or tea–any of the above are potentially good choices.