Sugar is bad for you! – I don’t think many people will argue with me on this statement. Many of my clients, in an effort to reduce their sugar intake, switched to Splenda as an alternative to sugar. And it’s understandable! Splenda is calorie free, taste just like sugar and FDA approved it. So it’s safe, right? It turns out this sugar substitute is not so good for us.
Let’s take a closer look at Splenda, shall we?
- A packet of Splenda is 1gm, has less than 4 Cal 2 and therefore has a label of 0% Calories
- It contains sucralose – an artificial sweetener that is about 600 times sweeter than sugar.
- About 5% of a Splenda packet is sucralose and the remaining 95% by volume is D-dextrose and maltodextrin. The last two ingredients are regular carbohydrates that serve as bulking material for the extremely sweet sucralose.
Sucralose, according to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health1, is not a harmless substance.
Health concerns the Journal raised about Sucralose
- It changes the physiology of body weight regulation
- It speeds up glucose absorption in the intestine
- Insulin secretion is stimulates and increased
- It interferes with the enzymes in the Gut that protect us from toxic material
- There are potential adverse Sucralose-drug interactions
- It is partially metabolized in the Gut and it interferes with beneficial bacteria
- Heating from baking decomposes sucralose into potentially toxic compounds
I could continue the list for much longer, but I think you get the picture. And, hopefully, I convinced you that Splenda is NOT the best sugar substitute.
Ok, but if not Splenda, then what can I use as an alternative to sugar?
As the safest sugar substitute, Stevia would be on top of my list. Because it is an herb it’s absolutely natural. You can even grow Stevia in your garden. There are many brands on the market that sell Stevia in liquid or powdered forms. I recommend more natural liquid extracts vs. highly processed white powder. Be aware that it has a slight bitter aftertaste that you might not enjoy.
However, I believe the best solution to the sugar problem is not substitution with natural or artificial sweeteners, rather sugar intake reduction. For helpful ideas on how to reduce your sugar intake read my article No Sugar, Thanks!
- S. Schiffman & K.I. Rother (2013). Sucralose, A Synthetic Organochlorine Sweetener: Overview Of Biological Issues. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, 16 (7), http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10937404.2013.842523