The artificial sweetener sucralose is also branded and sold as Splenda. Research from the Ramazzini Institute has liked this product to cancer, specifically leukemia. Studies have been done through research of mice being fed Splenda. I think we’d all be better off risking a little weight gain from sugar than using these sweetener products. The cancer risk also increased along with the dose given to the mice.
It has taken more than a decade for Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to recommend that consumers avoid Splenda. It is recommended, however, that this is an organization whose guidelines need to be taken with a grain of salt. Drinking diet soda is still considered safer than drinking regular soda.
It seems unrealistic that more than 4,500 products are with Splenda on the labels and known for its tag line “made from sugar so it tastes like sugar”. Splenda does in fact start off as a sugar molecule but after the five-step patented process of making sucralose, three chlorine molecules are added to a sucrose or sugar molecule. This makes it far from being natural. The chemical composition of the sugar is altered and converted to a fructose-galactose molecule. This type of molecule does not occur in nature and our bodies do not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. Researchers indicate that about 15 percent of sucralose is absorbed into your digestive system and ultimately stored in your body.
Not only is there a cancer potential but also Splenda may wreak havoc on your gut bacteria. The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found that Splenda reduces the amount of beneficial bacteria in rat intestines by 50% while increasing the pH level. A glycoprotein is also affected that could affect the way certain drugs are metabolized by the body.
Do we really want to take the additional risks by using Splenda? Splenda may cause neurotoxic effects found in water, as published in the 2014 research suggesting the neurotoxic properties that may be present in the sweetener.
Those diagnosed with diabetes should also be aware that Splenda affects your body’s insulin response and when study participants drank a Splenda sweetened beverage, their insulin levels rose about 20% higher than consuming only water prior to taking a glucose-challenge test.
Artificial sweeteners as a whole confuse your metabolism. Something sweet causes your brain to release dopamine, which activates your brain’s reward center releasing leptin. This eventually informs your brain you are “full” once a certain amount of calories have been ingested. Tricking your body into thinking it’s going to receive sugar when it doesn’t come only continues to signal that it needs more, resulting in carb cravings.
Aspartame is probably the most dangerous of the bunch and more widely used. There are hundreds of scientific studies showing the harmful effects it can cause. Sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar because they aren’t fully absorbed into your body. Eating too many foods with sugar alcohols can lead to abdominal gas and diarrhea. It also spikes your blood sugar almost as much as a starchy new potato.
Xylitol does NOT have a great effect on the blood sugar and might be a better choice. When it’s pure, side effects are minimal and actually come with such benefits as fighting tooth decay. Even though probably better for us this product is toxic to dogs and some other animals.
After reviewing the many options, Stevia which is an all natural herb is completely safe in the natural form and can be used to sweeten any dishes or drinks. It can be bought in liquid or powder form.
There are techniques on the internet suggesting we use exercise, drink organic black coffee and add lemon or lime juice to the water as a way to “kick” the habit, especially for soda addicts.
Do your research online and make smart and safe choices in the products you use as a sugar substitute. The choice for all of us to be healthy lies in our own hands.
–Dr Fredda Branyon