Are you looking for helpful information about sucralose? You're in the right spot!
In this guide, you'll learn:
- What is a sucralose?
- Is Sucralose keto friendly?
- What are the foods that contain sucralose?
- Are there side effects with sucralose?
- And a whole lot more...
One of the obvious consequences of following a ketogenic approach is the loss of “sweetness” in one’s diet as carbohydrates are cut out.
The sweeter a food is, traditionally the richer that food will be in sugar, and the faster it will be broken down and reach the blood stream, elevating blood glucose (and subsequently insulin) and knocking us out of ketosis.
Sweeteners, a “sweetness” / sugar substitute, have been found / created to fill this void however absent of nutritional attachment.
Essentially, we can get that “sweet” hit without having to rely on carbohydrates, and particularly sugary carbohydrates, to do so!
Sweeteners are both naturally occurring (for example stevia) and artificially produced.
Sucralose is one such artificially produced sweetener which tends to get a bad rap, and many keto dieters stave away from it. But what’s the harm in a little sucralose?
What is a Keto Diet?
What is Sucralose?
Sucralose, better known to most as Splenda, is an artificial sweetener which is between 320 – 1000 times sweeter than table sugar and 3 times sweeter than aspartame.
Sucralose is made from sugar in a multi-step chemical process in which 3 hydrogen-oxygen groups are replaced with chlorine atoms.
The majority of sucralose is undigested when passing through the body and therefore carries no caloric value.
Is Sucralose Keto Friendly?
While many would argue against sweetener use in ketogenic dieters (mainly due to the ramblings and conspiracy theories of social media “experts”), there is no conclusive proof that consumption of sweetener use affects insulin and or blood glucose levels / response.
When we look at sucralose in isolation, the randomized controlled trials i.e. they directly test the question against a control group, further support this notion.
Brown et al., (2011) compared sucralose intake to water and found that there was no difference between water and sucralose on insulin and glucose response.
However, in contrast to what you may hear on social media, sucrose (sugar) and sucralose responses were significantly different, with only sucrose having a marked effect on blood sugar and insulin response.
Ford et al., (2011) had similar findings when comparing a multitude of other “sweet” alternatives however were able to establish that placebo was not an influence.
One interesting study did find however that, when consumed alongside another source of carbohydrate (in this case glucose, how carbohydrate appears in our own blood sugar but also what we could get from food), there was a significantly greater insulin response which may lead to issues with insulin sensitivity following chronic use!
If used in isolation, sucralose is keto friendly. Trust us, that Splenda in your coffee isn’t going to knock you out of ketosis! If anything, moving to a keto diet will help you avoid the insulin sensitivity issues that may occur with chronic consumption of sucralose and carbohydrate in tandem!
Foods That Contain Sucralose
Aside from sweeteners, there a number of foods that contain sucralose! Here’s an example of some common, store bought products which contain the sweetener;
- Diet drinks
- Certain sweetened condiments
- Certain protein powders and protein ready-made snacks
- Dairy products
- Chewing gum
Sucralose Side Effects
While we know that, independently sucralose may not be directly detriment to ketosis, there may be certain side effects to over consumption of the sweetener.
We noted how it may affect insulin response when consumed in tandem with carbohydrate, but is there any other effects we need to be wary of?
There is some animal study data suggesting that it may alter hunger signaling / sweet response reward system but this field needs more work to translate it to practical human situations.
There is still work required to explore how this relates to humans; anecdotally however, many do suffer from gastrointestinal issues when over consuming sweeteners and this is likely due to the effect it has on our gut bacteria!
In general, the FDA has stated that sucralose is safe for human use (making this statement following the findings of over 100 studies on the subject).
In terms of alternatives, there are of course other sweeteners; aspartame for example, another artificial sweetener (however less sweet than sucralose).
We’d recommend going down the naturally occurring sweetener route however as these may actually have some benefit to your gut bacteria (as opposed to what has been proposed following artificial sweetener use).
Natural sweeteners are sweeter than sucrose, contribute few calories, have no carcinogenic effects, and do not affect insulin production.
Stevia is a great example. It’s around 250 times as sweet as sucrose however, unlike other sweeteners, may actually have some benefit to gut bacteria!
Does Sucralose Raise Blood Sugar?
Sucralose does NOT raise blood sugar.
We’ve established this earlier in the article however people will still have their doubts (despite being presented with the evidence supporting that notion). We believe more research will continue to be produced in this field supporting this notion however!
Does Sucralose Raise Insulin?
Sucralose does NOT raise insulin levels.
Again, we’ve presented the data for you supporting this notion but we could back this up with a bit of common sense.
Have you ever heard of someone having a Splenda in their coffee then suffering from hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is a state in which blood sugar levels are too low (caused by excessive insulin in the blood). Moderate symptoms include; confusion, dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, blurred vision etc.
More severe symptoms however may lead to seizures or loss of consciousness.
If this were to happen every time someone had a piece of chewing gum or a sweetener in their tea, then sucralose wouldn’t be marked as safe by the FDA and certainly not allowed to be sold for widespread consumption!
Sucralose is a perfectly fine dietary component for a keto dieter that carries neither a risk of you being knocked out of ketosis or going into insulin shock (severe hypoglycemia).
We wouldn’t advise excessive consumption of the sweetener however as this has been linked with its own health issues and consumption in tandem with carbohydrate may affect insulin sensitivity (when chronically combined).
The beauty of the keto diet is that it alleviates this issue!
If you’re still concerned about the use of sucralose in your diet, replacing with a naturally occurring sweetener, like stevia, may be a greater alternative; not only is it a perfectly fine replacement to curb your sweet itch, but may also improve your gut bacteria!
So, Sucralose, it DOES NOT affect blood sugar and it certainly DOES NOT affect blood insulin levels (despite what social media might tell you)!