Sucralose sources, health risks

Tuesday, October 03, 2017 by

Sucralose is a zero-calorie, non-nutritive sweetener derived from sugar. It was discovered in 1976 by graduate student Shashnikant Phadnis when he misunderstood his adviser’s instructions and tasted a chlorinated sugar compound instead of testing it. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sucrose, and has a sweet taste that doesn’t leave behind an unpleasant aftertaste, making it highly popular as a sugar substitute in cooking and baking.

The most famous sucralose-based product is Splenda, a joint effort between the companies Tate & Lyle and Johnson & Johnson. While sucralose is free of calories, Splenda contains 3.36 calories per gram because of the addition of maltodextrin and dextrose.

While purportedly harmless, sucralose is known to cause several health problems.

Harmful effects that can be caused by sucralose

Once considered to be resistant to heat and safe for cooking, sucralose has since been found to be potentially dangerous under exposure to high temperatures. Sucralose can break down when exposed to heat and interact with ingredients like glycerol, an odorless liquid usually used to sweeten and preserve foods. When sucralose and glycerol combine, they can form chloropropanols, a class of chemical compounds that can increase the risk of cancer. Moreover, sucralose contains chlorine, which is also known to be carcinogenic.

Because Splenda has calories, it’s best avoided by diabetic patients, as the carbohydrate content in Splenda can contribute to blood sugar spikes. However, this effect has so far only been observed in people who do not consume artificial sweeteners on a regular basis.

While the exact mechanism has yet to be uncovered, sucralose and other artificial sweeteners have been found to trigger migraines and headaches in certain individuals.

Sucralose allergies have been observed in some people, and they reported feeling shortness of breath, heart palpitations, aching joints, dizziness, and nausea.

Individuals who are taking medications for heart disease should consume sucralose with the utmost caution as it’s been said to inhibit the absorption of these medications, as well as decrease their efficacy.

Body systems harmed by sucralose

Sucralose has been shown to negatively impact the digestive system by decreasing the amount of good bacteria in the digestive tract. More than just that, sucralose can also increase the bad bacteria in stool, leading to an imbalance of gut flora. This can, in turn, disrupt many of the body’s normal functions as the imbalance can allow dangerous pathogens and toxins to enter the bloodstream from the gut.

Sucralose can decrease the weight of the thymus, a small organ located in the upper chest associated with the immune system.

Where to learn more

Summary

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that can harm the digestive system and the thymus, the former by knocking the gut flora out of balance and the latter by decreasing its mean weight. Moreover, sucralose can become carcinogenic when exposed to glycerol at high temperatures; sucralose is known to contain the carcinogenic chlorine as well. Sucralose is not recommended for diabetic patients since it can cause blood sugar spikes, nor should it be taken by people on heart medication.

Sources include:

HealthLine.com
MedicineNet.com
Livestrong.com
NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov



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