New Evidence Finds Sucralose Does Affect Blood Sugar and Insulin

New Evidence Finds Sucralose Does Affect Blood Sugar and Insulin

The artificial sweetener called Splenda is marketed as a "delicious alternative to sugar." The main ingredient is sucralose, with glucose and maltodextrin as fillers. Sucralose could affect blood sugar and insulin levels, a new study published in Diabetes Care finds. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis analyzed the effects of sucralose in 17 obese people who don't have diabetes and don’t regularly use artificial sweeteners. The participants consisted of people with an average body mass index (BMI) of just over 42. A person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

The 17 participants were either given water or sucralose to drink before taking a glucose challenge test. The researchers wanted to find out how the combination of sucralose and glucose would affect blood sugar and insulin levels. They tested every participant twice. Participants who drank water followed by glucose in one visit were given sucralose followed by glucose in the next, so that every subject served as their own control group. The researchers found that when participants drank sucralose, their blood sugar levels were at a higher level than when they drank only water before eating glucose. The insulin levels of those who drank sucralose increased by about 20 percent.

The findings from other studies support what the Washington University School of Medicine researchers found. One study found that the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas can detect sweet foods and drinks with receptors that are almost identical to those found in the mouth, causing an increased release of hormones, including insulin. Another study found that the absorption of glucose increases when receptors in the stomach are activated by artificial sweeteners. One study in particular by Duke University researchers found that Splenda contributes to obesity by destroying beneficial intestinal bacteria and possibly interfering with the absorption of prescription drugs.

People who are obese are marketing targets for artificial sweeteners. That's the reason the Washington University School of Medicine researchers wanted to study obese people. "We wanted to study this population because these sweeteners frequently are recommended to them as a way to make their diets healthier by limiting calorie intake," said first author M. Yanina Pepino, PhD, research assistant professor of medicine.

"Our results indicate that this artificial sweetener is not inert – it does have an effect," said Pepino.  "And we need to do more studies to determine whether this observation means long-term use could be harmful."

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Andrea Donsky, B. COMM is an international TV Health Expert, Best Selling Author, Nutritionist Podcast Host, and Founder of—a recipient of Healthline’s Best Healthy Living Blogs for 2019. As a pioneer and visionary in the health food industry, Andrea’s passion is to inspire people to make healthier choices. Andrea has combined her background and expertise as both a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and an entrepreneur ("She Boss!") to educate the public on living a healthy lifestyle through the creation of her businesses, books, articles, podcasts, videos, talks, and TV and radio media appearances. Andrea founded Naturally Savvy Media Inc. in 2007 in order to share her passion for healthy living, and love for natural products and companies. Among her numerous publications, Andrea co-authored Unjunk your Junk Food published by Simon and Schuster, a book that journalist, author and mother Maria Shriver endorsed: “Unjunk Your Junk Food has certainly made me more aware about the food that my children eat and the effects it has on our body and mind."</P. Andrea also co-authored two e-books entitled Label Lessons: Your Guide To A Healthy Shopping Cart, and Label Lessons: Unjunk Your Kid’s Lunch Box.