Many things in our lives are now easier thanks to the Internet. We can book our own flights for a vacation, check what the weather will be when we arrive and order new clothes before we leave. But finding good health advice online is not an easy task.
If you’ve ever tried to get an answer to a health question you’ve probably ended up more confused - or even frightened – about your condition, after scanning all of the possibilities. That is especially true when it comes to alleged (or suspected) side effects of artificial sweeteners (commonly known as “sugar substitutes” or what I call “low-calorie sweeteners”).
I have written about the myths associated with sucralose (the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweeteners) and other sugar substitutes before in individual blogs. For this blog, I thought it would be useful to pull together the most commonly asked questions so you have the answers you are seeking all in one place.
Dispelling the Myths about Artificial Sweeteners Side Effects
Q: Do artificial sweeteners, like SPLENDA® Sweeteners, cause weight gain?
A: No. Artificial sweeteners can help decrease caloric intake when they are used in place of sugar, so they can help you lose weight when part of an energy-balanced diet with regular physical activity.
Q: Will using SPLENDA® Sweetener Products or other sugar substitutes make me crave sweets?
A: No. Research shows food cravings are not the same for everyone and not triggered by the same foods. Since sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweeteners, is 600 times sweeter than sugar, some people believe it will trigger cravings for them if they like sweets. But studies on people who are regular users of SPLENDA® Products and other artificial sweeteners show that these products can be an aid to weight management. Read more in my blog about sweet cravings and satisfying our desire for sweet taste with fewer calories.
Q: Can no- and low-calorie sweeteners like SPLENDA® Sweeteners make me have an increased appetite?
A: No. It is normal to want more of a food that tastes good to us, but if we pay attention to our hunger and satiety signals we can avoid overeating. Low calorie sweeteners have been shown to be a useful tool in weight management by helping people feel more satisfied with their food and beverage choices.
Q: Do artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, cause digestive problems?
A: No. Data from over 100 studies show sucralose has no side effects. Changes in our stomach sounds and bowel habits can be triggered by many healthy foods we eat and are a sign of normal digestion at work.
Read more about sucralose and digestive health.
Q: Can sugar substitutes cause diabetes?
A: No. People who have diabetes are advised to reduce their sugar and carbohydrate intake by using sugar substitutes (such as SPLENDA® Sweetener Products). Sucralose is not a carbohydrate so it does not affect our blood glucose levels or insulin requirements.
Learn more of the “sweet truth” about artificial sweeteners and diabetes.
Now that you have all the answers to your questions about side effects and artificial sweeteners you can get back to planning your next vacation via the Internet!
Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.
For discussion of myths related to low-calorie sweeteners, visit the Fact vs. Fiction section of this blog.