Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sugar Free Diet? Sucralose (aka, Splenda®) may still impact your Blood-Sugar and Insulin Levels

Sucralose (aka, Splenda®) / sugar-substitutes may alter blood-sugar response

Sugar-Free Diets using artificial-sweeteners may still impact blood glucose and insulin levels

I was just reading about a new small study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis where study results showed that a popular artificial sweetener (Sucralose, or Splenda® by its common brand name) can modify how the body handles sugar. This is certainly worth further research, as many of us using sugar-alternative for calorie-reduction or an otherwise sugar-free-diet may be making assumptions about the products, and their potential impact on our blood-glucose and/or insulin levels, that may turn out to not be 100% correct.

I think the first thing to mention of note about this study was the size of the study: it was a VERY small study group and involved only 17 persons, and the participants were severely obese.  But, the evidence obtained from it sure looks to alter the conventional wisdom that this sugar-substitute (sucralose) is completely incapable of affecting our blood-sugar and/or insulin levels or response curves.  As quoted from the article I read:
"When study participants drank sucralose, their blood sugar peaked at a higher level than when they drank only water before consuming glucose," [...]. "Insulin levels also rose about 20 percent higher. So the artificial sweetener was related to an enhanced blood insulin and glucose response."
That is indeed of interest.  Like the authors later noted, such response makes one consider the progressive nature of Type-2 diabetes and how when we routinely secrete more insulin, we can become resistant to its effects, thus leading us down the path to type 2 diabetes.  That is a bit scary.  But, I still have to believe products like sucralose are going to slow that march toward Type-2 as compared to ingesting the usual sugars: glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc.

I have used Splenda® in various baked products over the years, and more recently I tend to use stevia-based sweeteners.  And, when it comes to stevia, I personally use a LOT of it in my daily life (generally pure powdered stevia and/or PureVia® brand sweeter), from my morning home-made low-sugar greek-yogurt creations to my no-added-sugar smoothies to many other things.  All of these products are certainly wonderful options for people that want to reduce sugar (and/or carbohydrates in general) in their baked goods or other sweetened foods -- gluten-free or otherwise.  I have some gluten-free recipes where I rely almost entirely on such artificial sweeteners (including my own "low-carb cheesecakes" that I still need to post the recipes for on my library), and I have to believe recipes using these sugar-replacers are still much better at attenuating blood-sugar response when consuming the resulting foods (as compared to if I had used conventional high-sugar sweeteners like white sugar, brown sugar, and so forth).

I would personally like to see larger-scale studies done on sucralose as well as other favored sugar-substitutes like: stevia / Reb-a / rebaudiana, Eryithritol (pretty common in conjunction with stevia - e.g., Truvía® brand sweeter uses this combo), and Xylitol too.  I have done my own research over the years, by way of reading available published scholarly material on stevia and eryithritol, and I currently feel they are most likely going to have little if any affect on blood sugar, but I sure wouldn't mind wide-scale studies that confirm this.

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available