Can you imagine skipping desserts and saying no to all things sweet? We’re all probably guilty of having our sweet cravings a little bit too much. Recently though, sucralose has gained popularity with health-conscious people who want to explore better alternatives with their food intake. Now, the big questions for most are, “does sucralose break a fast?” and “what are its benefits?”
In this article, we are going to tackle how this sweetener works with fasting and its other key details. Given everyone’s dependence on the standard table sugar, even the most unexpected products are filled with it, such as easy-to-cook and processed food. Well, these products often contain excessive sugar, which takes a large portion of our daily calorie intake. Here’s everything you need to know about sucralose before trying it out.
What is Sucralose?
Sucralose is a no-calorie sweetener that adds sweetness to foods and beverages. It is made from the regular table sugar (sucrose) that undergoes in a multi-step chemical process. The process starts when three selected hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sucrose molecule are replaced with chlorine atoms resulting in this zero-calorie artificial sweetener that is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar.
The most popular product made from sucralose is called Splenda. It is commonly used as a sugar substitute in both cooking and baking, but it’s also added on different kinds of food products and beverages worldwide. Chewing gum, dairy products, canned fruits, syrups, and condiments are some examples of food-containing sucralose.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that adds sweetness to food and beverages. Splenda is a commonly known sucralose-based product that is used as a substitute for regular table sugar.
Is Sucralose Bad or Good?
After 100 safety studies about sucralose, it is said to be safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use in specific food categories in 1998 and gained approval on all food and beverage categories in 1999.
Other health authorities have also found that sucralose is safe to use, but the FDA established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for sucralose. The ADI represents an amount of 100 times less than the quantity of sucralose found to be safe in research studies. Those who are using sucralose should just use 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) per day.
Therefore, for a person weighing 150 pounds (68 kg), it will equate to 340 mg of sucralose use every day. Based on significant research from the World Health Organization (WHO) 2009, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) is the average daily intake over a lifetime to expect sucralose to be safe.
On the other hand, even though your body may not absorb calories from sucralose, it doesn’t mean that nothing happens after you consume it. As a matter of fact, research in 2013 shows that some parts of sucralose may be metabolized in the digestive tract, which can lead to health problems. That’s why many experts like the Manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D., doesn’t recommend their patients to use sucralose.
According to her, multiple studies have shown concerns about how it may negatively impact gut microbiota, insulin levels, and weight. There have been studies conducted that show damage to gut inflammation in rats with Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease). Of course, they really can’t tell its potential risks in humans, for they used animals in those studies.
Health authorities consider sucralose safe, but its harmful effects on the human body aren’t clear. It is best if you will follow the acceptable daily intake (ADI) as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Effects of Sucralose on Insulin
Sucralose is used as an alternative to table sugar since it is a no-calorie sweetener. While it is said to have little or no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, it still depends on whether you’re used to consuming artificial sweeteners.
Based on one small study in 17 severely obese people who did not regularly consume artificial sweeteners reported that sucralose elevated blood sugar levels by 14%, and insulin levels by 20%. Meanwhile, several other studies in healthy, normal-weight people have found no effects on blood sugar and insulin levels.
For those who don’t consume this artificial sweetener regularly, it might raise their blood sugar and insulin levels but does not affect people who have regularly had sucralose intake.
The effect of sucralose on insulin is said not to affect the people who are consuming it daily but may have an impact on their blood sugar and insulin levels to those who don’t consume it regularly.
Sucralose in Energy Drinks
When you need a boost, energy drinks are your go-to option to provide the additional energy that you need and to cut out too much caffeine. However, excessive intake of sugar could lead you to a high risk of health problems; that’s why many people have switched to sugar-free energy drinks, thinking that it could be a healthier choice.
Sucralose in energy drinks is not a bad idea. However, keep in mind that artificial sweeteners may include sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K). Even though it has been declared safe by the FDA, there are not enough tests to know its long-term effects.
Splenda, the most popular artificial sweetener made from sucralose, is found in the sugar-free versions of energy drinks, namely Rockstar, Bang, and Monster. Since the effects and potential risks of this sweetener isn’t clear in the long run, you might want to consider following the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of sucralose as established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); or just moderately consume naturally sweetened energy drinks without over-consumption.
Most energy drinks are filled with sugar; that’s why many people have switched to sugar-free energy drinks. But, instead of natural sugar, it contains artificial sweeteners, including sucralose. The use of sucralose has been declared safe, but its long term effects on our bodies are not yet apparent.
What will break my fast?
Nowadays, fasting has become a popular lifestyle choice. Fasting means refraining yourself from food intake. However, you could still consume some foods and beverages while still preserving the benefits of fasting.
Before we tackle if sucralose will break a fast, here’s a list of food and beverages that you can consume while on fasting:
- Water. May it be plain or carbonated water, it contains no calories and will keep you hydrated during your fast.
- Coffee and tea. These beverages should be consumed without added sugar, milk, or cream. However, some people found out that adding small amounts of milk or fat could satiate hunger.
- Diluted apple cider vinegar. During fast, some people found out that drinking 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 ml) of apple cider vinegar mixed into the water could keep them hydrated and prevents their cravings.
As you can see, some examples of food and beverages that you can consume while you’re on fasting have no calories. Why? Because it could break your fasting. When you’re ready to take a break, it’s better to take soft foods first so your digestive system won’t be overwhelmed.
On the other hand, there are also healthy options which you can opt for to successfully break your fast. Here are some top picks:
- Healthy fats. Drinking coffee containing MCT oil, ghee, coconut oil, or butter during a fast will take you out of the fasted state, but it won’t stop you from burning fat and using fat for fuel.
- Bone broth. This rich source of nutrients can help replenish electrolytes lost during long periods of only drinking water.
Consuming foods and beverages that are high in fat, sugar, or even fiber like greasy cheeseburger, slice of cake, soda, nuts and seeds after fasting can be challenging for your body to digest that could lead to bloating and discomfort. However, eating food that’s easy to digest and contains a bit of protein and some healthy fats can break your fast more subtly. Some good examples are:
- Dried fruits
- Fermented foods
- Healthy fats
Breaking your fast with healthy foods that may be better tolerated can help replenish essential nutrients and electrolytes while easing food back into your diet. After eating gentler foods, you can now consume other healthy foods such as whole grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, and fish; and then return to healthy eating.
During fasting, you should know what kind of foods and beverages will break your fast. When cutting your fast, you should start consuming soft foods and beverages first so your body won’t feel overwhelmed. After taking in mild foods, you can go back to eating regularly.
Can sucralose break my fast?
When fasting, you might ask if using an artificial sweetener or sucralose can break your fast since it was known to have no calories. The answer is still unclear. Even though sucralose is a no-calorie sweetener and it’s not yet proven that it won’t affect the blood sugar and insulin levels, your body would still process them in some way or another.
Since there is no definite answer if sucralose can break a fast, it is recommended not to consume any food or drinks that contain artificial sweeteners, especially if you’re strict when it comes to fasting. However, the only way to be 100% guaranteed that you will remain in your fasted state is only to drink water during your fasting window. Drinking water, coffee, or black tea is acceptable and recommended if you want to remain in a fasted state.
Even though artificial sweeteners are known to having no calories, it is recommended to avoid it if possible if you want to be sure of staying in your fasted state. However, you may drink water, coffee, or black tea during your fasting window if you don’t want to compromise the benefits of your fasting.
Food and beverages really contain high-calorie sugars that could lead to harmful effects in your body. Therefore, replacing it with sucralose—a low-calorie sweetener is a great option. Since there are no definite proofs that it has harmful effects on humans, you may consume it with moderation based on FDA’s established acceptable daily intake.
As to sucralose breaking a fast, it is recommended not to consume sweeteners, may it be artificial or natural if you want to be sure of seeing the benefits of fasting. But, it’s still best if you could consult a medical professional before you begin your fasting protocol.