Is Splenda Safe for Diabetes?

Splenda packets
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Remember when those little yellow sweetener packets started showing up next to the pink and blue packets in your local restaurant? Well, since its commercial introduction in 1999, Splenda has risen in popularity to take over a huge portion of the U.S. market share for artificial sweeteners, otherwise known as nonnutritive sweeteners.

But, should you be using Splenda? Is it safe for people with diabetes? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more.

What Is Splenda?

Splenda is made from the FDA-approved artificial sweetener sucralose. The FDA reviewed over 110 human and animal studies on sucralose prior to approving it safe for consumption. In its review, it included studies that looked for links to cancer and reproductive and neurological issues. None were found, but more research should be conducted to assess the long term effects of consumption.

  • Sucralose is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener, and Splenda is the most common sucralose-based product.
  • Sucralose is made from sugar, in a multi-step chemical process where 3 hydrogen-oxygen groups are replaced with chlorine atoms.
  • One packet of splenda has 3.3 calories, making it a "calorie free" food.
  • Splenda is intensly sweet, in fact it is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. It has been referred to as a high intensity sweetener, although some researchers believe it should be referred to as "potent" rather than "intense"
  • It is used in many pre-sweetened beverages and foods.
  • It can be purchased as individual packets or larger bulk granuals.
  • It is often used in baking and is available in both white and brown sugar baking forms.
  • According to the compnay that makes Splenda, it is the only non-nutritive sweetener that is made and manufactured in the United States.

Which Foods Use Splenda?

Many "sugar-free" and "reduced-calorie" foods use artificial sweeteners to add a sweet flavor without adding extra carbohydrates or grams of sugar. These include diet beverages, sugar free gum and candies, and other sweets. Splenda, in the form of sucralose, is one of the artificial sweeteners that is used. If you're wondering if a product contains Splenda, read the ingredient list and look for the word "sucralose."

What Are the Health Effects of Artificial Sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners have been closely looked at for possible health concerns. And, there's conflicting evidence about whether they actually help or harm weight maintenance, especially when it comes to diet drinks. Research is increasingly showing that drinking diet sodas is linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. There is also conflicting research as to whether or not artificial sweeteners negative affect the gut microbiome. More research needs to do be done in these areas.

Reported Side Effects of People Using Splenda

As with most man-made food and beverage items, modertaion is key. Excessive consumption of Splenda may lead to gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas, bloating and headaches. But, these symptoms are self reported and vary from person-to-person.

Is Splenda a Good Option for People With Diabetes?

In the American Diabetes Association 2018 Standards of Care, the ADA takes a stand on nonnutrtitive sweeteners. They say: “For some people with diabetes who are accustomed to sugar-sweetened products, nonnutritive sweeteners (containing few or no calories) may be an acceptable substitute for nutritive sweeteners (those containing calories such as sugar, honey, agave syrup) when consumed in moderation. While use of nonnutritive sweeteners does not appear to have a significant effect on glycemic control, they can reduce overall calorie and carbohydrate intake. Most systematic reviews and meta-analyses show benefits for nonnutritive sweetener use in weight loss; however, some research suggests an association with weight gain. Regulatory agencies set acceptable daily intake levels for each nonnutritive sweetener, defined as the amount that can be safely consumed over a person’s lifetime.”

A Word From VeryWell

If you are someone with diabetes who would benefit from losing weight or getting better control of your blood sugar, then using nonnutritive sweeteners, such as Splenda, may have the potential to reduce overall calorie and carbohydrate intake if substituted for caloric (sugar) sweeteners. and without compensation by intake of additional calories from other food sources. The key is to limit your consumption and do not consume Splenda is excess amounts. Additionally, there is no need to replace regular food with sugar free foods.

It's also important to note that when it comes to diabetes, all carbohydrates count. The main thing you need to factor in is the total number of carbohydrates you're consuming in any given meal, snack, or drink. Just because something is labeled sugar-free or has Splenda in it, doesn't mean it's carbohydrate free. Make sure you read labels and factor the total number of carbohydrates into your meal.

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