Have you turned to Splenda to replace that sweet kick sugar provides? You probably know that eating sugar can make you feel good, as it triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, as noted by NPR. Of course, that makes it all the more difficult to cut it out of your diet — even when you use a sugar substitute.
While that initial sugar rush may have you flying high, it doesn’t take long before you’re in an energy-sucking slump, according to Runner’s World. Plus, eating too much sugar can lead to a host of adverse health impacts, such as inflammation, tooth decay, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease, per the Mayo Clinic. Perhaps it’s those health concerns that have you opting for sucralose to satiate your sweet tooth. After all, according to Splenda’s website, the sweetener “tastes like sugar (but it’s not sugar) — and it doesn’t break down in your body to provide carbohydrate or calories.”
That sounds wonderful, of course, but there are some things you should know about the habitual use of this popular calorie-free sugar substitute. This is what happens to you body when you eat Splenda every day.
Some foods may taste less sweet if you eat Splenda every day
Few things are more satisfying and refreshing than digging into fresh fruit like a watermelon or a peach on a hot summer day. However, if you’re a daily consumer of Splenda, there’s a chance your palate has changed quite a bit, as noted by registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller. “Other foods sweetened with regular sugar (sucrose) may not taste as sweet,” she told The List. “Splenda is about 600 times sweeter than sugar, so when something is not sweetened with Splenda, you may notice.” That’s a pretty significant difference in flavor, for sure.
Fortunately, not everyone finds that their tastebuds have changed. This is especially true if you’re consuming Splenda in moderation daily, according to registered dietitian Elle Merrill. “If you find that Splenda is helpful in providing a sweet flavor to favorite food and drinks and does not ultimately impact choices later in the day, it can certainly be incorporated into a balanced diet,” she revealed to The List.
Will you lose weight if you eat Splenda every day?
One of the main reasons people reach for artificial sweeteners as opposed to good old sugar is because sugar can cause gain weight, as noted by Medical News Today. But is Splenda really a good option if you’re trying to shed unwanted pounds? “Eating Splenda daily may be helpful for those with a goal of weight loss as it is a no-calorie sugar substitute,” registered dietitian Elle Merrill explained to The List. “Sweet tea or coffee can be enjoyed without the additional of unnecessary calories from real sugar.” The same goes for your morning oatmeal or smoothie as well.
But that doesn’t mean that Splenda is a magic bullet, as it may impact future food choices, according to registered dietitian Joelle Malinowski. “In many circumstances, someone will choose that diet soda to decrease calories, but then replace those calories with a dessert after dinner,” she shared with The List. And that swap would negate any benefit that you’d get from eating Splenda in the first place. So, like with any food, your mileage may vary.
Eating Splenda every day might increase your appetite
You might be tempted to think that eating Splenda every day will have no impact on your appetite. If there are no calories in it, why would it, right? Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that, according to registered dietitian Kelsey Lorencz. “You’re eating a certain volume of food without the calories and nutrients that should be coming with it,” she told The List. And that can make you super hungry later in the day, which can in turn render you susceptible to overeating.
To that end, you’ll want to pay attention to the way you feel throughout the day when you eat Splenda and make any necessary changes, advised Lorencz. “If you find that you’re extra hungry at night or can’t stay out of the snack pantry once you get home, look at switching some artificially sweetened drinks and foods for an option that includes a balanced combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat,” she continued. As always, it comes down to listening to your body and making healthy choices.
You may consume more beverages if you eat Splenda every day
In addition to potentially increasing your appetite, if you eat Splenda every day it might increase the amount of beverages that you drink. But it’s not because it dehydrates you, as noted by registered dietitian Trista Best. “You may drink more coffee, tea, and other sweetened beverages because you find them more enjoyable due to taste,” she revealed to The List. “Many non-coffee drinkers will begin their coffee habit by finding an artificial sweetener that curbs the bitter taste they have avoided.”
If you find that this is the case for you, you may want to start tracking your daily caloric intake, according to Best. “This increase in coffee or tea may also lead to consuming more calories from creamers and other additives,” she continued. You also might find yourself ingesting more caffeine as well, given that many coffees and teas are high in the stimulant. While that might not be a bad thing for everyone, folks with anxiety or other caffeine sensitivities should be careful, according to Everyday Health.
What happens to your blood sugar when you eat Splenda every day?
One of the negative health impacts that can be caused by eating sugar every day is an increase in your blood sugar levels, according to Harvard University. But if you eat Splenda every day, you may wonder if it will have the same effect. “Your blood sugar may rise,” registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller confirmed to The List. “One packet of sucralose has one gram of carbohydrate, and can affect blood sugars if eaten in excess.” Bear in mind, though, that you’d have to eat a lot Splenda every day, far exceeding the FDA recommendations. For example, a 132 pound person would have to consume 23 or more packets per day, noted Kostro Miller.
But if you’re not drinking Splenda-sweetened drinks all day, every day, you should be fine, according to registered dietitian Elle Merrill. “Enjoying a packet or two of Splenda daily can help curb a sweet tooth without sending blood sugar levels sky high, as well as saving on unnecessary calories,” she shared with The List. Surprise, surprise: Moderation is key.
Eating Splenda every day may impact your nutrient intake
One of the nice things about Splenda — if not the entire reason that it exists in the first place — is that it’s devoid of any calories. While that’s great if you’re trying to avoid sugar and still have some sweetness, you still need to be mindful about what you’re eating, according to registered dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller. “If you use Splenda as a low-calorie crutch, you may be missing out on nutritious foods,” she shared with The List. “If you’re always using Splenda in your drinks, you may be skimping on plain water intake and/or low-fat milk.” And those are both a healthy part of a balanced diet.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to making sure that you’re taking good care of your body, Kostro Miller divulged. “Just because Splenda has very little calories and currently has no major adverse side effects, it doesn’t mean it’s something you should be eating in unlimited amounts,” she continued. Hmm, we’re starting to sense a theme here.
If you eat Splenda every day, your gut flora may change
Perhaps one of the most common downsides of eating Splenda every day is the impact it can have on your digestive system, registered dietitian Megan Wong told The List. “Even though Splenda isn’t broken down in the digestive tract, it may still affect your gut,” she told The List. “In fact, a 2014 study on artificial sweeteners found that sweeteners such as Splenda can lead to an imbalanced gut flora, upsetting the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive system.” That does not sound very pleasant.
That’s not all, either, as Splenda just might be a little more malicious in your intestines, says Wong. “It’s possible that healthy gut bacteria are more likely to be destroyed, according to another animal study,” she continued. And that imbalance can have an impact on many areas of your health — from sleep and immune function to weight and mood. So if you notice anything seems off about your body, it could be caused by eating too much Splenda. Who knew?
Your body may adjust to Splenda if you eat it every day
One of the really quirky things about Splenda is that if you eat it every day, your body may eventually adjust to it. For example, consider your blood sugar levels: One small study of folks with severe obesity found that consuming Splenda elevated both their blood sugar and insulin levels. However, these individuals didn’t already have a daily Splenda habit, which is key.
Evidence points to the body adjusting to regular Splenda consumption, according to nutrition writer Hrefna Palsdottir. “Several other studies in people with average weight who didn’t have any significant medical conditions have found no effects on blood sugar and insulin levels,” she penned in an article in Healthline. And these people were definitely regular consumers of Splenda.
If you already eat Splenda every day in small amounts, you probably don’t need to worry about that potentially negative health impact. As Healthine explained, “If you like the taste of sucralose and your body handles it well, it’s probably fine to use in moderation.”
Trying to kick your sugar habit? You may want to consider eating Splenda temporarily
Are you someone who has a hard time saying no to sugar, in the form of cookies, candy, or sodas? Are you desperate to kick your addiction to sugar once and for all? Try eating Splenda every day instead, suggests registered dietitian Lindsey Pfau. At least for a little while, that is. “As a dietitian, I might recommend or encourage people to use sucralose as a stepping stone or temporary solution to wean themselves off sugar if they’re consuming too much,” she revealed in an interview with Runner’s World. That can at least get you started.
However, Splenda may not be the absolute best option, according to Lisa Lefferts, a senior scientist for Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “CSPI rates both erythritol [a low-calorie sugar alcohol] and stevia leaf extract as safe,” she says. “Erythritol would be my first choice in terms of safety, although if you consume huge amounts, it could cause nausea.”
How does eating Splenda every day impact your diabetes risk?
Unfortunately for Splenda fans, eating the no-calorie sweetener on a daily basis may just increase the likelihood that you’ll develop type II diabetes.”Your blood glucose/risk of diabetes will increase because Splenda and other alternative sweeteners change the composition of the gut flora,” registered dietitian Trista Best told The List. “This has many health implications, but one interesting effect is its impact on blood glucose regulation.” That was also the conclusion of a study published by the American Diabetes Association. We’re sorry, #TeamSplenda.
However, it’s important to note that the science isn’t entirely clear here, according to Holly Strawbridge, the former editor of Harvard Health. “The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have given a cautious nod to the use of artificial sweeteners in place of sugar to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes,” she wrote in an article for Harvard University. That’s because eating sugar is a surefire way to raise your diabetes risk.
It’s complicated and more research is needed to determine just how eating Splenda is connected to diabetes. As always, talk to your doctor or dietitian to find out what’s best for you personally.
If you already have diabetes, eating Splenda daily can help you manage the condition
If you already have diabetes and are wondering what will happen to your body if you eat Splenda every day, we’ve got you covered. According to the American Heart Association, you’re in luck, as it recommends swapping out regular sugar in favor of what’s called non-nutritive sweeteners, which includes Splenda.
That’s not a blanket endorsement in every single situation, however, as how sweeteners like Splenda affect our appetite is still not fully understood. But if relying on sweeteners like Splenda helps to decrease your sugar consumption, that’s surely a good thing, as long as you’re not hitting the doughnut shop later on in the day due to serious sugar cravings.
You’ll especially reap the benefits of eating Splenda every day if doing so helps you to lose weight and better manage your blood sugar levels, which can seriously help you in your fight against diabetes. All in all, not bad!
Is it safe to eat Splenda every day if you're pregnant?
Few things may make you more conscious about what you put into your body than pregnancy. The prospect of bringing an entirely new life into the world is a huge responsibility, and that makes many folks especially concerned about they should and shouldn’t do for the health of their babies and themselves. What foods and drinks are safe? What’s unsafe? There really are a ton of questions. And what about when it comes to Splenda?
“Although more research is required to fully determine the effects of in utero exposure to sugar substitutes, the available data do not suggest adverse effects in pregnancy,” a study published in the journal Canadian Family Physician revealed. “However, it is recommended that sugar substitutes be consumed in moderate amounts, adhering to the acceptable daily intake standards set by regulatory agencies.” Once again, the key to staying healthy is not to overdo it on the Splenda every day.
This is why you should avoid eating baked goods with Splenda every day
If you check out the website for Splenda, there are a host of recipes available for your perusal, including plenty for baked goods. Plus, many of them are touted as “diabetes-friendly” and “heart healthy.” However, according to nutrition writer Hrefna Palsdottir, baking with Splenda might not be the best idea. “It seems that at high temperatures, Splenda starts to break down and interact with other ingredients,” she wrote in an article in Healthline.
This change from heat can spell trouble. In fact, it’s possible that Splenda that is heated above 350 degrees Fahrenheit may increase your chance of developing certain diseases. “One study found that heating sucralose with glycerol, a compound found in fat molecules, produced harmful substances called chloropropanols,” she continued. “These substances may raise cancer risk.” Yikes!
More research is definitely needed to bolster this claim, but in the meantime, you may be better off baking with other sweeteners, according to Palsdottir. Or you can opt to abstain from them altogether.
If you're super active, don't eat Splenda every day
In a nutshell, Splenda can be a pretty great option for folks who want to eat less sugar, but still crave sweet-tasting foods. So if you add a few packets of it to your morning coffee or tea, you’ll, in all likelihood, have no trouble with it whatsoever.
But if you’re super athletic and otherwise healthy, you really shouldn’t bother with Splenda. That’s because you need more energy than the average person, who probably isn’t out there training for a marathon. So, according to registered dietitian Lindsey Pfau, you’re better off enjoying the real thing — especially on days when you’ll be working out extra hard. “We know our bodies need calories,” she explained in an interview with Runner’s World. “So we should put good calories in the body.” Of course, the key is as you probably guessed: enjoying it in moderation. And that’s true whether you’re an athlete or not.
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