Yet Another Reason to Skip Splenda

STORY BY Jessica Elizabeth Pawlarczyk

Published: June 15, 2013

As if sucralose artificial sweeteners didn’t already have a bad enough rap, a new study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine has found that Splenda has effects on the body's responses to sugar… Which could ultimately affect an individual’s diabetes risk.

Such news really makes you wonder what other zero calorie foods out there are posing health risks as well. (At least I’m left wondering about this idea.)

The study participants consisted of 17 severely obese persons who didn’t regularly consume artificially sweetened products. The 17 people were divided into two groups: One that drank water and then a sucralose drink before undergoing a glucose test, and one that first drank sucralose and then water before getting a glucose test.

Researchers reported that consuming sucralose like that found in Splenda is associated with higher blood sugar peaks and 20 percent higher insulin levels (compared to just consuming water.) The actual health effects of such a high increase in insulin was not determined by the study, but obviously one can predict that insulin increase can’t have too many positive effects on the human body. After all, past research conducted by the American Diabetes Association showed that aspartame (another type of artificial sweetener) is linked to higher fasting glucose levels in mice.

According to a Huffington Post article published earlier this week, “the amount of insulin secreted into the bloodstream is related to the amount of sugar circulating.” Specifically, when there is less sugar, there is less insulin being secreted. With Type 2 diabetes, cells become insulin-resistant, which results in sugar accumulation in the blood.

Additionally, the article interviewed National Institutes of Health’s endocrinologist Rebecca Brown, who brought up an interesting point: “"People who are at risk for diabetes or obesity ... those may be the people who are more likely to choose artificial sweeteners because they may be more likely to be dieting."

So sadly, those who are prone to diabetes or obesity are actually hurting themselves by trying to take action and consume lower calorie sweeteners.

If you know someone who is at risk for either of these two conditions, please spread the word and share this article with them; the more informed we are as food consumers, the more we can alter our diets (and lifestyle!) in ways that actually decrease our risks of deadly conditions like obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Want to learn what the other said of the issue has to say about the link between diabetes and artificial sweeteners? Check out this study by Harvard University researchers that claims that diet soda and other drinks with artificial sweeteners are not to blame for an increased diabetes risk. 

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