In February, new research generated widespread concern over the zero-sugar sweetener erythritol. This week, the equally popular sweetener sucralose is in the hot seat.
(Note: you won't find either sweetener on any of our labels).
Sucralose is everywhere. Name a major zero-sugar product - Quest bars, Monster energy drinks, Trident gum, etc. - and it's likely an ingredient. So what actually is sucralose?
It's an artificial (not found in nature) sweetener that's roughly 500X sweeter than sugar. It adds a remarkably sugar-like taste to any food/beverage product without adding calories, causing cavities, or spiking blood sugar when consumed - hence why it's popular!
So what's the problem? Well, just this week new research dropped that found a chemical formed when we digest sucralose (sucralose-6-acetate), is "genotoxic," meaning it breaks up DNA. That chemical is also found in trace amounts in the sweetener itself.
"We found that gut cells exposed to sucralose-6-acetate had increased activity in genes related to oxidative stress, inflammation, and carcinogenicity," the author said. The study also references prior research that found sucralose may contribute to a "leaky gut" (holes in the gut wall).
"This work raises a host of concerns about the potential health effects associated with sucralose and its metabolites. It’s time to revisit the safety and regulatory status of sucralose, because the evidence is mounting that it carries significant risks."
Candidly, I do consume a few products with sucralose (to avoid sugar-laden options). That said, I'll likely now be cutting those out of my diet. All-natural sweeteners like stevia plant extract and monk fruit are always the best move (why IQBAR is all in on all-natural!).