June 14, 2013

The Splenda Effect

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splendaA study published in Diabetes Care found that the artificial sweetener sucralose (Splenda®) is capable of changing the body’s insulin response.

Artificial sweeteners have been used for years as a GRAS food. The FDA stamp of approval for a “generally recognized as safe” product means that it is safe for human consumption without adverse side effects.

This study investigates the safety of a wildly popular artificial sweetener, sucralose aka Splenda, on the glucymeic and insulin response in people that normally do not consume it.

A 5 hour glucose test was given to 17 obese individuals who did not have insulin resistance and did not have a history of using sucralose (Splenda). The oral glucose test was given to every person twice. They either received sucralose (Splenda) 10 minutes before the test or the control, which was water.

In all participants, beta cell function, insulin sensitivity, and insulin clearance rates were measured.  Compared with the water consumption, sucralose (Splenda) caused an increase in glucose concentrations and a greater peak insulin secretion.

There was no significant difference in the sensitivity of the beta cell response to glucose. However, the release of glucose into the blood seemed to be a response of the perceived sweetness in the brain. The liver released glucagon into the blood, raising glucose concentration. The circulating insulin captured the lived-induced glucose release.

For people who aren’t acclimated to the use of nonnutritive sweeteners , the cold turkey approach is a bit of a shock to the system. The brain is a smart organ. If fact, it’s smart enough to adapt to a world in which nonnutritive sweeteners exist.

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