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Sucralose (Splenda) Can Make You Obese

March 29, 2018 / Posted by Dr. Virender Sodhi, MD (Ayurveda), ND, Richa Kumar Sood, BS Public Health

Artificial sweeteners are awfully popular! They taste sweet and have few or no calories whatsoever! You have a 12-ounce can of sugar-rich soda with 150 calories or a zero-calorie diet soda in front of you. What are you going to have? Of course, no soda is healthy on your daily dietary plan, but if you are a diet soda lover and are attracted to the zero-calorie label, be sure to read on!

Most diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners such as sucralose sold under the brand name of Splenda. Sucralose is found in more than 4000 commonly consumed food products. Researchers looked at the effects of sucralose on human fat-derived stem cells. Fat samples from individuals who took sucralose for one to two years were analyzed. Systematic fat biopsies were performed at one-year, two-year, and three-year intervals. With a graded addition of sucralose, there was an upregulation of inflammation producing genes, which regulate fat formation in stem cells.

The scientists discovered that sucralose promoted the path towards fat formation in an undecided stem cell. This was clearly statistically significant in the obese population but not in normal weight population. Artificial sweeteners are promoted for use in pre-diabetics or patients who are obese or those who are working on weight-loss. It seems that the harmful effect is greater in the obese and pre-diabetic folks.

Analysis of fat samples from obese individuals demonstrated significant upregulation of glucose transporters, taste receptors, and adipogenic genes. Clinically, higher triglyceride levels were noted in sucralose consumers compared to non-consumers. Surprisingly, acute insulin response value increased in obese sucralose consumers. Sucralose promotes metabolic dysregulation by altering glucose, insulin, and fat metabolism. As mentioned earlier, this phenomenon is far more evident in obese rather than non-obese individuals. (Kundu et al., 2018)

We know that diet soda consumption is two or three times more than the regular soda beverages in our society. Often people think that diet soda is guiltless, and they can indulge freely! This is untrue! Sugar is not good for us, but I would rather have little real sugar than artificial sweetener like Splenda. I allow 2 teaspoons per day of real sugar or honey even to my diabetic patients. I have not noticed any ill effects over 38 years of clinical practice with this small amount of sugar.

Beverages sweetened with artificial sweeteners increase insulin resistance and promote diabetes. They are pro-inflammatory and encourage fat formation. You must stay away from artificially-sweetened beverages, as these sweeteners do not have genetic recognition in our bodies. They build an immune response by creating inflammation, because the body identifies artificial sugars as foreign substances.

References

  • Kundu, N, et al. “Sucralose promotes metabolic dysregulation and intracellular ROS accumulation” ENDO 2018; Abstract SUN-07

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