Have you ever found yourself staring at that sucralose (often known by its brand name: Splenda) packet, wondering if it's your ticket to staying true to your keto journey? If you’re on a keto diet, you’ll know all too well how much of a struggle it can be when you’re craving a sweet treat but have to say no to sugar.
Many people turn to sucralose and other sweeteners for a keto friendly, sugar-free treat, but is sucralose on keto diets really ok? In this article, we’ll take a look at sucralose for keto enthusiasts, and explain why this sweetener might not be as keto friendly as originally thought.
Plus, we’ll show you some keto friendly alternatives to sucralose that bring other health benefits and taste much, much better than artificial sweeteners!
A Brief Introduction to Sucralose and Keto
Before we dive into the details of sucralose for keto diets, let's take a step back and look at sucralose and keto diets individually.
What is Sucralose?
Sucralose is a calorie-free, high-intensity sugar substitute that's roughly 600 times sweeter than our classic table sugar. Sucralose has snuck its way into various foods and beverages, adding a potent sweetness without the carbs.
Sucralose is usually marketed as Splenda, a popular artificial sweetener used in coffee, tea, baking, and so much more. In Europe, sucralose is also known under the E number E955.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating plan that’s not what you think of when you picture going on a traditional diet. Basically, you're swapping out carb-heavy staples like bread and pasta for a plate piled high with avocados, bacon, and butter.
The aim of the keto game is to get your body into a state of ketosis, where it ditches its carb cravings and starts burning fat for fuel. By slashing those carb intake numbers, your body taps into its fat stores and you burn fat for energy much faster than normal.
Although it’s come under scrutiny and not everyone is a believer, many people see great results from the keto diet and it’s become a popular way of life, with more and more “keto friendly” products hitting the shelves.
So, Is Sucralose Keto Friendly - Or is Sucralose Bad for Keto?
So, is sucralose keto friendly, or is sucralose bad for keto? Some say yes, while others (and some newer, compelling research) tend to disagree. Let’s take a look at the arguments surrounding sucralose and keto diets.
Why Some Believe Sucralose Fits the Keto Diet
The main point of the keto diet is to avoid sugars and really all carbohydrates. Because it’s basically calorie-free and doesn’t contain any sugars or carbs, it was traditionally believed that sucralose on keto diets was perfectly fine. However, when we take a deeper look, is sucralose keto friendly, really?
Conflicting Views and Emerging Research
While sucralose has next-to-no calories, sugars, or carb content, that isn’t the only thing that matters on the keto diet. The whole point of lowering your sugar intake is so that you don’t spike your insulin levels, which normally happens after you eat carbs.
On the keto diet, the goal is to minimize carbohydrate intake to such an extent that the body enters a state of ketosis. In ketosis, the body relies on fats as its primary source of energy instead of glucose.
When insulin levels are low, the body is more likely to release stored fats to be used for energy. High insulin levels, on the other hand, can hinder fat breakdown and promote fat storage. So, you can’t stay in ketosis when your insulin levels increase.
Previously, it was thought that sugar-free sweeteners like sucralose didn’t affect your insulin levels, because they didn’t contain sugar. However, new research seems to indicate that this isn’t the whole story.
In one recent study, a group of people were either given sucralose or water, and then underwent a glucose tolerance test. The group that was given sucralose had 20% higher insulin levels, which suggests that sucralose isn’t as keto friendly as we once thought.
Why is Sucralose Bad for Keto Even Though It’s Technically Approved?
So, is sucralose keto friendly? Based on newer research, it certainly seems that sucralose and keto diets aren’t as compatible as we once thought. But why is sucralose bad for keto, exactly? And why do so many people on keto diets still eat foods with sucralose? Let’s take a closer look.
Potential Impact on Blood Sugar and Insulin Response
We’ve already explained that sucralose can raise your insulin levels, but how does this happen, given that it doesn’t contain any sugar? Some studies suggest that the mere perception of sweetness, even without the actual sugar, can trigger an insulin response in your body.
This insulin response, while not as potent as when sugar is consumed, can still be a roadblock on your keto journey. After all, the goal of keto is to keep insulin levels low and steady to promote fat-burning and weight loss.
Effects on Gut Health and Microbiome
Emerging research also hints that sucralose can alter your gut bacteria, which play a critical role in digestive health. Some studies suggest that sucralose can disrupt the delicate balance of your gut microbiome, potentially leading to issues with digestion and immune function.
Research has shown that your gut microbiome changes when you’re on a keto diet, so disrupting the delicate balance of gut bacteria by ingesting sucralose may be undoing all of your hard keto work, and might be making your diet less effective.
Long-term Health Concerns and Side Effects
Some studies suggest that sucralose could have adverse effects on your metabolism and hormonal balance, and even contribute to weight gain, which is the exact opposite of what most keto believers are aiming for.
And let's not forget the possible side effects that many people report from sucralose, like headaches, digestive discomfort, and even a craving for more sweet treats. Plus, given that sucralose can likely increase your insulin levels, it’s not a safe option for those with diabetes.
Tips for Keeping Blood Sugar in Check When Consuming Sucralose on Keto Diet
If you are going to try to make sucralose and keto work for you, or if you’re in a position where you can’t avoid eating some sucralose on keto, here are some tips for keeping your blood sugar in check and doing your best to stay in ketosis after consuming sucralose.
Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels
If you decide to bring sucralose on board, monitor how your body responds. Keep track of your blood sugar levels before and after consuming sucralose-containing foods or beverages. This will help you understand how your body reacts and whether you experience an insulin response to sucralose.
Recognizing Individual Responses to Sucralose
Remember, we're all unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Some people may find that sucralose doesn't budge their insulin or blood sugar levels, while others might notice a disruption.
Listen to your body - if you notice changes in energy levels, cravings, or any other signals, it might be time to rethink your sucralose strategy. Being in tune with your body's reactions is key to making informed choices when it comes to sucralose and keto diets.
Consideration of Whole Foods and Unprocessed Options
While sucralose might be tempting, don't forget the beauty of whole, unprocessed foods that the keto diet celebrates. Instead of leaning solely on artificial sweeteners, consider satisfying your sweet tooth with natural options like a small piece of dark chocolate and berries or almond butter.
These choices often come with fewer question marks when it comes to their impact on your blood sugar and overall health. Plus, they're packed with nutrients that your body will thank you for!
Is There a Better Natural Sweetener That Doesn’t Raise Concerns?
Is sucralose keto friendly? Unfortunately, not really. Does it matter? Fortunately, not really! When it comes to sucralose for keto, there are alternatives that won’t take you out of ketosis. Let’s look at some of the options and discuss their pros and cons.
Problems with Other Artificial Sweeteners
Now that we know sucralose on keto diets isn’t really an option, you may be tempted to try other artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately, a lot of them bring the same issues, as well as unwanted side effects and potential long-term health risks.
In terms of sucralose vs aspartame, aspartame should be used with caution. Some studies have suggested a possible link between aspartame and headaches or migraines, and there have been ongoing debates about its safety regarding neurological health. It may even cause certain types of cancer (lymphoma, leukemia, and more).
Stevia is another option, but many people find the stevia taste far too bitter and overpowering. There are also health concerns with stevia, and it was actually banned by the FDA for several years. Why was stevia banned? There were big concerns about its safety for reproductive health and blood pressure.
Another issue with stevia, especially if you’re on a keto diet to lose weight, is its effect on your waistline. Does stevia cause weight gain? Although it may be strange to think of an artificial sweetener as causing you to gain weight, that seems to be the case with stevia.
Recently, Canadian scientists evaluated the results of almost 40 different studies of various sweeteners and found that the consumption of these compounds actually led to an increase in BMI, weight, waist circumference, and a higher incidence of obesity. Yikes!
As you can see, artificial sweeteners aren’t perfect. There’s also another problem with artificial sweeteners: they aren’t natural. Your body isn’t used to digesting these compounds, and it can lead to intolerance to artificial sweeteners symptoms, like bloating, stomach cramps, and gas.
Introducing Sweet Proteins: A Natural Alternative
Although sucralose and keto don’t gel together, there’s a natural alternative that’s far superior: Sweet proteins! Sweet proteins are derived from tropical fruits and mimic the taste of sweetness without causing the same blood sugar spikes as traditional sugar and sweeteners.
In some cases, sweet proteins are 5,000 times sweeter than regular table sugar, which means only a tiny amount is needed to sweeten your favorite foods and beverages. When it comes to sweet proteins as a sugar substitute, the calories are negligible, and they’re keto-friendly.
Plus, there are even more benefits of sweet proteins than you see at first sight. Sweet proteins contain antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory - what’s not to love?!
How are sweet proteins made, you ask? Sweet proteins are made via fermentation, similar to how beer or cheese is made. Compared to sugar farming, this is a much more environmentally-friendly process.
How to Incorporate These Into Your Diet With Oobli
At Oobli, sweet proteins are our passion. We’ve harnessed the power of these incredible feats of nature to bring you the best low-sugar drinks - keto friendly of course! Our low sugar tea is sweetened naturally with sweet proteins, available in several thirst-quenching flavors, and contains just a handful of natural ingredients.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, our keto friendly chocolate bars are low in sugar, high in fiber, and vegan. The decadent dark chocolate melts in your mouth with every bite, and it tastes even better when you remember that it’s 100% guilt free!
So, if you’re looking for low-calorie drinks without aspartame or other sweeteners, or chocolate that won’t bring you out of ketosis, you’re in the right place!
Final Thoughts on Sucralose and Keto
Is sucralose keto friendly? Despite what most people initially thought, consuming sucralose on keto diets actually isn’t ideal. Research shows that sucralose does actually cause an insulin response, which means that sucralose on keto diets could bring you out of ketosis.
Besides this, sucralose and other artificial sweeteners bring some health concerns, including links with migraines, anxiety, and even certain types of cancer. Luckily, there’s a sweeter option that’s natural, safe, and suitable for keto diets: Sweet proteins!
At Oobli, we’re obsessed with sweet proteins and the incredible power they have. Packed with sweetness and nutritional value, these tasty morsels are the perfect, guilt-free way to sweeten your favorite foods and drinks. If you don’t believe us, try them for yourself.
Embrace the future of sweetness and stick to your keto diet without sacrificing flavor. Try our sweet iced tea and decadent dark chocolate bars today!