Splenda, the popular artificial sweetener may not be as waist-friendly as its zero-calories imply. New research has found that sucralose, the ingredient in Splenda, has shown an ability to increase the risk of diabetes and spike blood sugar levels.
The research conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and published in the recent issue of the journal Diabetes Care looked at the glucose levels of subjects who consumed sucralose or plain water. The subjects who drank the sucralose had higher blood sugar peaks, and insulin levels that measured 20 percent higher than when just drinking plain water.
"Our results indicate that this artificial sweetener is not inert—it does have an effect," study researcher M. Yanina Pepino, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine at the university, said in a statement. "And we need to do more studies to determine whether this observation means long-term use could be harmful."
What the research could indicate is that insulin production can happen to accommodate the glucose that comes from the sucralose ingestion. "We found that sucralose affects the glucose and insulin response to glucose ingestion, we don't know the mechanism responsible," Pepino said in the statement. "We have shown that sucralose is having an effect. In obese people without diabetes, we have shown sucralose is more than just something sweet that you put into your mouth with no other consequences."
Diet sodas and soft drinks that use artificial sweeteners have been suspected as contributing to weight gain, despite their lack of calories. One theory is the sweet taste triggers an insulin release, causing a craving for sweets that an individual may justify consuming because of cutting calories from the diet soft drink.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger