What is Sucralose (artificial sugar) and is it worse than sugar itself?
These days artificial sweeteners are all the craze and the new fad to try to beat weight gain. However, how does artificial sugar taste just as good; but does not have any of the side effects that cause weight gain that is associated with regular sugar?
Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and Sucralose are not as great as people think.
As stated in an article by Quing Yang, people who are trying to lose weight tend to seek out foods with artificial sweeteners. But this may have a reverse effect and actually cause weight gain. When comparing adults matched in BMI, gender, ethnicity, and diet subjects who consistently ingested artificial rather than natural sugar, gained more weight over a 7 year period (1). This has been observed in children as well.
So why are people more likely to gain weight by eating artificial sweeteners?
Well, the answer lies in the difference between sugar and artificial sugar. Aspartame (a common artificial sweetener) is much sweeter than natural sucrose. When consumed this increases a person’s appetite by making their cravings higher, and their sweet tooth stronger. This all causes people to eat more, crave more sugar (artificial or natural), and ultimately put on more weight. This cycle repeats until the person gives up eating sugar completely.
In short, artificial sweeteners (which remember are a lot sweeter than natural sweeteners) increase sugar cravings and sugar dependence more than natural sugar.
So now that we tackled the myth on artificial sweeteners being a weight loss “tool” we can move onto a bigger question:
How much added sugar can we actually have until those cravings start to settle in?
The American Health Association recommends 24g for women and 36g for men per day (2). This is considerably less than the average person consumes in a day. For example, the average 330ml can of pop contains 36g.
So for a recap, we should be limiting our sugar intake to 24-36g per day and this should be from natural sweeteners instead of artificial sweeteners to aid in our fight with the sugar-sweet tooth.
1. Yang, Quing (2010). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892765/
2. Harvard T.H. Chan (n.d.). https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/added-sugar-in-the-diet/