Health oriented people use sucralose instead of sugar as a sweetening agent and vouch that it tastes exactly like sugar and does not contain calories. Let's discuss what is sucralose, along with its uses and potential side effects, in case of excess consumption...
Sucralose is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener used as a substitute for sugar. It is said that sucralose is twice as sweet as saccharin (artificial sweetener), 600 times as sweet as sucrose (table sugar) and three times as sweet as aspartame (artificial non-saccharide sweetener).
Since it is stable over a wide range of pH conditions and is stable under heat, unlike aspartame, it can be used in products that need a longer shelf life or in baking. However, you should also be aware of the side effects and warnings of the same, so that unwanted effects can be prevented.
What is Sucralose Made From?
Sucralose is actually made from sugar through a five-step chemical procedure. During the process of making this sweetener, three chlorine atoms in sugar molecules are substituted with three atoms of the hydrogen-oxygen group. The molecular structure of the chlorine atoms are tightly bound and so this sweetener is highly stable.
It was in 1976, that sucralose was first found out by some researchers who were working on producing an insecticide for a large sugar refinery Tate & Lyle Ltd. In 1980, Tate & Lyle Ltd., signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson for the commercial production of sucralose.
Even though commercial production started that year, it was only in 1998, that the FDA approved the use of this artificial sweetener for daily use.
Many people fear that consumption of this sweetener is potentially harmful due to the presence of chlorine. However, it has not been proved that the presence of chlorine has any adverse effects on the body. As a matter of fact, some amount of chlorine is found in our everyday diet.
Moreover, it is found naturally in table salt, peanut butter, melons, mushrooms, tomatoes and lettuce. On the contrary, it is due to the addition of chlorine molecules that the amount of calories in sucralose is less compared to sugar.
Uses of Sucralose
Sucralose can be used for making a wide variety of calorie-free products. Some of the products which include this sweetener are baked products, dairy products, ice creams, soft drinks, etc.
One of the best features is that it can be used in any product as an alternative to sugar without losing its sweetness. Moreover, even if products mixed with this additive are kept for a very long time or subject to heat, they don't lose their sweetness.
In the US, sucralose is used as a sweetener for most beverages, food products and dietary supplements. Another advantage is that it can be used as sweeteners for diabetics.
Some of the products include:
Baking mixes and baked goods
Dairy supplements and nutritional products
Flavorings, extracts, blends, seasonings, spices, seeds and herbs
Jellies and jams
Sauces and gravies
Soup mixes and soups
Tea and coffee
Side Effects of Sucralose
Though popular as a sweetening agent in a number of food products, prolonged use can have some harmful effects on the overall health of an individual. Use of sucralose has been approved by the FDA and it is observed that it can be safely consumed by humans.
Research studies have shown that it does not pose any neurological, reproductive or carcinogenic hazards. As sucrose is low in sugar, it can be safely consumed by diabetics. Over the last few years, the number of people using sucralose has been on the rise. It has been reported that some individuals are allergic to sucralose.
Allergy may be caused due to the chemicals used during the production of sucralose. In spite of being approved by the FDA, there may be some side effects which can affect the general health of an individual. Here are some of the negative effects, which are exhibited by the body, in case of overconsumption.
Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, nausea and bloating
Itching, swelling and skin irritation
Cough and running nose
Mood swing and sudden anger
Enlarged liver and kidneys
Increased cecal weight
Over the years, there have been several researches on sucralose stating that it can be consumed safely by humans. However, due to the presence of chemicals, it may be harmful to some people. To be on the safer side and avoid the potential dangers, it is better to limit its consumption and consult your doctor if you tend to suddenly develop allergies.