Keto is a means of jumpstarting your health in terms of weight loss and gaining significant health benefits. But following a keto diet may require you to cut down on certain foods.
Besides, just like everything else, when you’re starting a new thing, such as a ketogenic diet, you may have certain doubts. One doubt that you may have regarding keto is whether you can have sugar or its alternatives like artificial sweeteners on your diet.
The reason why you may be questioning this is the fact that keto diets require you to significantly lower your carbohydrates intake (from sugar and other food items). Unfortunately, your doubt is valid because sugar is a no-go on ketogenic diets.
The reason behind this is that sugar is basically a form of soluble carbohydrates -thus consuming sugar will greatly increase your daily carb intake which goes against the basic principle of reducing carbs on a keto diet.
However, this certainly does not mean you will have to cut down on your sweet cravings entirely. There are certain alternatives to sugar like sucralose which is basically a no-calorie sweetener -thus allowing you to satisfy your sweet cravings.
So, what is sucralose? Is Sucralose keto? Continue reading to find out more about this and whether or not you can add sucralose to your meals.
What is Sucralose?
Sucralose is a synthetic no calorie sweetener (artificial). It is an alternative to sugar that can be used to satisfy your sweet cravings without having to consume added sugars. It was first discovered in 1976 using a chemical procedure.
It is primarily used in beverages and food items. Sucralose usually comes in yellow packets (Splenda) so you may have seen it in your local cafes and restaurants.
Talking of artificial sweeteners, there are many sweeteners falling into this category. However, they differ in terms of their caloric composition. There are 2 types of artificial sweeteners:
- Low-calorie like aspartame
- Calorie-free sweeteners like Sucralose, Stevia sweeteners, and others.
Collectively, both of these low-calorie and calorie-free sweeteners are termed as sugar substitutes. They are also referred to as high-intensity and non-nutritive sweeteners.
Considering Sucralose, it may be artificial, but it is approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for general usages. Due to the FDA’s approval, it can be used as an ingredient in a wide variety of foods and beverages.
Sucralose, despite not being sugar, it is a whopping 600 times sweeter than sugar. To put this in numbers, a 50 mg serving of sucralose is equal to the sweetness of over 230 grams of sugar.
So, you do not need large amounts of sucralose in your foods. A small amount will be enough to make your foods sweet and match the sweetness that you can get from sugar.
Although it won’t be able to meet the texture and volume characteristics of sugar in baked and frozen foods, it is still extremely sweet -thus making it a good alternative to sugar.
How Is Sucralose Made?
This might come as a shock, but sucralose is actually made from real sugar unlike other artificial sweeteners. Ideally, the chemical composition of sugar is altered by chlorinating sucrose. In simpler terms, the chemical properties of sugar are altered by adding chlorine atoms to it.
As a result of the chlorination, the chemical structure is tweaked which produces sucralose therefore having zero calories and net carbs. The entire process is carried out in reputable chemical labs and production facilities, so you do not have to worry about anything.
On a side note, sucralose is usually the go-to when looking for sugar alternatives. This is because unlike other artificial sweeteners, it does not have a bitter aftertaste.
On the other hand, sucralose is also comparatively safe. It did not get its FDA approval easily and more than a hundred scientific studies were reviewed and analyzed before allowing sucralose to be used as a sugar alternative.
Is Sucralose Keto?
To answer this question, let’s look at how your body reacts to sucralose when ingested. When you consume sucralose in your foods, it is not broken by the digestive system. It goes undigested which makes sucralose a noncaloric food item.
Since sucralose is not digested by your body, it does not yield sugar like results such as insulin response. This makes sucralose keto friendly because you’re not getting any carbs from it. So, if you’re looking for a keto-friendly sugar alternative, you can have sucralose in small amounts.
In fact, sucralose is used in a variety of keto-friendly foods due to its no insulin response or zero-caloric values. However, that is not all. When consuming sucralose, there are certain factors that you need to consider.
For starters, when exploring sucralose, you may come across a controversy regarding the GI (glycemic index) of sucralose. Sucralose, on average has over 80 GI when it is in a powdered form. 80 GI of sucralose is considerably higher than regular sugar.
This makes dry powdered form of Sucralose bad for your health since it will lead to major spikes in your blood sugar levels. So, if you’re thinking of consuming powdered form of sucralose on your keto diet, you shouldn’t.
On the other hand, sucralose is also available in pure liquid form. Ideally, the liquid form of sucralose is much safer compared to powdered form of sucralose or even sugar. This is because the liquid form of sucralose has 0 glycemic index value.
Due to 0 glycemic index of liquid sucralose, it can safely be consumed since it will not affect your blood sugar levels in any way whatsoever. Moreover, since it is not digested by your body, you only get to enjoy the sweetness and most of the sucralose gets excreted in the feces and urine.
Keep in mind, this certainly does not mean that you can consume a large amount of sucralose without having to worry about any adverse effects.
As per the FDA’s standards a 132 lb. person could safely consume up to 23 packers of sucralose. In other words, 5 mg/kg of your body is considered safe.
Now, determining whether sucralose is good or bad for you depends on how much sucralose you consume per day. Although consuming sucralose won’t kick you out of ketosis, there are certain long-term reactions that may make consuming sucralose bad for you while in ketosis.
Long-term Health Reactions Of Frequent Sucralose Consumption:
Here are some health risks associated with frequent consumption of sucralose:
1. Sucralose Leads Towards Insulin Resistance and Diabetes:
Sucralose can cause insulin resistance, weight gain, and increased risk of diabetes when consumed with other carbohydrates based foods.
A general example of this can be diet sodas. Diet sodas although have no sugar and only has sucralose, but it still increases the chances of suffering from type-2 diabetes. Moreover, metabolic syndrome is also over 34% common in light cases of sucralose consumption.
2. Sucralose May Lead To Pregnancy Complications:
Unfortunately, when it comes to the safety of artificial sweeteners like sucralose in pregnancy, there is little to no data. So, ultimately, we cannot deduce that sucralose is safe for pregnant women and may lead towards complication during pregnancy.
3. Sucralose Is Not Good For Your Gut Health:
Unfortunately, if sucralose were to be consumed regularly and in large serving sizes, it will directly affect your gut health. According to a research study conducted by Abou-Donia, one packet of Sucralose (Splenda) will kill up to 50% of the healthy gut bacteria or intestinal flora.
To further add, frequent consumption of sucralose may also lead towards tissue inflammation in your gut, which can be quite painful.
So, to sum up, if you’re thinking of consuming sucralose as a sugar alternative on a keto diet, you can safely do so as long as it is not too frequent and never in large quantities.
Sucralose: Nutritional Profile
1 gram, 1 packet serving of Sucralose has the following nutritional values:
|Total fats||0 g|
|Dietary fibers||0 g|
|Net Carbs||0.9 g|
As you can see from the nutritional values above, sucralose does not offer any potential nutrients to your body. In fact, even the calories and carbs from sucralose go undigested by your body -thus not impacting your calorie or carb intake whatsoever.
On a side note, if you source the pure form, Sucralose has zero calories and zero carbs.
Keto and Sucralose
Keto and sucralose can go together pretty well considering the carb content. However, this certainly does not mean you can add sucralose as an ingredient to all types of foods.
Generally speaking, you can add sucralose to all of your foods except baked goods. The reason behind this is that sucralose can become chemically unstable when exposed to extreme temperatures.
Since sucralose is made after chemically altering actual sugar, any changes occurring to it during baking or other cases of exposure to extreme temperatures may make it harmful.
Ideally, when exposed to heat, sucralose releases chlorinated aromatic polycyclic hydrocarbons along with other harmful compounds such as chloropropanols. These compounds are associated with increasing the risk of cancer in your body.
So, if you’re intending to use sucralose in your food, make sure you do not cook or bake with sucralose as an ingredient. Apart from this, you also need to consider the fact that you cannot use sucralose too often as it has adverse long term effects.
As long as you’re not cooking, baking with sucralose, and not consuming it too frequently, there is nothing that can go wrong with adding sucralose as an ingredient to your foods.
Sucralose Alternatives For Keto:
Although sucralose is an excellent alternative to sugar for ketogenic diets, there are certain associated risks with sucralose. However, there are other alternatives to sucralose and sugar that you can safely incorporate into your keto diets.
These are not only safer compared to sucralose, but also healthier since they are naturally derived from plants compared to sucralose which is artificially created in labs.
Erythritol belongs to the sugar alcohols family. But compared to other sugar alcohols, it has rather small particles. Moreover, in contrast with other sugar alcohols and actual sugar, Erythritol has 0 glycemic index (GI).
In terms of glycemic index, sucralose and erythritol are entirely the same yet one is artificially sourced whereas the other (erythritol) is naturally extracted from plants. This makes it a healthy option on a ketogenic diet.
Moreover, no harmful side effects of consuming erythritol have been discovered so far. Looking at production of erythritol, it is made by an entirely natural fermentation process with corn.
So, if you’re looking for something safer that is also stable at high temperatures and does not possess any adverse side effects of long term consumption, you should opt for erythritol instead.
Allulose is another healthy alternative to sucralose and sugar specifically for keto diets. It is naturally existing and found in multiple natural foods including:
- Maple syrup
Similar to erythritol, it also has a zero glycemic index, which makes it absolutely safe for your consumption. However, what’s interesting about allulose is the fact that it is not a sugar substitute. Instead, it is a form of sugar. But interestingly your body does not process it like sugar.
So, even though it is technically a type of sugar, it still has zero glycemic index and does not increase the blood sugar levels. Moreover, even the FDA has accepted that it does not affect the blood sugar levels. Due to this, you will not find it mentioned in the added sugar section on food labels.
Its production process is relatively the same as erythritol and involves a natural fermentation process of a wide variety of plants.
· Monk Fruit:
Monk fruit, as you may be able to guess is a type of Asian melons. It has been used in parts of China for hundreds of years as a sweetener and cure for certain diseases. Now, focusing on the sweetness part of the monk fruit, it is extracted from the juice inside.
Interestingly, it is significantly concentrated. In terms of the sweetness, it is up to 150 – 400 times sweeter than regular sugar. Since it is also naturally sourced, Monk fruit is a much safer alternative to sucralose and does not have any side effects whatsoever.
Is sucralose keto? Yes, it is keto depending on how your keto diet is planned and what form of sucralose you intend to consume. Sucralose is considered keto because it has zero calories and zero carbs.
The purest form (liquid) of sucralose has a zero glycemic index (GI) compared to the dry form which has 80 GI. Due to this, the liquid form is considered much safer for your consumption. However, you need to remember that sucralose cannot be used in baked or cooked items.
This is because when it is exposed to heat, its chemical properties may be affected, and harmful toxins may be released. These toxins are known to increase the likelihood of cancers in your body, so you need to avoid adding sucralose as an ingredient for cooking or baking purposes.
Alternatively, you can use it in other foods such as beverages and other meals that do not involve heat exposure. Another factor worth considering is that you need to avoid too frequent consumption of sucralose as it leads to poor gut health, diabetes, and other health issues.
If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly foods, click on one of the links below: