If you’ve ever added Splenda to your coffee or smoothie, you’ve eaten sucralose.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is commonly used as a sugar substitute. It is made from real sugar that has been modified with chlorine atoms.
When you’re on the keto diet or other low-carb meal plans, these sweeteners can seem to be a great way to freshen up your meals and drinks. Unfortunately, they may not be much healthier compared to the real thing.
Before reaching for a packet of Splenda, you should learn more about sucralose-based sweeteners.
What Is Sucralose?
Sucralose is made from sugar and found in a wide variety of food products. Along with packs of artificial sweeteners, sucralose is commonly found in candy bars, soft drinks, and canned fruits.
To make this sugar substitute, real sugar is put through a chlorination process to replace three molecules with chlorine atoms. The result is an undigestable ingredient that is over 600 times sweeter compared to real sugar.
Sucralose-based sweeteners mostly pass through your system without getting digested. Only about 15% of the sweetener gets absorbed by your body.
These sweeteners are listed as containing no carbohydrates or calories. However, each teaspoon contains a little under half a gram of carbs and a few calories.
If a food product contains fewer than five calories per serving, the FDA allows the manufacturer to market as a zero-calorie product.
How do you use these sweeteners?
You’ll mostly found them sold in powder form for use in coffee and smoothies. This includes the small packets of artificial sweetener that you’ll commonly find in restaurants and coffee shops.
Benefits of Replacing Real Sugar with Artificial Sweeteners
Sucralose offers a few benefits for keto dieters, especially those of you with a sweet tooth.
Splenda and other sucralose-based sweeteners may help curb your cravings. You can just add a teaspoon or two to your favorite keto-friendly drink.
People also love the taste of sucralose. It is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar and contains the closest taste profile to the real thing.
Sucralose also contains almost no calories or carbohydrates. When used in moderation, it can be keto-friendly. However, you do need to pay attention to how much of the sweetener you use.
Compared to natural sweeteners, it is affordable and has a long shelf life. It also lacks the bitter aftertaste that some sweeteners possess.
Why Should You Consider Avoiding These Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners do offer a low-carb alternative to table sugar. However, you should be aware of a couple of potential issues.
The first problem is the calorie and carb count. As mentioned, you may get a carbohydrate or two every time you use a packet of Splenda.
One or two carbs may not derail your keto diet. The problem comes when you use the sweetener throughout the day. If you constantly add packets of Splenda to your drinks and smoothies, you may add a dozen or more carbs.
Most Popular Artificial Sweeteners for Keto
Splenda is the most popular and well-known sucralose-based sweetener. It is found everywhere and you can even buy it in a large canister containing over 20 ounces of sweetener.
Along with sucralose, there are artificial sweeteners made from other compounds and ingredients. Saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium are also popular. You may know these sweeteners under the brand names Sweet’n Low, Equal, and Sweet One.
Keep in mind that these products may also possess negative side effects. These artificial sweeteners are FDA-approved. However, they have been linked to dizziness, headaches, and digestive problems.
Is There a Healthier Substitute for Sugar?
If you’re concerned about the possible side effects of consuming Splenda or other artificial sweeteners, there are a few alternatives. Stevia and monk fruit are both natural sweeteners made from plants instead of chlorinated sugar.
These natural sweeteners include about half a gram of carbs per teaspoon, which makes them okay for those on the ketogenic diet.
You’re also less likely to experience digestive distress when using Stevia or monk fruit. However, people occasionally report bloating when consuming Stevia.
Besides Stevia and monk fruit, there is also Erythritol that may already have in your kitchen. Maple syrup, agave nectar, and honey are often used for sweetening meals and drinks, but not on a keto diet.
These ingredients are tasty but contain their own health drawbacks. In fact, many nutritionists believe that maple syrup and agave nectar are worse than table sugar.
Honey includes antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease. However, it contains just as many carbs as sugar.
Conclusion: What Is the Best Sweetener for Keto?
Sucralose may offer a suitable alternative to unhealthy sugar for your keto diet. It’s cheap and contains almost no calories or carbohydrates but it’s not your only option.
Natural sweeteners such as Stevia or monk fruit are made using natural ingredients and may not include the same risk of digestive distress. Unlike honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar, these natural sweeteners also contain fewer carbs.
While Stevia and monk fruit may offer a healthier substitute to sugar, Sucralose is more affordable. You can purchase a box of 100 Splenda packets for less than $5.
No matter which option you choose, use it in moderation.