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Friday, May 31, 2013

Updated: Should I Eat Sucralose While Low-Carbing?

The answer, for me, is no: sucralose makes me hungrier and less satisfied with the food I eat. I also feel swollen when I consume it.
In my recent review of Dr. Bernstein's The Diabetes Diet, I mentioned that he was a big user of artificial sweenteners, and that they--particularly liquid sucralose--featured prominently in several of the book's recipes. I like sweets, and am trying to keep my carbs low, so bought a smallish bottle of liquid sucralose (the powders, such as Splenda, contain a small amount of dextrose, a sugar; the liquids, such as DaVinci syrups, do not) at a local discount store. 
This was not my first time at the sucralose rodeo. I used it last year, mostly in cups of tea. At the time I was eating a fair amount of carbs, so I didn't notice whether the sweetener (which the body does not digest) was affecting my weight or the way I felt.
six bottles containing different flavors and colors of da vinci syrups
Da Vinci syrup.
Artificial sweeteners are a contentious issue among low-carbers. Here, the Hardcore Chef (in a bit of a glib manner) lays out some of the pros and cons; note, especially, the reports of sucralose's effect on gut flora. Sucralose, even in a flavored syrup, tastes nothing like sugar, and the taste isn't particularly satisfying. My mouth feels cheated whenever I consume an artificial sweetener ("But where's the sugar?!?" it seems to be saying).
This week, I've used sucralose in tea (again) and an avocado-based mousse (which is normally sweetened with mashed dates). I've already noticed several changes after I started using it. First, my body seemed congested, swollen, as if I was having some systemic inflammation. And I was hungrier and not (as I have been) satiated by medium-fat and -protein meals. In fact, I craved carbs. Yesterday, I exceeded my daily carb limit (but about 15 grams). I've also not lost any weight.
I trust my body: No more sucralose for me.
6/22 Update: Ack! I forgot that I made a recent batch of salad dressing with sucralose. After just 4 bites of the salad (and mind you, I used less than 2 tablespoons of the dressing on it) I started getting a headache and--this was weird--begin feeling like my body was swelling or thickening. Then my stomach began to get funky.
This was all very curious--until I remembered the Hardcore Chef's mention of headaches as problem for some who consumed sucralose.
So, down the drain went the salad dressing. I drank a lot of water, took some taurine and B-vitamins, and will soon be eating some sauerkraut to boost gut flora likely decimated by the sucralose.
I'm especially pissed, however, as I'm doing my weekly weighing tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure the news won't be good.

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