- Sucralose and stevia are calorie-free, but there are some uncertainties about sucralose’s long-term safety as an artificial sweetener.
- Stevia is a natural sweetener and hosts a number of health benefits.
- Stevia is used in Supergreen tonik to provide natural sweetness safely.
What Is Sucralose (Splenda)?
Sucralose is a type of artificial sweetener. It’s the main sweetener in several pre-formed sugar replacement products such as Splenda.
Sucralose is incredibly sweet – something in the region of 600 times sweeter than sugar. This is why you really do only need the smallest amount to create that sweet taste you crave. (Source)
It is naturally calorie-free because the body doesn’t digest it in the same way.
This means it doesn’t extract the energy and store it, as it would with sugar. So in that regard, it is a good option for anyone wanting to keep an eye on their energy intake.
However, when you consider how sucralose is made, it’s not a million miles away from the structure of sugar.
This is because it is actually a modified form of sugar. It has been chemically altered so that your body can’t break it down and store it as energy. (Source)
Is Sucralose Safe?
In most scenarios, sucralose appears safe, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily has any real health benefits (apart from being calorie-free).
There are mixed results when considering whether sucralose raises your blood sugar after consumption.
Some studies show that when you have Splenda or other sucralose-containing products, you experience no notable blood sugar rise or consequential insulin surge. (Source)
However, other studies conflict with this and indicate that both blood sugar and insulin levels may rise post-consumption. (Source)
So in this regard, we can say that we don’t have quite enough information to draw a clear conclusion.
Many sweeteners are considered great options for use in baking. However, sucralose may not be one of them.
Some evidence suggests that combining sucralose with fat sources (as often used in baking) and cooking them at high heat may produce some unhealthy and potentially cancer-inducing chemicals. (Source)
While the results of one study alone don’t prove anything – nobody wants to take risks where cancer is concerned.
An alternative approach might be to avoid using Splenda where high heats are involved and instead switch to a different sweetener in these cases.
And sucralose also has controversial findings when considering its impact on gut microbial diversity.
A diverse microbiome is a healthy one so we must do what we can to promote this by eating a wide range of plant-based foods.
But some evidence in animals shows that after six months of consuming sucralose, gut bacteria were adversely affected. (Source)
And as a final point on safety – most studies look at short-term outcomes to reach their conclusions, so we could benefit from longer-term studies to confirm its long-lasting effects.
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is a natural sweetener. It comes from the leaf of the stevia plant and is usually found in a powdered form.
Stevia is also calorie-free and has been proven not to increase blood sugar or insulin levels in a harmful way.
Despite the similar sounding names, stevia is quite different from Truvia, as Truvia doesn’t contain the part of the stevia plant which hosts its health benefits, and it’s actually mostly made of the sugar alcohol erythritol.
Stevia in its purest form is a great option in baking, and also on its own. But do check the ingredient lists of a product marketing as stevia, especially if it’s quite cheap.
This is because many stevia-based sweaters actually contain other sources of sweetness, such as maltodextrin and possibly also sucrose.
Is Stevia Safe?
Yes, stevia appears really pretty safe.
After all, it originates from a natural plant in Central and Southern America. So, if you stumble across it you can pick it up and add it directly to your tea.
But, otherwise, stevia is a safe and actually beneficial option. Side effects are minimal and only usually occur with excessive consumption.
And beyond its proven safety, stevia also offers some health benefits too.
It appears to offer protection against harmful bacteria in the mouth, leading to a reduced risk of developing cavities. (Source)
It also helps reduce your risk of type two diabetes by preventing the insulin resistance you can develop through excess sugar consumption. (Source)
However, stevia may not be the best option for absolutely everyone.
For example, certain types of stevia have not been studied extensively enough to conclude they are 100% percent safe in pregnancy.
The commonly used form of stevia (steviol glycosides) appears to be completely safe for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding, but whole stevia leaf or raw extracts have not been approved yet due to limited evidence. (Source)
Similarly, for children, it’s important they don’t go overboard and consume excessive amounts of stevia (more than 4 mg per kg of body weight).
This means that their consumption should be less than that of adults to remain within the safe upper limits. (Source)
What Is The Difference Between Stevia And Splenda?
We can separate Stevia and Splenda by their category of sweetener.
While Splenda is a processed and “constructed” form of artificial sweetener produced by chemically altering the structure of sugar, stevia is a minimally processed natural sweetener straight from a plant.
We know that both of these are calorie-free, but we can’t say with as much certainty that sucralose won’t raise your blood sugars. Luckily, we know that stevia will not, making it a good option for diabetics or those wanting to prevent it.
Stevia also appears safe for almost everyone if consumed at sensible levels, whereas sucralose may contribute to blood sugar/ insulin rises and may also negatively affect your gut health with regular consumption.
So, when it comes to stevia vs sucralose, we can pretty clearly see that stevia is better than sucralose on most levels.
What About Other Natural Sweeteners?
Aside from stevia, some people use natural sweeteners like xylitol or monk fruit. (Source)
These are true sugar alternatives, whereas things such as maple syrup and agave act like sugar in the body so don’t provide many tangible benefits.
Xylitol does have some dental health benefits, just like stevia but may cause a laxative effect in those sensitive. (Source)
When it comes to monk fruit, it can be a good option, but it’s hard to find, can be expensive, and is usually blended with other less desirable sweeteners to keep the costs down.
Why Do Supplements Use Sweeteners?
The fact is that not everyone likes the taste of superfoods such as spirulina and spinach. So many supergreen powders use a sweetener to help counteract any bitterness.
This also makes it more likely that you will consume the supplement frequently enough to benefit from the health benefits.
Remember that consistency is key and so taking them now and again because you don’t enjoy the taste will not lead to a positive outcome.
And also, unlike tablet-based supplements, with supergreen powders and blends you usually consume them by adding them to things like juices, smoothies, and yogurts, so the taste really does matter.
Not all supplements opt for a natural sweetener, though, so check the label carefully.
Supergreen Tonik, is one example of a supplement choosing stevia over another less beneficial option such as sucralose.
Supergreen Tonik uses stevia so that you can enjoy the taste whilst adding any unnecessary calories.
It also means you may be doing your dental health a favor, and won’t be pushing your blood sugar up either.
So, if you have a sweet tooth, but also want the benefits of superfoods, why not try Supergreen Tonik today?
Julia is a health content editor and nutritionist from Norwich, UK. She has worked as a health coach in private practice and for the national health service. She undertook an MSc in nutritional medicine to deepen her knowledge.
She enjoys producing evidence-based content which inspires people to become healthier and happier.