The truth about E955: sucralose and its effects
The truth about E955: sucralose and its effects

The truth about E955: sucralose and its effects

Table of contents:

  1. Introduction: Sweeteners
  2. What is sucralose (E955)?
  3. Use of sucralose (E955) in foods
  4. Effects on health
  5. Alternatives to Sucralose (E955)
  6. Conclusion and recommendation

1. introduction: sweeteners

A basic distinction is made between sweeteners and sugar substitutes. Sweeteners are classed as additives and must be listed in the list of ingredients on packaging with their class name and designation or E number. Although sugar substitutes provide fewer calories than sugar, in large quantities they have a laxative effect and cause diarrhoea.
You've probably come across the term "sucralose" or E955, whether you're shopping in the supermarket or looking for healthy alternatives to sugar. From soft drinks to chewing gum to baked goods, sucralose is often used as a sugar substitute to make food sweeter. In a world where we are increasingly looking for ways to improve our diets without sacrificing the pleasures of life, sucralose has become a term that promises hope: the sweetness we love without the remorse that often comes with it. But what exactly is sucralose (E955) and where is it to be found? Many manufacturers advertise the supposed harmlessness of sucralose, but is this really the case?

2 What is sucralose (E955)?

Sucralose (E955) is not a naturally occurring compound. It is an artificial sweetener that has been used in food since the 1970s. The sweetener is produced from normal household sugar (sucrose) by replacing some hydroxyl groups with chlorine atoms. Sucralose is therefore also known as "chlorine sugar", as it is chemically a chlorinated form of household sugar. The process described above makes sucralose around 600 times sweeter than conventional sugar. This means that you only need a tiny amount to sweeten your coffee or tea or to give your favourite dessert the perfect taste. As the body does not recognise sucralose as a carbohydrate, it is not broken down and therefore provides no calories. Sucralose is therefore a calorie-free sweetener, which makes it all the more attractive to many people.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment states that the maximum acceptable intake of sucralose is 15 mg per kilogramme of body weight.

3. use of sucralose (E955) in foods

Sweetening power and possible uses

With a sweetening power that is around 600 times stronger than that of conventional sugar, sucralose makes it possible to give foods and drinks an intense sweetness without adding calories. This property makes sucralose particularly attractive for the production of diet and light products and for people who want to reduce their sugar consumption without having to give up sweet flavours.

Sucralose (E955) is found in a variety of foods and drinks. These include sugar-free or reduced-sugar soft drinks, but also chewing gum, jellies, breakfast cereals, confectionery and baked goods, spreads, sweet and sour fruit, vegetables and tinned fish. The sweetener is also authorised for use in protein bars and muesli bars, sauces, mustard, snacks made from cereals or nuts and food supplements. It is even found in some types of yoghurt and ice cream. Not forgetting the many diet products and supplements, including protein shakes and bars, which do not contain added sugar and are instead sweetened with sucralose to provide a low-calorie but still sweet alternative.

Sucralose tablets

Advantages and disadvantages of sucralose (E955):

Advantages:

  • Neutral flavour: Unlike other sweeteners, surcalose has no bitter aftertaste, which is why it is so popular in the beverage industry as a sweetener for calorie-free lemonades and energy drinks.
  • Gentle on teeth: In contrast to conventional sugar, sweeteners such as sucralose do not cause tooth decay, so they are cariogenic because they are not metabolised by the bacteria in the mouth.
  • Calorie-free: Sucralose is considered calorie-free because the human body does not metabolise it for the most part and it therefore provides no calories. This makes sucralose a popular choice for people who want to reduce their sugar intake without sacrificing sweetness.

Disadvantages:

  • Heat-sensitive and potentially carcinogenic: If sucralose is heated to temperatures above 120 °C, compounds may be formed that are potentially carcinogenic. Therefore, sucralose should not be used at high temperatures.
  • Environmental impact: Sucralose is not fully absorbed by the human body and is largely excreted unchanged, which leads to pollution of the sewage system and the environment, as sewage treatment plants have difficulty filtering out sucralose.

Effects on health

Studies on the safety of sucralose indicate various health risks, including impaired insulin sensitivity and changes in the gut microbiome. A study published in 2018 in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that the consumption of sucralose can reduce insulin sensitivity, which is a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Further studies, such as the one published in "Nature" in 2014 Studyshow that artificial sweeteners such as sucralose can influence glucose tolerance through changes in the gut microbiome.

Risk sucralose

Risks for certain groups of people

People with a sensitive digestive system: Sucralose can cause digestive problems such as flatulence and diarrhoea.

People with insulin resistance or diabetes: Sucralose could affect insulin and blood sugar levels.

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers: As the long-term effects of sucralose have not yet been fully researched, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should limit their consumption.

Children: Children may be more sensitive to the effects of sucralose.

Alternatives to sucralose (E955):

Date sugar: Natural sugar substitute with fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Coconut blossom sugar: Lower glycaemic index than conventional sugar.

Honey: Contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but should be consumed in moderation.

Maple syrup: Rich in antioxidants and minerals.

Stevia: Calorie-free, natural sweetener with zero glycaemic index.

Erythritol: Sugar alcohol that does not affect blood sugar levels.

Xylitol: Sugar alcohol with tooth-friendly properties.

Conclusion and recommendations:

Sucralose may be a calorie-free alternative to sugar, but the potential risks and side effects have many looking for safer and healthier options. For these reasons, many are turning to natural sweeteners such as stevia or erythritol. They offer a good alternative for those who want to reduce their sugar intake without jeopardising their health.

In order to make informed decisions about consuming sucralose, it is important to read food ingredient lists thoroughly. Rather than relying on sweeteners to reduce sugar consumption, a more comprehensive approach to dietary change can be helpful. This includes eating whole, unprocessed foods and focusing on natural sources of sweetness, such as those found in fruit. Ultimately, it is important to educate yourself about the ingredients in foods and drinks and make conscious choices that support your health.

The fruit bars and puffed snacks from Wacker offer a healthy and natural snack alternative - free from sucralose and other additives and industrially added sugar. Get the Organic snack pack and snack without a guilty conscience in future:


Why puffed is better? Find out here!



Sources: BLV, NDR, world, Utopia, Consumer advice centre
Photo sweetener sucralose: Adobe Stock, bit24, #518290772
Photo risk sucralose: Adobe Stock, Nuthawut, #500905880

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