Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.
Artificial sweeteners are often the go-to item for people with diabetes who are trying to lower their carb intake while still enjoying a sweet treat. Most artificial sweeteners are considered to be non-nutritive, meaning they don’t add any calories or nutrients to the diet. The thought has always been that they are inert.
However, a study was conducted to determine the effect of non-nutritive sweeteners on the body’s hormonal response, glucose control, and insulin levels. The findings were surprising, at least to me.
The study included 17 morbidly obese people who consumed either water or sucralose (Splenda) 10 minutes prior to a five hour glucose tolerance test. The next day, the test was repeated and the participants drank the opposite of what they had the day before.
The findings showed that sucralose ingestion caused a greater effect on the body’s hormones, glucose regulation, plasma glucose levels and, on average, 20 percent more insulin secretion when compared to those who drank only water.
In conclusion, the authors said, "Our results indicate that this artificial sweetener is not inert—it does have an effect."
Beyond this study, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has changed their recommendation for sucralose from “safe” to “caution,” which means, “May pose a risk and needs to be better tested. Try to avoid.”
What does all this mean for you? It may be difficult to completely avoid sucralose, since it is widely used in packaged foods. But it means you need to pay even closer attention to what is in the foods you eat, and, as always, pay attention to what your meter tells you about how the foods you eat affect your blood glucose.