T Nation

aspartame, splenda, equal??

Fellas, Im constantly asked at work whether or not these artificial sugars have an insulin or blood glucose influence? Can someone answer this? Yes, I have looked through the t-mag archives…

I am not aware that any of these have an effect on glucose or insulin. I have read alot about splenda, and it may be the best out of the bunch. There are no reports of it causing cancer. Also splenda seems to taste the most natural. On a personal note when I consume aspartame I tend to get headaches and retain water. If I remember others have reported negative side effects of Aspartame.

Here’s what the Protein Factory has to say:


“Sucralose (brand name Splenda) is a new sweetener recently approved by the FDA. It requires NO health warnings because it is derived from sugar [fructose]. Splenda is recommended by the Protein Factory. It has a good natural sweetness with no after taste.”


“Aspartame is Nutrasweet. Found in diet drinks. 300 times sweeter than sugar. It is a good, long lasting sweetener. But over the years has been put to negative press.”


“Acesulfame Potassium or Acesulfame-K is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is not metabolized by the human body, it passes through the digestive system unchanged. It has passed over 90 in depth safety studies, concluding the product is completely safe. It is NOT carcinogenic. No allergic reactions have ever been reported.”


“Stevia or Steviocide is a natural sweetener from the stevia plant. A weak sweetener but combined with acesulfame is very good.”


Sorry it doesn’t answer the insulin question, but I wanted to contribute what I had nonetheless. The insulin aspect of your post might be a good one to send John Berardi care of his website (www.johnberardi.com).

From my understanding, aspartame and sucralose by themselves have a negligable impact on blood glucose and insulin levels, however it is important to understand that that’s not the only sweetner in these products. Both Splenda and Equal are ~96% maltodextrin and glucose. A 1-gram packet of Splenda contains minimal sucralose and just about 1 gram of simple sugar which is used as a carrier. If your going to use a packet or two, then it’s not a big deal. But, if you are one of those people who dumps 10 packets on their All Bran, then you’re kinda kidding yourself. You just added about 10 grams of simplest sugar out there (which has a seriously high GI and II) to your breakfast.

-JM