Updated January 25, 2022
Artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose (Splenda), Stevia, and Aspartame are used in many different food products to help sweeten and improve the flavor as a substitute for sugar.
A high intake of sugar as part of a caloric surplus is directly linked to obesity, which comes with a whole host of problems. This is why non-nutritive sweeteners can be very helpful in making supplements and certain beverages tasty, while keeping calories at a minimum.
Are there differences in sweeteners like Sucralose and Stevia? The short answer is yes. This article will give some clarity on why some sweeteners are chosen over others and even explain exactly what happens in your body when you consume them.
There are many different sweeteners used in products around the world, but several of the most popular sweeteners are Sucralose, Stevia, and Aspartame.
Stevia is a natural product extracted from plants and whereas both Sucralose and aspartame are artificially made and evolved from sugar and amino acids.
Sucralose, commonly known as Splenda, is considered generally safe, but there is some mixed evidence pointing to potential dangers of Aspartame.
Stevia is one sweetener that is scientifically researched and is known to be safe. Stevia also has some potential health benefits.
There are many other sweeteners out there. Because Sucralose, Stevia, and Aspartame are some of the most popular sweeteners, we will compare these three in depth in this article. We'll also discuss the differences between Stevia vs Splenda and why we use Stevia to flavor our protein and collagen products.
Sucralose is an artificially made zero-calorie sweetener and is a chemical derivative of glucose. It is about 600 times sweeter than sugar. It is largely considered safe, but some studies have shown detrimental effects in the body. A large review on Sucralose found several studies reporting dangerous effects with Sucralose consumption but is generally safe to consume. Study design is everything when it comes to determining the safety of products. The designs of some of these studies required the findings to be thrown out. But what we do know is Sucralose was studied to see if there were any beneficial effects on the body and an extremely large review paper found no benefits with consumption of Sucralose. The conclusion is that Sucralose then is generally safe, with some potential negative side effects like upset stomach. Additionally, there are no scientifically backed benefits from consumption.
Aspartame is another popular sweetener used in products. Aspartame is around 250 times sweeter than sugar and commonly used around the world in food and even pharmaceutical products. It is an amino-acid derivative. The evidence is currently somewhat mixed on its safety, but more likely than not, it's not necessarily as dangerous as some media outlets have made it out to be.
Stevia, unlike the other two sweeteners, comes from several different plant species and has been used for centuries in South America to sweeten drinks. In terms of sweetness, it is very similar to the other sweeteners, however Stevia may have other benefits relating general health along with being all-natural. Stevia is about 300 times as sweet as sugar and it contains 0 calories so it makes for a great sugar substitute.
When consumed, Stevia passes harmlessly through the intestines or is absorbed and easy handled by the liver before being excreted by the body. Scientists have concluded that Stevia is safe to consume at any age and research up until now has not shown any carcinogenic or allergy-like properties. What’s even more interesting is that Stevia has been shown to have some benefits on other processes in the body when consumed in normal amounts.
Research on Stevia has shown some very interesting effects on processes like glucose regulation, obesity, and even blood pressure due to some of the compounds found inside Stevia. The next part of this article is going to breakdown why Stevia is a good choice of sweetener to consume and why Upper Echelon Nutrition uses this in our products. First, let’s talk about the effects on glucose regulation.
When consuming Stevia, scientists found an increase in glucose tolerance. That sounds fantastic, but what exactly is glucose and why do we care? Glucose tolerance is simply how efficient is our body at handling glucose into the blood. As training adaptations increase, our body increases our glucose tolerance and becomes better at handling glucose in the blood.
There is strong evidence Stevia consumption in recommended doses can help improve glucose tolerance.
Other research has suggested Stevia may also help with blood pressure regulation.
Sucralose vs Aspartame
If we had to pick between the two, Sucralose would probably be a better option than aspartame. Simply put, the research is a bit more solid on the safety of sucralose vs aspartame, where it's not so clear-cut. Regardless, we prefer to use all-natural flavoring like Stevia, for the reasons described below. More than likely, there's nothing terribly wrong with artificial flavors like sucralose and aspartame, and the fear mongering around the two is generally unwarranted and somewhat overblown. But Stevia may have some potential health benefits. When formulating our products, using Stevia helped us stay in line with making everything naturally flavored, and our protein and collagen actually tasted the best when flavored with Stevia in all our pre-production testing, a win-win.
Sucralose vs Stevia - The Final Answer
Our mission here at Upper Echelon Nutrition is to provide high quality, all-natural ingredients in all of our products. Our ingredients are research tested and formulated to give you some of the highest quality products on the market. We chose Stevia in our Whey Protein Isolate for a few reasons. The first is to enhance the flavor to make our whey protein isolate one of the best tasting protein powders out there. We believe in using all-natural ingredients, so we've decided to stay clear of sweeteners like Aspartame and Sucralose in our formulations. Finally, we want to provide ingredients to keep you healthy so that you can perform at your best and reach all your fitness goals. Because of all the aforementioned potential health benefits, the fact that it is an all-natural ingredient, and the great taste, Stevia is the pick for flavoring our Whey Protein and Collagen+ supplements.