Is Sucralose Low FODMAP? (No, Do This Instead)

Is Sucralose Low FODMAP

People ask, is sucralose low FODMAP?

Low-FODMAP diets are a clinically proven way to reduce irritable bowel syndrome  (IBS) symptoms. However, the information out there regarding which foods are low- or high-FODMAP can be confusing, especially with regard to sweeteners. 

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener derived from sugar. While some sweeteners are high-FODMAP and can cause gastrointestinal irritation, sucralose is not a FODMAP at all. Because it is not a FODMAP, there is no need to avoid sucralose if following a low-FODMAP diet.

Discover the truth about sucralose, sweeteners, and FODMAP foods in this informative article. 

What Does FODMAP Mean?

FODMAP stands for “Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols”, which is a complicated way of describing certain sugars that can cause digestive distress.

FODMAP sugars are defined as short-chain carbohydrates. People who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be particularly prone to gastrointestinal distress from these sugars. One way for IBS sufferers to avoid symptoms is to follow a low-FODMAP diet.

What are Some Symptoms of IBS?

Certain high-FODMAP foods can trigger symptoms of IBS. These symptoms include:

  • Constipation
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence

What does the FODMAP diet consist of?

A FODMAP diet is not just a list of foods to avoid or consume, it is actually a process of eliminating potential triggers from your diet. This process consists of 3 phases. Ideally the FODMAP diet is supervised by a physician, especially during the most restrictive first phase of the diet.

The 3 Phases of a FODMAP diet:

  • Phase 1: Stop eating high-FODMAP foods (the most restrictive phase of the diet).
  • Phase 2: Gradually reintroduce the high-FODMAP foods, one at a time, to assess which ones are causing the IBS symptoms.
  • Phase 3: Once the triggers are identified, eliminate them from your diet.

An important point regarding the low-FODMAP diet is that it is NOT a weight loss program. It is purely to help individuals who suffer from IBS or similar intolerances to sugars eliminate their symptoms.

On the contrary, most individuals should not follow a low-FODMAP diet, since many high-FODMAP foods are in fact beneficial to healthy people who don’t suffer from IBS.

Read also: Is Gelatin Low FODMAP? (Yes, Here Is Why)

What are some foods that are high-FODMAP?

Foods that are high-FODMAP and are notorious for aggravating IBS symptoms are:

  • Beans, legumes, lentils
  • Dairy products: Milk, ice cream, yogurt, etc.
  • Garlic
  • Products containing wheat: Cereal, bread, crackers, etc.
  • Certain (but not all) vegetables: Onions, asparagus, artichoke, mushrooms, and others.
  • Certain (but not all) fruits: Apples, figs, watermelon, cherries and others.
  • Sweeteners: Agave nectar, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, xylitol, sorbitol and others. 

What are some foods that are low-FODMAP?

These foods are known to be low-FODMAP and can be good alternatives to the foods listed above:

  • Certain grains: Quinoa, oats, rice cakes and others.
  • Dairy alternatives: Almond milk.
  • Eggs, feta cheese, firm tofu, hard cheeses.
  • Certain vegetables: Carrots, zucchini, potato, lettuce and others.
  • Meats: Plain cooked poultry, seafood and others.
  • Sweeteners: Glucose, sucrose, sugar, maple syrup and aspartame.

If you’re looking for a list of scientifically tested high- and low-FODMAP foods, check out the  King’s College of London website or for a more detailed list vist Monash University’s.

So, if Sucralose is a sweetener, is it high- or low-FODMAP?

Looking at the lists of high- and low-FODMAP foods, it can be confusing to know whether a certain type of food is high or low in the culprits that cause IBS.

This is especially true of sweeteners. After all, aren’t sugars and other sweeteners, by their very names, sugary carbs? Not necessarily.

Only certain sugars are known to cause irritation because they are poorly digested in the small intestine. 

Digging deep into sugars:

Some notable sugars that cause irritation are fructans (oligo-saccharides), lactose (di-saccharides), fructose (mono-saccharides), and sorbitol (polyols). However, if a sugar contains an equal or greater amount of glucose in it, the glucose will aid the absorption of the offending sugar in the digestive tract and negate its irritable effects.

Some examples of these types of sugars are maple syrup, table sugar, and aspartame.  

Sucralose, a non-FODMAP food

Sucralose, although an artificial sweetener, is derived from natural sugar. It is commonly known as Splenda, and is recognizably sold in yellow packets.

Sucralose is a sugar that has been chemically altered to create a sweetener 600 times sweeter than sugar and is effectively zero-calorie. 

Sucralose was approved by the U.S. FDA in 1998 as a sweetener in foods. Because it is derived from natural sugar, it lacks the metallic or bitter aftertaste of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.

It also doesn’t break down in the heat, meaning it can be used as a sugar substitute for cooking. 

About 85% of sucralose passes through the body without being absorbed and is excreted unchanged. The 15% that is absorbed does not contribute any energy to the body (thus zero-calorie) and is excreted quickly.

Because it has such a minimal impact inside the body, it is considered very safe for consumption and is considered a non-FODMAP food. It simply doesn’t contribute one way or another to the digestive process. 

Are there other reasons I should avoid sucralose?

Although sucralose is not a FODMAP and won’t cause symptoms of IBS, there may be other reasons you want to avoid it.

Sucralose is considered safe and has undergone years of scientific testing. However, there are two reasons you may want to avoid sucralose:

1. Microbiome balance in the gut:

There has been researching on sucralose performed on rodents that concluded the use of sucralose in their diet upset the microbiome balance (the “good” bacteria) in the gut.

This can lead to long-term inflammation which can contribute to obesity and diabetes. There has been no conclusive evidence of this same effect on humans. 

2. Blood sugar and insulin levels:

It is thought that artificial sweeteners, unlike sugars, do not trigger changes in blood sugar and the release of insulin in the body.

This means artificial sweeteners are thought of as a great alternative to sugar for people with diabetes. However, there is no conclusive research as to how sucralose affects blood sugar and the release of insulin. 

Some studies show no effect on blood sugar, however, a few studies found that obese people who didn’t normally eat artificial sweeteners had an increase in both blood sugar and insulin levels when they ate sucralose. 

In short, there is no conclusive evidence that sucralose is bad for you. However, if you are concerned about some of the research on sucralose, you can cut back on sugars in general, or find another alternative low-FODMAP sugar to use instead of sucralose.

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Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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