Splenda is Not a "Healthy" Sweetener

The artificial sweetener Splenda is quickly gaining popularity in a market that was previously dominated by Equal and Sweet'N Low. In January 2003, Splenda even surpassed Equal in dollar-market share.

Splenda, the brand name for sugar-derivative sucralose, is converted from cane sugar to a no-calorie sweetener. It isn't recognized as sugar by the body and therefore is not metabolized.

Splenda is marketed as a "healthful" and "natural" product since it is derived from sugar. However, its chemical structure is very different from that of sugar and sucralose is actually a chemical substance.

Brand Channel April 28, 2003

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Please note that I do not advise using Splenda. Nearly three years ago I posted an article describing the dangers of Splenda (sucralose).

Why not use Splenda? Well, research in animals has shown that sucralose can cause many problems.

Nearly every month we receive a report from someone who has had an adverse reaction to Splenda, and you can see many of them posted on our site.

  • Reduced growth rate in newborns and adults at levels above 500 mg/kg.day

  • Decreased red blood cells -- sign of anemia (at levels abofe 1500 mg/kd/day

  • Decreased thyroxine levels (thyroid function) (According to McNeil, since this only occurred on male rats and no abnormalities were observed with the thyroid tissue, this was considered insignificant.)

  • Mineral losses (magnesium and phosphorus) McNeil stated that these patterns were variable and at times not dose related so they were not significant.

  • Decreased urination

  • Enlarged colon (The FDA Final Rule states cecal enlargement is often seen with poorly absorbed substances and is not significant.)

  • Enlarged liver and brain (McNeil stated these were insignificant due to a lack of a dose response.)

  • Shrunken ovaries

  • Shrunken thymus aboe 3 grams per day

  • Enlarged and calcified kidneys (McNeil stated this is often seen with poorly absorbed substances and was of no toxicological significance. The FDA Final Rule agreed that these are findings that are common in aged female rats and are not significant.)

  • Increased adrenal cortical hemorrhagic degeneration (McNeil stated that this is a variable finding common in aged rats and not toxicologically significant.)

  • Increased cataracts (McNeil stated that cataracts were discovered upon microscopic sections of the eye tissue and that this was not as accurate as in-life ophthalmological examinations and did not reveal any treatment- related ocular findings.

  • Abnormal liver cells (The FDA Final Rule states that this was only marginal and probably not treatment related due to the severity of the lesion was not contaminant with the dosage.)

McNeil concluded that all of these findings could be explained by reasons other than sucralose toxicity and were insignificant. This seems to be a pattern in all of McNeil"s study conclusions. I find it suspect that for every single adverse finding in the animal studies, McNeil always has some rationale that renders it "insignificant." Their downplaying every harmful finding makes it seem as if they are more interested in making sucralose appear safe than making sure that the people are not harmed.

The FDA concluded that most of these findings had no toxicological significance and those that did such as the decrease in thymus weight and the decreased red blood cells, would not be a problem because they occurred at doses of sucralose much higher than what people would consume.. As a physician, I beg to differ. I believe that these findings are not of no significance." Many of these are symptoms of serious pathology.

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