Healthy Decisions for the Love of Health

Is Sucralose a Dangerous Sugar Substitute?
By Andy Malin

 Most people know that too much sugar is a bad thing, especially processed refined carbohydrates. We are a society of health conscious, more specifically, weight conscious people. Low-Carb diets, the hottest diet regime ever, has people looking for calorie-free sugar substitutes. So, when Splenda (aka sucralose) came along, people thought their prayers had been answered. But ingesting sucralose could cause more damage than people think.

Sucralose has a molecular formula of C12H19CL3O8, which is produced by chlorinating sucrose, ordinary white table sugar. It is a five-step process discovered in 1976 by a British company, which sold it to Johnson and Johnson Company who then formed McNeil Specialty Products to commercialize sucralose. In 1998, the USFDA approved sucralose for food use and today Splenda has surpassed Equal (Nutrasweet) in dollar market share.

The human body is very good at detoxifying itself of certain substances, but this is not the case with organochlorine compounds, which are organic compounds that have been chlorinated. Dioxin, one organochlorine compound that is a by-product of the paper bleaching process, is 300,000 times more carcinogenic than DDT, an insecticide that was banned because of its toxicity. These compounds have been linked to birth defects, cancer, and immune dysfunction. These chemicals stay in the body and accumulate over time. According to the Sucralose Toxicity Information Center, the absorbed sucralose and its metabolites (chemically altered substances) concentrate in the liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract. Splenda manufacturers claim there is minimal absorption of Splenda and its metabolites. The FDA says there is only 11 percent to 27 percent absorption, but the Japanese Food Sanitation Council says as much as 40 percent is absorbed by the body.

According to claims by the manufacturer, the chlorine part of the sucralose molecule is similar to the chorine part of common table salt (NaCl – Sodium Chloride). However, some would caution that using sucralose may be more like ingesting small amounts of chlorinated pesticides like DDT. More long-term independent research is needed to evaluate this safety concern.

Purity is something everyone is striving for. The FDA claims that sucralose is 98 percent pure, but what about the other 2 percent? It contains heavy metals like lead, arsenic, triphenilphosphine oxide, methanol, chlorinated disaccharides, and other potentially dangerous substances.

One study on sucralose showed an increase in glycosylated hemoglobin (meaning damage to the oxygen carrying part of a red blood cell). Research in animals has shown:

1) Up to 40 percent shrinkage of the thymus gland. (Critical for the response to disease – the ‘heart’ of our immune system)
2) Enlarged liver and kidneys
3) Atrophy of lymph follicles
4) Reduced growth rate

In my opinion, not enough long-term research has been conducted on sucralose to establish its safety for human consumption.

Added: April 27, 2007

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