From the November 2003 Idaho Observer:

Splenda is not Splendid

Compiled by Ingri Cassel

Since we have been sharing about the dangers of diet products containing aspartame and encouraging people to read The Artificially Sweetened Times [], many have asked us about Splenda, thinking that sucralose doesn't have the same problems as aspartame, saccharine and refined white sugar. The following articles address the problems with Splenda according to a biochemist, a researcher and one man's personal experiences with the chemically altered sweetener. Splenda, the brand name for sucralose, is produced by chlorinating sugar (sucrose). This involves chemically changing the structure of the sugar molecules by substituting three chlorine atoms for three hydroxyl group atoms.

Sucralose was discovered in 1976 by researchers working under the auspices of Tate & Lyle Ltd., a large British sugar refiner. In 1980, Tate & Lyle arranged with Johnson & Johnson, the world's largest health care company, to develop sucralose. Johnson & Johnson formed McNeil Speciality Products Company in 1980 to commercialize sucralose.

In 1991, Canada became the first nation to approve the use of sucralose.

In April, 1998, the US Food and Drug Administration granted approval for sucralose to be used in a variety of food products. Sucralose was introduced to the U.S. market in Diet RC Cola in May 1998. Dr. Mercola's website lists seven pages of products that currently contain sucralose. Sucralose is not yet approved for use in most European countries.

Chlorinated Pesticides

The manufacturer claims that the chlorine added to sucralose is similar to the chlorine atom in the salt (NaCl) molecule. This is not the case. Sucralose may be more like ingesting tiny amounts of chlorinated pesticides, but we will never know without long-term, independent human research. According to Consumers Research Magazine “Some concern was raised about sucralose being a chlorinated molecule. Some chlorinated molecules serve as the basis for pesticides such as D.D.T., and accumulate in body fat. However, Johnson & Johnson emphasized that sucralose passes through the body unabsorbed.”

Is Sucralose Absorbed or Metabolized?

Despite the manufacturer's claims to the contrary, sucralose is significantly absorbed and metabolized by the body. According to the FDA's “Final Rule” report, 11% to 27% of sucralose is absorbed in humans, and the rest is excreted unchanged in feces. According to the Japanese Food Sanitation Council, as much as 40% of ingested sucralose is absorbed.

About 20% to 30% of absorbed sucralose is metabolized. Both the metabolites and unchanged absorbed sucralose are excreted in urine. The absorbed sucralose has been found to concentrate in the liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract. According to The Sucralose Toxicity Information Center (, sucralose is broken down “into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a chemical which has not been adequately tested in humans.”

The FDA's “Final Rule” report also stated that, “Sucralose was weakly mutagenic in a mouse lymphoma mutation assay.” The FDA reported many other tests as having “inconclusive” results.


The FDA acknowledges that sucralose “is produced at an approximate purity of 98%.” While that may sound pretty pure, just what is in that other 2%? It turns out that the final sucralose product contains small amounts of potentially dangerous substances such as:

* Heavy Metals (e.g., Lead)

* Arsenic

* Triphenilphosphine Oxide

* Methanol

* Chlorinated Disaccharides

* Chlorinated Monosaccharide

Although manufacturing guidelines do specify limits on these substances there is no guarantee that such limits will always be met.

Safety Concerns

Few human studies of safety have been published on sucralose. One small study of diabetic patients using the sweetener showed a statistically significant increase in glycosylated hemoglobin (Hba1C), which is a marker of long-term blood glucose levels and is used to assess glycemic control in diabetic patients. According to the FDA, “increases in glycosolation in hemoglobin imply lessening of control of diabetes.”

Research in animals has shown that sucralose can cause many problems in rats, mice, and rabbits, such as:

* Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage)

* Enlarged liver and kidneys.

* Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus

* Reduced growth rate

* Decreased red blood cell count

* Hyperplasia of the pelvis

* Extension of the pregnancy period

* Aborted pregnancy

* Decreased fetal body weights and placental weights

* Diarrhea

Dr. Joseph Mercola states:

It is important to recognize that Sucralose is basically chlorinated table sugar and, as such, may have many of the risks associated with chlorine. In addition, it is contributing to environmental chlorine pollution. Nearly three years ago I posted an article describing the dangers of Splenda, which is the brand name for sucralose. It appears that more and more people are finally realizing the hazards that this “healthy” sweetener poses. Splenda is far from healthy and I do not recommend using it in any form.

Perhaps the most revealing and powerful way to learn the dangerous truth about Splenda is to read someone's personal experience with it. Nearly every month we receive a report from someone who has had an adverse reaction to Splenda.

The following story provides a revealing testimony to the havoc Splenda can wreak on your physical and mental well-being.

Contributed by Steve G. [last name withheld]

I just want to thank you guys, as without your Web site I'd be in the mental ward right now! I'm a big coffee drinker, but my family has a history of diabetes so I decided I should cut out the sugar I add to my coffee.

Well, I switched to using Splenda in my coffee about two months ago. Now I'm no wimp, and I'm not a health nut or anything like that! I'm a former football player, a vice president with a major banking institution and kind of a tough guy. Let me put it this way -- the last time I cried was when the Green Bay Packers won the Superbowl!

So, anyway, I was using Splenda and I started getting withdrawn, had trouble focusing, and started to have problems with frustration. Gradually, I became more and more depressed. I thought it was stress or my job, something like that.

Well, last Thursday I completely fell apart! My girlfriend came over and found me crying uncontrollably for no reason, and all I could say was, “I'll be OK.” She couldn't get me to move, she couldn't talk me down and I could not tell her what was wrong!

She was shocked as I had never done anything even remotely like this before and so she made me go to the hospital. The doctors there we so concerned about my condition they wanted to check me into the mental-health ward.

Being the way I am I refused but agreed to come back the next day and see a psychiatrist, which I did and he put me on a huge dose of Effexor. That night I was on the Web and for some unknown reason I did a search for Splenda and found the website.

When I read your information on Splenda I was shocked -- I simply had no clue! I am now 99.9 percent convinced that my mental health issues were a direct result of using Splenda. I even had the stomach cramps and chest pains that other people have mentioned after using Splenda, but I dismissed them as panic attacks and stress.

So the next morning I got up and had some more Splenda and, low and behold, I started feeling the symptoms of a deepening depression again! It was clearly due to the Splenda, so I tossed it out.

I just want to say thank you. I would love to help get this product off the market! By the way, I missed work because of my ordeal, so I had to tell my boss about my problems and now I have to explain to him that I'm not nuts or having a break down -- how embarrassing! Thanks again.


It is clear from the hazards seen in pre-approval research and from its chemical structure that years or decades of use may contribute to serious chronic immunological and neurological disorders.

It is very important that people who have any interest in their health stay away from the highly toxic sweetener, aspartame and other dangerous sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda), and acesulfame-k (Sunette, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One).

From Dr. James Bowen:

Lying and deceit on the artificial sweetener issue has been the FDA's Modus Operandi ever since Donald Rumsfeld broke what decency was left in the U.S. government to put Aspartame on the market as a “contract on humanity”. If the FDA's own scientifically sound rules were followed, sucralose would never have been approved.

When questions were raised about the 40 percent reduction in size of the thymus gland in rodents (which should have been reason enough for the FDA to ban its use in food products), the manufacturer merely said, “Well the rats wouldn't eat the food with sucralose in it, so the thymus lost weight from starvation.”

The FDA allowed that explanation even though it was an admission that the rats hadn't ingested the required amount of sucralose, but had demonstrated immense damage anyway. In fact, if research animals won't voluntarily eat the required dose of an experimental substance, it can be given by gastric gavage, which is a common and well-known research method.

Moreover, the rats so fed were only 7-20 percent underweight versus the average for the control group. Rats who are severely starved to create a 30 percent weight loss, only shrink their thymus by an average of 7 percent. The net conclusion from all this is that both the thymus shrinkage and the growth retardation caused by sucralose were enough, in each case, to disqualify sucralose from the marketplace.

The moral of the story

So how (and why) did sucralose, and previously aspartame, get FDA approval? The same answers would most likely apply to aspartame, bovine growth hormone and possibly hundreds of other dangerous FDA-approved products that end up in our food supply.

The approval of these products begin a domino effect of corporate profits that, in the aggregate, are equal to billions of dollars annually (that is, product sales and the sales of doctor visits, pharmaceutical drugs, hospital stays and invasive surgeries). These dollars speak very loudly on Capitol Hill.

The Mercola website lists seven pages of products that contain sucralose. Many of them are considered to be “health foods” and “health drinks.”

We hope this article will encourage you to question the safety of all packaged food items, even if you purchased it in a health food store.

The information in this article was taken from Dr. Joseph Mercola's website and Mark D. Gold's website

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