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 [http://www.vaclib.org/news/astimes.htm], 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.
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 (www.holisticmed.com/splenda), 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)
* Triphenilphosphine Oxide
* Chlorinated Disaccharides
* Chlorinated Monosaccharide
Although manufacturing guidelines do specify limits on these substances there is no guarantee that such limits will always be met.
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
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.
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.
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.
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