March 5, 2011

014 Sucralose Safety Re-examined [1 June 2009]

How far can we trust the food industry and government regulators to determine the safety of food additives? After all, such products must undergo thorough testing before being allowed on the market, right? Dr. Joseph Mercola in his 2006 book “Sweet Deception” addresses this question and re-examines the safety of artificial sweeteners.

Let’s take a closer look at one artificial sweetener, sucralose (marketed as Splenda). Its promoters proclaim its safety based on many studies and its approval by Canadian and American health agencies. See

Sucralose was approved for sale in the USA by the FDA in 1998, based on 110 studies. Sounds impressive, but only 2 of these were human studies and the longest of those was 4 days and was looking at its effect on tooth decay. The study testing human absorption was based on only 10 men. Among the animal studies some worrying findings showed up: decreased red blood cells, male infertility, spontaneous abortions, and a 23% death rate in rabbits (vs 6% in the controls). Canada was the first country to approve sucralose in 1991 (when presumably even fewer studies were available).

The name itself is very misleading. The “ose” ending suggests a sugar and promoters make much of the fact that it is made from sucrose. However the 5 chemical steps in transforming sucrose to sucralose results in significant chemical changes making it structurally more similar to DDT than sugar. Sucralose falls in the organochlorine chemical family, which are highly toxic and include carbon tetrachloride, PCBs and dioxin (Agent Orange).

Mercola’s book exposes ”…behind-the-scenes political deals, … shoddy science and deceptive advertising”. Mercola’s conclusion: “artificial sweeteners are to be avoided at all costs” and “all that [the FDA] protects now are the profits of its multinational corporation ‘clients’”. My conclusion: don’t believe everything you read – in food industry promotions or health professional newspaper articles (including this one). Read widely and think for yourself. You are ultimately responsible for your own health.

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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