Splenda is a commonly used artificial sweetener that is a mix of both sucralose and two fillers known as maltodextrin and dextrose. Sucralose is a type of sugar and, as stated in Medical News Today, Splenda is about 600 times as sweet as sugar. However, according to Precision Nutrition, sucralose has some distinct advantages over other artificial sweeteners. While it is a lot sweeter than regular sugar, sucralose has no aftertaste, and it is still stable when heated so it can be cooked or baked with, and it is stable at different acidity levels meaning its sweetness won’t change in things that are really acidic such as lemon juice.
While some studies have called Splenda dangerous many other studies have come forth calling foul on those studies. However, while sucralose has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) it doesn’t mean it’s completely safe to consume.
A study that was first reported on Mercola.com found that Splenda had once been linked to cancer and leukemia. The 18-year-old old article has since been refuted after a study published in the Journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found that there were no adverse effects when individuals were exposed to sucralose over the long term.
A PubMed article published in 2008 found that when Splenda was given to male Sprague Dawley rats over the course of 12 weeks, they had less ‘good’ bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts and that a low dosage of sucralose might actually cause weight gain while high to moderate dosages have little to no effect on weight gain. A website known as Precision Nutrition broke down the PubMed article by saying: ‘Well, there are two major points to take home. First, relatively low amounts of Splenda (100mg/kg/day) may cause weight gain. And second, Splenda at moderate levels (300mg/kg/day and up) has adverse effects on your gut, affecting both levels of gut flora and proteins.’
And then again in March of 2016, an Italian study showed a link between cancer in mice (specifically leukemia in male mice) and Splenda. The study which was conducted by the Ramazzini Institute was later criticized by members of the International Food Information Council (IFIC), which is a non-profit group who aims at providing science-based evidence for food safety.
In an article done by foodinsight.org, the IFIC said: ‘The problem hanging over the Splenda finding is that which hangs over the Ramazzini Institute in general: Quality control. No matter what substance the Institute tests for cancer, the results always seem to be positive, whereas other laboratories testing the same substances repeatedly fail to come up with the same findings. […] All of this has made the Ramazzini Institute something of a joke in European and American science. But, of course, there’s nothing to laugh about when you use a charity conference on childhood cancer to promote an international cancer panic.’
The IFIC then later concluded that the ‘safety and effectiveness of sucralose (and other low-calorie sweeteners in foods) is incredibly well supported’ and then reiterated that ‘you shouldn’t hesitate to swap them into your diet.’ Splenda, on their Facebook page, boasted the IFIC’s findings with a statement that said: ‘researchers have conducted more than 100 scientific studies on the safety of sucralose over the past 20 years, and they’ve all declared sucralose safe to enjoy. Sometimes, however, poorly conducted and unscientific studies make bold headlines and stir up safety fears. This [IFIC] article sets the record straight.’
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