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Ingredient Investigator Extraordinaire: Sucralose

Related to Sugar, or a Chemical Booger? (Booger: stuff that comes out of your nose :] Burger: what you buy at McDonald’s)

Man, oh man. Like aspartame, discussing sucralose is a HUGE undertaking because sucralose is also surrounded by controversy and myth. I will say right off that this ingredient has caused divisive debates about its nutritional qualities.  For example, if you believe that the human body was designed to consume natural substances, you may not view this substance favorably.  If, on the other hand, you believe that the FDA is always right and always has your best interest in mind, this man-made chemical substance should cause you no concern whatsoever.  As stated previously, I am always in favor of natural ingredients, but I will do my best to share both sides in this edition of the Ingredient Investigator Extraordinaire!  Enjoy!

For All of Those in Favor, Please Raise Your Hand

Scientists first discovered sucralose as a sweetener in 1976 at Queen Elizabeth College when they were researching ways to use sucrose and its derivatives. One scientist told another to “test” the chemical. The other scientist thought he was being told to “taste” it, and, to his surprise, the chemical tasted remarkably sweet. Hence, sucralose as a sweetener was discovered by accident and was patented in 1976. However, sucralose is a chlorinated sugar molecule. In other words, it is a synthetic artificial sweetener that is not even remotely close to sugar in its chemical form.  It is used in over 4,500 foods and drinks products and is consumed by millions of people on a daily basis.  It is very stable even under high heat and has a nearly limitless shelf life. Additionally, it has no calories, which further increases its appeal.

There have been over 100 animal and clinical studies that have shown sucralose to be safe in the recommended daily limit, which is set at 1.1 mg/kg/bw.  This is well within range of most products that we typically consume as a nation.  The FDA has placed this product on its GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe list), and it is approved for use in over 80 countries. [1][2][3][4]

Oh, yeah, and sucralose is 600 times sweeter than table sugar!  Is this a good thing?  In my opinion, no, because nothing in nature comes remotely close to being 600 times sweeter than sugar!  It takes one heck of a chemical concoction to make that possible.  Splenda is the most common sweetener using this chemical.

For All of Those Opposed, Please Steer-Clear

On the other side of the health fence, we find that sucralose is responsible for destroying the good bacteria in your intestinal track.  Why is this important?  Because your intestinal track should carry a healthy balance of 80% good/friendly bacteria to the other 20% harmful bacteria. [5] When this ratio is disturbed or slanted in favor of bad bacteria, you will experience digestion/nutrient absorption problems, and your immune system will be compromised.

The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health has stated that sucralose can destroy up to 50% of the good stuff! [5] Yikes!  Can we say “immune system compromise?”  The same study also reported that it unfavorably alters the pH levels in your intestines.  To you give you an idea of what I am talking about, when I used to consume Splenda, I would tell my family and friends to get at least 500 yards away due to gaseous consequences (if you know what I mean).  This happened because this chemical SOB wreaked havoc on my intestines, and my intestines protested loudly.

It may interest you to know that there have been NO LONG-TERM STUDIES on sucralose!  The longest human study was only for FOUR days!  Four days?!  It is interesting that we do a human study for four days, and call it good!  Wow, I am reminded of an ostrich burying his head in the sand when it comes to this one.  It is no wonder why the list of complaints continue to grow.  Sucralose has been linked to the following side effects: [6]

-Headaches (most common complaint)

-Seizures

-Hyperactivity

-Cancer

-Tumors

-Glandular Problems

-Fatigue

My Personal Conclusion

I am not a doctor, a chemist, or a scientist, but I am a man of curiosity. I love to research and understand why there is so much controversy about certain ingredients.  In the case of sucralose, I am skeptical and uneasy about the FDA “Final Rule,” which states, “”Studies have shown that it causes no immediate health problems, but most of these studies have been done by the manufacturer, and no one yet knows what long-term ingestion of large amounts might do over a lifetime.” [7]

I don’t think that a little bit of this chemical will hurt you, but at the rate that we Americans are consuming it, I don’t think this chemical is leading us to the fountain of health.  Do your own research, and come to your own conclusion, my friends!  Life is good going natural!

God Bless,

Griff

  1.  Frank, Genevieve. “Sucralose: An Overview”. Penn State University.

  2. ^ Rodero, A. B.; Rodero, L. S. & Azoubel, R. (2009). “Toxicity of sucralose in humans: a review”. Int. J. Morphol. 27 (1): 239–244.

  3. ^ Grotz VL, Munro IC (2009). “An overview of the safety of sucralose”. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 55 (1): 1–5. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2009.05.011. PMID 19464334.

  4. ^ Grice HC, Goldsmith LA (2000). “Sucralose–an overview of the toxicity data”. Food Chem Toxicol 38(Suppl 2): S1–6. doi:10.1016/S0278-6915(00)00023-5. PMID 10882813.

  1. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A 2008;71(21):1415-29

  2. The Sacramento Bee, October 14, 2004 , Dan Vierria

  3. San Francisco Chronicle,September 15, 2004, Carol Ness

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