Posted By Dr. Mercola | April 26 2011
Researchers recently investigated sucralose (Splenda) to see if it could reduce hunger and keep blood sugar steady. They found that it could not.
The researchers hoped to find that sucralose could cause the intestine to produce a hormone that reduces blood sugar and decreases appetite, which prior study had indicated might be a possibility. But the effect did not occur when it was ingested orally -- hunger remained the same and the blood sugar remained the same.
According to FYI Living:
"Worse, other research has shown that artificial sweeteners might contribute to weight gain ... [when the] sweet taste is not accompanied by the calories (energy) our brain expects it to be, the complex systems our bodies have to regulate energy balance may be thrown off kilter. The result is that a diet high in artificial sweeteners may possibly, over time, cause people to seek out more calories from other sources".
FYI Living March 10, 2011
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition April 2011; 65(4):508-13
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Avoiding sugar is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, but, instead of consuming a naturally low-sugar diet based on whole foods, some people are still trying to have their cake and eat it too.
Unfortunately, the belief that artificial sweeteners can allow you to have the best of both worlds is simply not based in reality. It's a carefully orchestrated deception. So if you're still consuming artificially sweetened foods, snacks and beverages because you think it'll help you manage your weight, please understand that you've been sorely misled.
In reality, "diet" foods and drinks ruin your body's ability to count calories, thus boosting your inclination to overindulge. This effect appears to be true for all artificial sweeteners.
Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as acceptable and even preferred alternatives to sugar, which is at best confusing and at worst seriously damaging the health of those who listen to this well-intentioned but foolish advice.
Artificial Sweeteners INCREASE Your Risk of Obesity
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In fact, diet sodas may actually double your risk of obesity!
How's that for being misled?
Studies have repeatedly shown that consuming artificial sweeteners may be ruining your ability to control your food intake and body weight. For example, I have listed the results of six studies on aspartame that found it increases hunger and body weight on my Aspartame Studies page, and research on other artificial sweeteners have come to the same conclusion.
It's thought that consuming artificial sweeteners breaks the inherent connection between a sweet taste and a high-calorie food, thereby changing your body's ability to regulate your intake of calories. The end result is that by consuming artificially sweetened foods and beverages, you end up gaining more body fat than if you were to eat the same foods sweetened with regular sugar!
But weight gain isn't the only health-harming side effect of these man-made chemical sweeteners.
Splenda Destroys Your Gut Flora
Different artificial sweeteners have been found to wreak havoc in a number of different ways. Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful effects, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery.
Splenda (sucralose) has been found to be particularly damaging to your intestines.
A study published in 2008 found that Splenda:
• Reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent
• Increases the pH level in your intestines, and
• Affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you're on certain medications like chemotherapy, or treatments for AIDS and certain heart conditions
They also found unmistakable evidence that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to previous claims.
In response to this study, James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health issued the following statement:
"The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."
I agree. It's truly disturbing that Splenda can destroy up to 50 percent of your healthy intestinal bacteria, as these bacteria are absolutely vital for supporting your general health! Many people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to consuming too many highly processed foods. This is why a high quality probiotic is one of the very few supplements I highly recommend for most, if not all, people.
Believe me, if you continually destroy up to half of your gut flora by regularly consuming Splenda, then poor health is virtually guaranteed!
Splenda has Never Been Proven Safe for Human Consumption
Splenda was approved by the FDA as a tabletop- and general-purpose sweetener in processed foods in 1998. The FDA claims the approval was based on more than 110 animal and human safety studies. However, what they don't specify was that out of these 110 studies, only two were human studies, consisting of a combined total of 36 people, of which only 23 people actually ingested sucralose.
Additionally, the longest of these two human trials lasted only four days and looked at sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human tolerance!
Many people have sent me stories about their adverse reactions to Splenda, which are posted on my site. This list alone contains more people than were formally studied in the research submitted for FDA approval!
The remainder of those 110-plus "safety studies" were done on animals, and they actually revealed plenty of problems, such as:
• Decreased red blood cells -- sign of anemia -- at levels above 1,500 mg/kg/day
• Increased male infertility by interfering with sperm production and vitality, as well as brain lesions at higher doses
• Enlarged and calcified kidneys (McNeil stated this is often seen with poorly absorbed substances and was of no toxicological significance. The FDA Final Rule agreed that these are findings that are common in aged female rats and are not significant.)
• Spontaneous abortions in nearly half the rabbit population given sucralose, compared to zero aborted pregnancies in the control group
• A 23 percent death rate in rabbits, compared to a 6 percent death rate in the control group
Common Side Effects of Splenda
The web site www.truthaboutsplenda.com lists a variety of consumer complaints from Splenda consumption, such as:
Gastrointestinal problems Blurred vision
Migraines Allergic reactions
Seizures Blood sugar increases
Dizziness Weight gain
You can also read the first-hand accounts of many of my readers here, at least one of whom say that allowing Splenda on the market is "worse than chemical warfare" based on the adverse effects she suffered before she figured out the cause. Just as with aspartame, many Splenda users complain of general malaise or "feeling under the weather," along with a variety of neurological changes, such as foggy-headedness, lack of concentration, and "bad mood."
If you have ever suffered any side effects from taking Splenda or any artificially sweetened product, I strongly recommend reporting it to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area.
Splenda—"Made from Sugar" But More Similar to DDT...
The catchy slogan "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar" has fooled many, but chemically, Splenda is actually more similar to DDT than sugar.
Sucralose starts off with a sugar molecule, yes, but that's where the similarity ends. (A sucrose molecule is a disaccharide that contains two single sugars bound together, i.e. glucose and fructose.) Then, in a five-step patented process, three chlorine molecules are added to that sucrose (sugar) molecule.
This process converts the sugar molecule to a fructo-galactose molecule.
This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this "unique" biochemical make-up, McNeil Nutritionals makes its claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by the body, hence it has zero calories.
But, if you look at the research, you will find that an average of 15 percent of sucralose IS in fact absorbed into your digestive system, and ultimately is stored in your body. To reach the average number of 15 percent means that some people absorb more and some people absorb less, depending on your biochemical makeup.
If you are healthy and your digestive system works well, you may be at HIGHER risk for breaking down this product in your stomach and intestines, so for you the adverse reactions may be more acutely felt.
How to Kick the Artificial Sweetener Habit
Sweet cravings are very common for the simple reason that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Unfortunately, switching to artificial sweeteners will neither reduce these cravings nor increase your satiety. On the contrary, as discussed above, you're likely making matters worse.
Your body also craves sweets when you're denying it the fuel it needs. Sugar (and grain carbs) is very quick fuel and can give your body a boost when it's running low. Again, using artificial sweeteners does not trick your body into thinking it has had its fill; rather it wants more sweets because it didn't get the energy boost with that sweet taste!
A powerful solution to help curb your cravings is to determine your nutritional type, which will tell you which foods you need to eat to feel full and satisfied.
It may sound hard to believe right now, but once you start eating right for your nutritional type, your sweet cravings will disappear. To help you turn your health around, I now offer the full nutritional typing program online for free, so please take advantage of this opportunity to dramatically change your health for the better.
Interestingly, nutrition- and fitness expert Ori Hofmekler recently shared a fascinating benefit of caffeine that can be helpful here. If you like coffee, drinking organic black coffee (meaning without sugar or milk) can help eliminate sugar cravings because the caffeine is an opioid receptor antagonist.
As you may know, sugar binds to the same opioid receptors as cocaine and other addictive substances. But once an opioid receptor antagonist occupies that receptor, it prohibits you from becoming addicted to something else. Therefore, caffeine may attenuate the addictive impact of sugar.
There are a few caveats to using this strategy however, including:
• Only drink organic coffee (as it's one of the most pesticide-heavy crops there are)
• Drink it black, sans sugar/artificial sweeteners or milk
• Only drink coffee in the morning, prior to exercise
• Limit your consumption to one or two cups
In addition to eating right for your nutritional type, I highly recommend addressing the emotional component of your food cravings, using a tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It's one of the most profoundly effective tools I've ever used or researched to help overcome food cravings and reach dietary success.
Turbo Tapping is particularly useful if you're addicted to soda. It's an extremely effective and simple tool to get rid of your addiction in a short period of time.
The Potential Dangers of Sucralose (Splenda)
Sucralose (Splenda) U.S. Product List
The Potential Dangers of Sucralose—Reader Testimonials