Knowledge and Nonsense: Does Sucralose lead to bad health and obesity?

TAGS: Sucralose, Splenda, Does Sucralose lead to bad health and obesity?, knowledge and nonsense, Jamie Hale

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener discovered in 1976 during a collaborative research program between Tate and Lyle at the Queen Elizabeth College of the University of London. It is made by the selective substitution of sucrose hydroxyl groups by chlorine, resulting in a highly intense (600 times) sugar-like sweetness and exceptional stability at both high temperatures and low pH (Hale, 2007).

Baird and colleagues (2000) studied the tolerance of sucralose in healthy humans. Two tolerance studies were administered. The first was an ascending dose study conducted in eight subjects.  Sucralose was administered at doses of 1, 2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg at 48-hour intervals and followed by daily dosing at 2 mg/kg for three days and 5 mg/kg for four days. In the second study, subjects consumed either sucralose (n=77) or fructose (50g/day) (n=31) twice daily in single blind fashion. Sucralose dosage levels were 125 mg/day for weeks 1–3, 250 mg/day during weeks 4–7, and 500 mg/day during weeks 8–12.

No adverse experiences or clinically detectable effects were attributable to sucralose in either study.  Findings from these studies suggest that there is no indication that adverse effects on human health would occur from frequent or long-term exposure to sucralose at the maximum anticipated levels of intake.

Sucralose was reported as a contributor to migraines in a case study conducted by Bigal (2006). Once sucralose consumption was terminated, the migraines disappeared. However, keep in mind, this was a sample size of one, not a large group.

Sucralose has been shown to be an effective sugar substitute for type 2 diabetics. Grotz (2003) investigated the effect of the daily administration of high doses of sucralose, a non-nutritive sweetener, for three months on glycemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes. The study demonstrated that sucralose consumption for three months at doses of 7.5 mg/kg/day, which is approximately three times the estimated maximum intake, had no effect on glucose homeostasis in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, this study showed that sucralose was as well tolerated by the study subjects as was the placebo.

Sucralose is a non-nutritive sweetener used in a wide range of foods and beverages and is the non-nutritive sweetener used in SPLENDA Sweetening Products.  Splenda contains s two calories per teaspoon or 1/8 the calories of sugar (a teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories). There are no calories in sucralose. The granular, packet, and tablet forms of Splenda contain a small amount of calories from the bulking agents—maltodextrin, dextrose, and lactose.

“The collective evidence supports the conclusion that the ingredient, sucralose, is safe for use in food and that the sucralose-mixture product, Granulated SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, is also safe for its intended use.” (Grotz & Munro, 2009)

Extensive data shows that sucralose is well-tolerated and safe for use in amounts hundreds of times greater than maximum estimated intakes (Grotz, 2007). Clinical studies similarly show that sucralose is well tolerated as a placebo (Grotz, 2007).

The preponderance of research data doesn’t support the claim that sucralose is harmful or detrimental to weight loss, although, individual responses must always be considered.  In general, we don’t worry about adding a little Splenda to our food.

References are available upon request.

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