Informative: Sucralose (Splenda)- Good or Bad?

sucraloseThe concerns about sucralose (Splenda) are very reminiscent of the concerns about aspartame several years back, most of which were not based on even anecdotal evidence, but completely made up:

 

See aspartame made up story 1 and aspartame made up story 2

Sucralose was supposed to be better for the body because it was ‘made from sugar.’ Now, a number of people who consider themselves experts believe that stevia is better than sucralose ‘because it’s natural.’ Yes, stevia is *naturally derived* and might turn out to be better for the body than sucralose but it is still processed and my guess is I will be posting to address concerns about potential dangers of stevia in 5 or 10 years. The fact of the matter is we just don’t yet know whether there are any long-term effects of any of these nonnutritive sweeteners.

We do, however, know that there are immediate harmful effects of sugar overconsumption and obesity, which is why I personally continue to use these (even Splenda) in moderation. I love sweet things but I know that sweet things are usually high in calories and if I ingest too many calories I will get fat. Period. Therefore, I make the conscious decision to accept whatever risk may or may not be associated with artificial sweeteners to avoid becoming obese (which has clear health effects) because I refuse to stop eating the foods I love to eat. To this point, however, everyone needs to make their own decision.

I have been reading the studies connecting sucralose to ill effects and am personally not yet convinced because, to my knowledge, there have been no high-quality (randomized placebo-controlled trials) or long-term studies published. The ‘evidence’ raised to this point has been largely anecdotal and correlational at best. Let me be very clear- that does not mean that sucralose (or any other nonnutritive sweetener) is necessarily safe; it just means that, in my opinion, there is not yet compelling evidence to suggest that it is not. Please please let me know if you know of any scientific study that is not just correlational (eg, there is a relationship between drinking diet soda and obesity- no kidding, there is a relationship between dieting and obesity- doesn’t mean that dieting causes obesity- likely the opposite).

In sum, you should be suspicious of anyone who says that sucralose (or any other FDA-approved nonnutritive sweetener) definitely does or does not have any long term effects because that data simply does not exist. Anyone who says it does, clearly does not know how to properly interpret the scientific literature so I would be very hesitant to buy anything they were selling.

I welcome and will try to respond to comments. Stay tuned and stay healthy!

21 thoughts on “Informative: Sucralose (Splenda)- Good or Bad?

  1. I used to drink a diet soda made from Splenda, but I had to stop. For some reason, it was making my kidneys painful. It went away as soon as I stopped mainlining the soda. No other artificial sweetener has that effect on me. I’ve never felt that uncomfortable sensation before or since.

  2. I have to tell you I have been using splenda for the past two years. The last couple months I have been having stomach issues and others and have decided to use the process of alimination at this point I have to say that I believe splenda has been the culprit. feeling so much better

  3. glad your not using Splenda anymore. There is a great book called “Skinny Bitch” and it talks about chemicals that go into products and how they got past the FDA etc. Its a real eye opener about what we put in our mouths. You should read it…even if you are a guy :)

  4. Pingback: Nutrition Myths

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