A Complete Guide to Artificial Sweeteners

by Jackie Wicks

Sucralose Remains In Our System

The manufacturer of Splenda claims that very little sucralose gets absorbed into our bloodstream, and the amount that is absorbed is excreted through our urine. It’s easy to assume from this claim that there is a 100% recovery rate of sucralose, either through urine or feces, but this study found that total recovery rate for a normal dose of sucralose (1mg/kg) was 92.8% and for a high dose (10mg/kg) was 96.7%, which means that approximately 3.3% to 7.2% of the sucralose remained in the body after five days.

If you had Splenda once, chances are that the tiny amount to remain in your system caused no harm and was eventually excreted. However….

Splenda, and other sucralose-containing products aren’t marketed for one-time users, but for habitual users. Splenda is for people who want to cut sugar calories out of their sweet foods and drinks. Sucralose in small amounts occasionally is not likely to accumulate, but what happens when a small amount is ingested every day?

The FDA is quick to point out that there are over 100 studies attesting to the safety of sucralose for human consumption, but what you won’t find on that list are the studies which don’t attest to its safety. The subjects of the studies are also important to note; many of them are studies to determine whether sucralose causes tooth decay, which is hardly relevant to the potential toxicity of sucralose.

In reality, all it should take to cast doubt on the safety of a substance is one well-designed study which suggests it might not be safe. The scientific process isn’t rule by majority, it must be unanimous. One study might not be enough to throw a whole idea away, but it is enough to warrant further investigation.

Is Splenda Bad For You

Many more of the studies which found sucralose to be safe were designed to test the genotoxicity of sucralose, meaning they tested to see if sucralose acted upon our DNA. Sucralose, according to the studies, is not carcinogenic or genotoxic, but that doesn’t mean it is not toxic in any other regard. In fact, one study found that sucralose at levels of 500 mg/kg was hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic–it accumulated in amounts sufficient enough to cause lesions in the liver and the kidneys.

It’s important to note that 500 mg/kg is far more sucralose than a human would consume in a day, about 34g for a 150 pound adult (or 680 packets of Splenda), but if sucralose accumulates in the liver and kidneys, as this study demonstrates, then a similar effect could build from years of habitual use as opposed to occurring in one month, as happened in the study.

Another study points to evidence that Splenda changes the flora of our intestines and raises the pH of our poop. The study found that these changes occurred at doses between 1.1-11 mg/kg. This means that it is entirely reasonable that such a change could affect a person in the short term. 1.1 mg/kg is about 75 mg sucralose for a 150 pound adult, or 1.5 packs of Splenda a day.

Both the above studies used rats, and the FDA’s reaction is that rats do not serve as an adequate model of human digestive physiology. The interesting part, though, is that the FDA determined the safe intake level for sucralose based off studies done on rats. They found no observable effects in doses of 500 mg/kg in rats and gave it a “100-fold safety factor” by reducing the suggested maximum intake to 5 mg/kg per day. If you measure the safety of sucralose off how it affects rats, including their livers, kidneys, and intestines, then you cannot cry foul when another rat study finds issues with any of these organs.

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