The makers of Splenda, McNeil Nutritionals, would like us to believe that it is the perfect sugar substitute; as sweet as sugar, but contains no calories, does not create a surge in insulin and offers no long-term side effects or long-term health damage. If only this were true. Splenda, (sucralose), has more in common with DDT than with food. The bonds holding the carbon and chlorine atoms together are more characteristic of a chlorocarbon than a salt — and most pesticides are chlorocarbons. Splenda is the trade name for sucralose; a synthetic compound stumbled upon in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. Sounds delicious, right? It is true that the Splenda molecule is comprised of sucrose (sugar) — except that three of the hydroxyl groups in the molecule have been replaced by three chlorine atoms. Supporters of Splenda claim that just because something contains chlorine doesn’t mean that it’s toxic. But chlorine is toxic. Chlorine is linked to cancer of the esophagus, rectum, breast and larynx, of Hodgkin’s disease and to atherosclerosis and resulting heart attacks.
Why would the FDA allow a product with proven carcinogens to flood our food supply? Our current regulatory system doesn’t do a good enough job ensuring our long-term safety. The FDA claims Splenda is safe because “it is made from sugar.” Sucralose starts off with a sugar molecule, but that's where the similarity ends. Splenda is not a natural sugar; it is a chemically derived, chlorinated artificial sweetener.
A study published in 2008 found that Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent, and increases the pH level in your intestines. It's very disturbing that Splenda can destroy healthy intestinal bacteria as these bacteria are absolutely vital for supporting your general health. 80% of your immune system is located inside your digestive tract, which means that your digestive tract is the most important factor in your health. It has been estimated that 90% of all chronic symptoms and chronic conditions are caused in part by poor or declining gut health. What’s even more disturbing is that these studies were done in 2008 and yet Splenda is still considered safe.
However, it gets worse. Splenda also affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you are taking certain medications like chemotherapy or are in treatment for AIDS. Moreover, studies done using animals have found the following issues:
• Decreased red blood cells—sign of anemia
• Increased male infertility by interfering with sperm production and vitality
• Brain lesions at high doses
• Enlarged and calcified kidneys
• 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
FDA, are you sleeping? It’s been almost 30 years since aspartame hit the market. The FDA needs to ban Splenda and other artificial sweeteners. They have the power to prevent damage to human health sooner than with NutraSweet, which has damaged the health and the lives of millions of innocent consumers since it was placed in the public food supply in 1982, but when will they catch on? In the meantime, knowledge is power. As an educated consumer, you have the awareness to choose what you and your family will ingest. Artificial sweeteners may affect your health, so why take the chance? Organic agave syrup or Stevia are much better alternatives.
Elyn Jacobs is President of Elyn Jacobs Consulting, Inc. and a breast cancer survivor. She helps women diagnosed with cancer to navigate the process of treatment and care, and she educates about how to prevent recurrence and new cancers. She is passionate about helping others get past their cancer and into a cancer-free life.
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