Among its latest gimmicks is “fortified” Splenda. The sucralose-based artificial sweetener now has three new versions:
- Splenda Essentials with 1 gram of fiber
- Splenda Essentials with B vitamins
- Splenda Essentials with antioxidants
The manufacturer, McNeil Nutritionals, LLC (a division of Johnson & Johnson), claims that these new products are “three smart new ways to sweeten” your food and beverages. But while antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber are good for you, Splenda definitely isn’t, Dr. Mercola warns.
Fortifying Splenda is not McNeil Nutritionals’ first attempt to mislead consumers. For starters, sucralose is not a “zero calorie” artificial sweetener.
Since sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than sugar, the manufacturer wouldn’t be able to package it because each packet would only contain just a couple of grains. To solve the problem, maltodextrin a bulking agent made from sugar, is added. So in reality, 99 percent of Splenda is a type of sugar and only about one percent is sucralose, Dr. Mercola explains.
Each packet of Splenda contains four calories, but because the amount of sugar is less than a gram, Splenda can legally be marketed as “zero calorie” because of a loophole in the labeling law.
Sucralose is chemically produced when three chlorine molecules are added to one sucrose (sugar) molecule. Some natural foods also contain chloride, which is connected with easily dissociated ionic bonds, unlike sucralose, which has a covalent chloride bond. Since your body does not produce any enzymes to break down this chloride covalent bond, McNeil Nutritionals can claim that Splenda is non-caloric.
The Dangers of Splenda
Non-caloric foods are supposed to pass right through you, but this is not the case with sucralose. A 2009 animal study showed that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to previous claims. It also reduced the amount of beneficial intestinal bacteria by 50 percent, increased the intestinal pH level, and affected a glycoprotein that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you’re taking certain medications. (Link)
Only seven of the 15 published safety studies on Splenda were conducted on humans. Two of the human studies showed a clear and strong association between Splenda consumption and migraines. On the other hand, the animal studies revealed that sucralose may:
- Cause brain lesions
- Contribute to anemia by decreasing red blood cell count
- Enlarge and calcify kidneys
- Increase the death rate of rabbits by up to 23 percent
- Lead to male infertility
- Trigger spontaneous abortions in rabbits
Dr. Mercola has devoted a page on his website to publish the testimonials of consumers who experienced adverse side effects after consuming Splenda. Common symptoms usually reported within 24 hours after consuming Splenda include:
- Eyes – bloodshot, itchy, swollen, or watery eyes and swelling of the eyelids
- Head – headaches, migraines, and swelling of the face, lips, throat, or tongue
- Heart – fluttering or palpitations
- Joints – aches and pains
- Lungs – cough, tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing
- Neurological – anxiety, depression, dizziness, and decreased ability to concentrate
- Nose – sneezing and runny or stuffy nose
- Skin – blistering, crusting, eruptions, hives, itchiness, redness, swelling, and weeping
- Stomach – bloating, bloody diarrhea, diarrhea, gas, nausea, pain, and vomiting
The longest study on the safety of artificial sweeteners lasted only four days, so scientists don’t know exactly what the long-term consumption of Splenda and other non-caloric sweeteners can do to your health. This is why it’s best to take the precautionary approach and avoid consuming any type of artificial sweeteners, Dr. Mercola advises.