If you own a television or have walked down the baking aisle of your local grocery store, you are probably familiar with Splenda’s ad slogan, “Made from sugar, so it tastes sugar.” This catchy little jingle has led many consumers to assume that Splenda—or sucralose—is a more natural alternative to sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharine, making it a healthier option as well. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of “Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, NutraSweet, and the FDA may be Hazardous to your Health,” the sucralose found in Splenda is NOT sugar, but rather a chlorinated artificial sweetener constructed in a lab by combining three chlorine molecules with one sucrose molecule to create a decidedly unnatural fructo-galactose molecule that can wreak havoc on your health.

While the FDA approved sucralose for general human consumption in 2006, only two of the 110 cited studies actually involved human consumption, for a grand total of 36 human test subjects. Meanwhile, Splenda consumers continue to complain of headaches, migraines, dizziness, blurred vision, seizures, blood sugar spikes, and even—God forbid—weight gain, and there is evidence to support Dr. Mercola’s claim that the ramifications of long-term consumption are more severe. According to a study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, sucralose reduces the amount of good intestinal bacteria by as much as 50 percent, while increasing intestinal PH and thus impeding digestion and nutrient absorption. In addition, sucralose impairs the body’s ability to produce glycoproteins essential for the absorption of various medications—to include cancer, heart, and Lyme disease meds.

The take-away message is clear; despite FDA approval, Splenda has NOT been proven safe for human consumption, and should be avoided whenever possible. The problem is that sucralose hides in many manufactured food products, and particularly in reduced-sugar products. As a result, you may not always know when you are consuming sucralose, or in what quantity. My advice is to read your labels, look for products sweetened with stevia—more on this later—as opposed to sucralose, and by all means refrain from dumping a spoonful of Splenda into your coffee or morning bowl of Cheerios. If you’re in a pinch, choose a product that lists another sweetener BEFORE sucralose on the product label, as ingredients are typically listed in order by quantity, and products contain more of those ingredients listed sooner rather than later.