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Is Splenda really a safer alternative than sugar?

It can be difficult to enjoy a good cup of coffee without that extra sweet kick. Many people pass on the sugar, given its less-than-desirable nutritional reputation. A popular alternative is sucralose, better known by its marketed brand name as Splenda. Despite the fact that sucralose is approved by the FDA as an artificial sweetener, some research suggests it may pose some health hazards.

Some studies suggest Splenda may not be as safe to consume as previously thought
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Both children and adults consume artificially sweetened foods and beverages. In fact, dietary surveys sponsored by the government imply that at least 12% of children and 24% of adults consume artificially sweetened beverages regularly. Much remains unknown about artificial sweeteners such as sucralose because it has not been extensively tested in humans. For this reason, it is thought to be particularly harmful in children.

The American Heart Association has stated that replacing highly ‘sugarized’ foods with artificial sweeteners is a good way to reduce caloric intake. However, it is still unclear if this dietary modification actually guarantees weight loss.

The following are some astonishing research findings regarding sucralose intake:

* According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Italian researchers found that sucralose produced leukemia in mice
* A 2008 Duke University study indicated that sucralose may possibly hinder the metabolism of certain medications
* Moderate to high amounts of dietary sucralose can lower levels of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract, leading to gastrointestinal illnesses
* A study involving 17 obese participants found that sucralose caused a bigger spike in blood sugar when the participants consumed it prior to drinking a sugary beverage

It is important to mention that many of these studies were conducted on animals. It is still debatable if these same health risks can affect humans in the same way. More research is needed to confirm these findings.

In the aftermath of the Italian study suggesting sucralose may have caused leukemia in lab mice, the CSPI lowered its safety rating of sucralose to ‘caution.’ It previously rated it as ‘safe.’

While the jury is still out on the safety of sucralose usage, experiment with some of these natural sweeteners:


Always keep in mind that anything that is artificially produced is essentially unhealthy for the body. The internal damage it can cause can only be discovered with extensive scientific testing. In the meantime try to use sucralose sparingly.

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