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Splenda is an artificial sweetener which contains the chemical sucralose and was discovered in 1976. Although Splenda is advertised as being devoid of calories, it actually contains 3.3 calories per packet. In comparison, table sugar contains 11 calories for the same amount. The calories in splenda are derived from the glucose and maltodextrin it contains.
In fact, splenda contains only 4-5 % sucralose by weight and very little of this molecule is even absorbed by humans.
Sucralose is made by substituting 3 atoms of hydrogen on the sucrose (table sugar) molecule with chlorine atoms. The sucralose molecule is a product which can be used as a sugar substitute and in cooking without any associated after taste.
Up until recently, splenda has been assumed to be very safe as its use in humans has not led to any significant adverse affects. The use of splenda has also been previously endorsed by the American Diabetes Association, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, WHO, Health Canada, FDA, The American Cancer Society and The National Cancer Institute have all given their approval for the use of this product.
However, until recently there has been NO published data which indicated that sucralose was potentially carcinogenic. It has been used for decades by millions of people without major incident. In contrast to other sweeteners such as aspartame, splenda has had a very successful period in the market place. The increased sales and continued growth in the use of this product has proven this trend.
The Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CFSPI) has recently placed splenda on its warning list of products. I have noticed that the media has taken this story and ran with it. I have also recently noticed that the web is full of warnings and articles regarding this product. I am surprised that the CFSPI has done the same!
The study which has caused all of this worry was completed in Italy by a scientist named Dr. Morando Soffritti who is the director of The Ramazzini Institute in Bologna Italy. The study involved the use of splenda which was given in various dosages to mice. In some of the male mice, there was a direct and dose-dependent relationship found between the amounts of sucralose eaten and the development of leukemia. Subsequently, Dr. Soffritti was also clear in his press release suggesting that children and pregnant women avoid sweeteners until more research could be conducted.
Not only was this press release highly suspicious in content but also in intent! Why was the study result provided in a press release before the data could be properly analysed, scrutinized and peer-reviewed? Why did the Centre for Science in the Public Interest target, report and place this product on their warning list?
What I can say here is that previous research published by Ramazzini Institute has received a great deal of criticism regarding its quality control, data analysis and experimental design. Criticism, from the European Food Safety Authority, the FDA and the US Environmental Protection Agency has indicated that there were previous issues pertaining to the lab and some of its experimental findings.
From a personal perspective, I have looked into the controversy regarding the use of sweeteners over the years and have found splenda to be very safe to use for humans. It has a very acceptable taste and baking or cooking does not negatively affect the flavour of the food.
I have also been personally using this product occasionally for years and will continue to do so until there is reliable, peer-reviewed and credible evidence indicating that I shouldn’t.
Dr. Kevin. J. McLaughlin
Clinical Director: The Vitality Project