By: Dontré Conerly
Syracuse, NY—Now the #1 artificial sweetener on the market, Splenda is advertised as a low-calorie sweetener, perfect for diabetics, dieters, and the health-conscious, but limited human clinical trials reject the claim and recent studies warn of several adverse side effects, including nausea, vomiting, headaches, and gastro-intestinal issues.
To make its claim that it is a no-calorie sweetener, Splenda’s marketing hinges on the fact that in animal trials the sweetener passes through the body undigested; therefore, it adds no calories or carbohydrates. However, in animal trials and the short-term human trials (none longer than six months), the sweetener was absorbed 15% of the time, causing the side effects listed above. This absorption loophole is also the crux upon which the sweetener was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
First discovered by scientists looking to make a new pesticide, Splenda is a man-made artificial sweetener that starts from sugar, but is altered by the addition of chlorine molecules to its chemical make-up. Its properties are changed from sucrose (a natural sugar) to sucralose, a potentially dangerous substance.
Syracuse University junior, Malisa Gobuty, relies on Spenda to help maintain her weight. She uses the sweetener in her beverage, on many foods, and cooks with it. It’s this long-term, heavy usage that concerns many, who say that extended usage can cause harm. But, for Gobuty, it’s about maintaining her health and figure.
“They say cell phones will kill you,” she quips. “For me, it’s about monitoring my calorie intake
Registered nutritionist and dietitian at Natur-Tyme in East Syracuse, Laurel Sterling Prisco, warns against using Splenda as a weight-loss supplement in one’s diet.
“When something is rejected by the body, like Splenda,” she says, “it can get stored in the fat cells.” This ironic protection by the body can actually work against dieters. “It gunks up fat cells [where we store toxins] and can keep them from shrinking when you’re trying to lose weight,” she says.
There have been many calls for Splenda to be removed from the market. Chief amongst its opponents is Dr. Mercola, who not only believes Splenda should be pulled from the market, but believes the FDA does not take enough of a role in ensuring the safety of food it approves. In his book, Sweet Deception: Why Splenda®, Nutrasweet®, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health, Mercola claims to have done independent research to prove the dangerous side effects of Splenda and other sweeteners.
If his claims are true, his research would be amongst the longest human trials of the sweetener.
Splenda’s manufacturer, McNeil Nutritionals, denies the allegations that Splenda has any negative side effects and has put up a page on its site to quell the fears. They maintain that Splenda is 100% safe.