Caution: Splenda Downgraded After Leukemia Found In Mice

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Splenda Downgraded After Leukemia Found In Mice
image – EatLocalGrown (with permission)

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has downgraded sucralose, the artificial sweetener better known by the brand name Splenda, in its document Chemical Cuisine – a highly detailed and thorough guide to artificial food additives.

The nonprofit food safety watchdog group had previously rated sucralose as “safe,” but is now placing it in the “caution” category pending a review of a controversial study by an independent Italian laboratory that found that the sweetener caused leukemia in mice.

The CSPI gives the artificial sweeteners saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium “avoid” ratings, the group’s lowest score. CSPI considers rebiana, a natural high-potency sweetener obtained from stevia, to be “safe,” though deserving of better testing.

Splenda is the commercial name and registered trademark of a sucralose-based artificial sweetener, [1] owned by the British company Tate & Lyle and American company Johnson & Johnson. Splenda is a world leader in the global artificial sweetener market, with over $200 million annually in sales in the USA. [1] It’s full chemical name is 1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-Β-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-α-D-galactopyranoside.

Sucralose is not a natural product. It is not cultivated or grown and it does not occur in nature. It is made by replacing three hydrogen-oxygen groups on sucrose (table sugar) molecules with three chlorine atoms. [2] To make Splenda, sucralose is mixed with dextrose and maltodextrin – but these other ingredients are listed as “generally recognized as safe.”

Further Scientific Studies Find Harmful Effects For Sucralose:

Some scientific studies have found harmful effects of sucralose. According to one study, Splenda “suppresses beneficial bacteria and directly affects the expression of the transporter P-gp and cytochrome P-450 isozymes that are known to interfere with the bioavailability of drugs and nutrients. Furthermore, these effects occur at Splenda doses that contain sucralose levels that are approved by the FDA for use in the food supply.” [3]

Marketing states that sucralose is “biologically inert” however a 2013 review published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health begs to differ, stating:

“Although early studies asserted that sucralose passes through the GIT [gastrointestinal tract] unchanged, subsequent analysis suggested that some of the ingested sweetener is metabolized in the GIT, as indicated by multiple peaks found in thin-layer radiochromatographic profiles of methanolic fecal extracts after oral sucralose administration. The identity and safety profile of these putative sucralose metabolites are not known at this time. Sucralose and one of its hydrolysis products were found to be mutagenic at elevated concentrations in several testing methods. Cooking with sucralose at high temperatures was reported to generate chloropropanols, a potentially toxic class of compounds. Both human and rodent studies demonstrated that sucralose may alter glucose, insulin, and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) levels. Taken together, these findings indicate that sucralose is not a biologically inert compound.” [4]

Dr. Mercola made an interesting video claiming that deceptive marketing practices are being used to promote splenda (and other artificial sweeteners) as health foods. Mercola claims that he was threatened with legal action by Johnson & Johnson over the contents of his 2005 book Sweet Deception, yet he published anyway and claimed that he was never sued as the information was all true.

Here’s the 14-minute video… He begins “Sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh at the absurd methods that are being employed by the food industry to deceive and manipulate you.”

And here’s the link to the full report on Splenda from Eat Local Grown: Splenda Downgraded After Leukemia Found In Mice.


[1] CSPI Downgrades Splenda From “Safe” to “Caution”. (2013).


[3] Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats. J Toxicol Environ Health (2008).

[4] Sucralose, A Synthetic Organochlorine Sweetener: Overview Of Biological Issues. J Toxicol Environ Health (2013).

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