Saturday, June 26, 2010

Splenda - The Bitter Truth

What is it?
Essentially, Splenda/sucralose is made by treating sugar with chlorine, creating a chlorinated hydrocarbon. It is many times sweeter than sugar and, unlike earlier sweeteners, can be used in baked goods since it doesn't deteriorate in high temperatures.
Because it is so intensely sweet, a teaspoon of Splenda would contain just a tiny amount of the actual sucralose powder. To bulk it up so that it can be used in the same quantity as sugar for recipes, they use a bulking agent.

Guess what the bulking agent is in Splenda? It's puffed-up corn syrup solids. Corn syrup is the sugar that gets into the blood stream faster than any other sugar, and it is a major culprit in sugar-induced diabetes.

Splenda (sucralose) is now found in more than 3,000 products, bringing huge financial rewards to Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals, which makes it.

You can find it in several places, ranging from baked goods to diet sodas and even on the counter at your local coffee shop. I was recently having coffee with some friends, when we overheard two ladies debating the use of Splenda sweetener as part of their nutritional regime. Apparently one of them had recently adopted a “points based” weight loss program that promoted use of artificial sweeteners. She argued that Splenda was a choice product because of its null caloric content and she claimed it was safe because it was an “all-natural” product. I frequently hear similar sentiments whenever I consult clients on their nutrition:

“It has no calories, so it will help me lose fat”

Not exactly, in fact it does the exact opposite. Several studies conducted in recent years have found that consumption of artificial sweeteners can actually contribute to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. Purdue University conducted a study that found that consumption of artificial sweetener actually led to greater weight gain than those who consumed regular sugar (Journal of Behavioral Neuroscience). While Splenda contains no calories it can still elicit the same insulinogenic response triggered by sugar. When a sweet-tasting substance hits your tongue, a physiological response triggers the pancreas to release insulin into the blood stream for the expected increase in blood sugar. Without the calories the body expects, you remain hungry and become predisposed to overeating at your next meal.

“It’s made from natural sugar so its better for you…right?”

Many natural organisms can kill you! As Robb Wolf would say; "Plutonium and arsenic are natural also, but it doesn't mean it's good for you!"
Splenda’s tag line is “Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar.” It’s very important to realize that Splenda (sucralose) is actually NOT sugar, despite its marketing slogan. Rather it’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, and with detrimental health effects to match.
Sucralose is manufactured from sucrose. Hydroxyl groups (OH) are replaced with chlorine atoms (Cl) changing the chemical structure so much that your body no longer recognizes it as food. Splenda has no calories because your body can’t digest the foreign substance.

Splenda usage can also result in a variety of other complications within the gastrointestinal tract. A comprehensive study conducted by Duke University found that “Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50%, increases the pH level in the intestines, contributes to increases in body weight and affects the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in the body in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected” (Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health). It’s truly disturbing that Splenda can destroy up to 50% of your healthy intestinal bacteria, as these bacteria help maintain your body's overall balance of friendly versus unfriendly micro-organisms, and support your general health. Many people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to choosing highly processed foods.

The belief that consuming artificially sweetened foods and drinks will help you to lose or maintain weight is a carefully orchestrated deception. So if you are still opting for diet choices for this reason, please understand that you have been sorely misled.

In reality, these diet foods and drinks can cause serious distortions in your biochemistry and ruin your body's ability to control calories. As a matter of fact, it’s been shown that diet soft drinks can double your risk of obesity!

Now, I am definitely not a fan of sugar, but if I had to choose between sugar and any artificial sweetener, I would choose sugar, hands down, without question. I strongly believe artificial sweeteners are even more dangerous to your health than an excess of sugar.
Read more on the potential negative effects on

Just something to consider the next time you reach for a diet soda or a cup of coffee.

Globe Newswire September 28, 2008
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A 2008;71(21):1415-29
Dr. Mercola
Calvin Sun


  1. Thanks for the research - I'm going home to throw out my splenda!

  2. Zoe -
    Good for you! Tell your friends and family to do the same! :)

  3. You're welcome, Jen! The Diet Soda post and this one.....go hand-in-hand! :)