The Splenda Controversy
The sugar industry in the United States have filed formal complaints with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regarding what they believe to be false claims about Splenda by its manufacturers. Sugar producers specifically cite Splenda’s slogal – “made from sugar so it tastes like sugar” – as deceptive and misleading, countering with the fact that Splenda is not a natural product and is not grown or cultivated as a natural product would be. McNeil Nutrionals have responded to this claim by stating that its “advertising represents the products in an accurate and informative manner and complies with applicable advertising rules in the countries where Splenda brand products are marketed.”
The U.S. Sugar Association launched a website to air their criticism of sucralose and Splenda, citing three key points that it believes are critical to their stance on the dangers of Splenda:
- Suralose (Splenda®) is a chlorocarbon.
- No long-term studies of any kind have been performed on sucralose (Splenda®).
- As much as a quarter of consumed Splenda is absorbed by the body’s digestive system.
It’s also important to note that the leading seller of organic/natural foods with outlets throughout North America and Europe have made an official decision not to carry any sucralose or Splenda products of any kind. Their decision stemmed from these five reasons:
- Splenda is an artificial substance which may be absorbed by the human body.
- No long term studies have proven sucralose/Splenda’s safety.
- The studies that have been performed have not been sufficiently controlled in humans.
- Some test have indicated the potential for toxicity or poisoning.
- Sucralose/Splenda is a chlorocarbon (chlorinated compound).
One consumer advocacy group, Citizens for Health, has petitioned the FDA, to suspend its approval of Splenda until independent, long term studies can confirm its safety.
Splenda Side Effects – Is Splenda Safe?
The primary reason why Splenda is an effective dietary aid is that the salt in sucralose is chlorinated, meaning the human body doesn’t recognize it as a carbohydrate and thus passes it with little to no absorption. Or so the manufacturer claims. In fact the Food and Drug Administration and the Japanese Food Sanitation Council have reported findings of up to 40% absorption. Further, this absorption appears to concentrate in the liver, kidneys, and digestive tract – a likely reason why one side effect of Splenda includes enlarged liver and kidneys. What sucralose or Splenda is absorbed is digested into small chlorocarbons within the human body – chemicals which also have not been sufficiently tested in humans.
Effects of Splenda on the Environment
One final concern of Splenda is its potential effect on the global environment. Once digested, roughly 50% of Splenda passes through the body completely unchanged. Again, no short or long term studies have been done on Splenda’s breakdown in water treatment plants once it is dumped back into the environment. Because the FDA deemed sucralose safe for human consumption, this verdict rendered further study of Splenda effects on the environment virually nonexistent.