Sucralose (sold under the brand names Splenda, Splenda Zero, Zero-Cal, Sukrana, Apriva, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren and Nevella, to name a few) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998 as a tabletop sweetener and for use in products such as baked goods, nonalcoholic beverages, chewing gum, frozen dairy desserts, fruit juices and gelatins. It is also permitted as a general-purpose sweetener for all processed foods.
In the European Union, sucralose is known under the additive code E955. However, this artificial sweetener, like aspartame before it, was approved based on extremely limited evidence of safety, and studies published in the years since it was brought to market confirms early suspicions, showing it is not an inert substance after all; that it accumulates in body fat, disrupts your gut microbiome, and causes metabolic dysregulation and associated health problems.
The FDA claims it approved sucralose after reviewing more than 110 animal and human safety studies. What they don't tell you is that of these 110 studies, only two human trials were actually published before the FDA approved sucralose for human consumption.
These two human trials had a grand total of 36 subjects, only 23 of whom were actually given sucralose, and the longest lasted just four days and looked at sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human tolerance.1
What's more, the absorption of sucralose into the human body was studied on a grand total of six men. Based on that study,2 the FDA allowed the findings to be generalized as being representative of the entire human population, including women, children, the elderly and those with any chronic illness — none of whom was ever examined.
These studies are hardly indicative of what might happen to someone consuming sucralose in multiple products every single day for years or a lifetime. Some of the animal studies also raised questions about the product's safety, showing:3
- Decreased red blood cells (a sign of anemia) at levels above 1,500 mg/kg/day
- Increased male infertility by interfering with sperm production and vitality, as well as brain lesions at higher doses
- Spontaneous abortions in nearly half the rabbit population given sucralose, compared to zero aborted pregnancies in the control group
- A 23 percent death rate in rabbits, compared to a 6 percent death rate in the control group
I knew the approval of sucralose was a serious mistake, which is why I wrote "Sweet Deception" in 2006, despite the fact Johnson & Johnson threatened to sue me if the book went to publication. Since then, many new studies have confirmed my warnings, showing artificial sweeteners confuse your metabolism and cause biochemical distortions that can result in weight gain, metabolic dysfunction and other health problems.
Sucralose has been found to be particularly damaging to your gut. Research4 published in 2008 found it reduces gut bacteria by 50 percent, preferentially targeting bacteria known to have important human health benefits. Consuming as few as seven little Splenda packets may be enough to have a detrimental effect on your gut microbiome.
The study also found it increases the pH level in your intestines, and is absorbed into and accumulates in fat tissue. In response to this study, James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health, issued the following statement:5
"The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda, and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."