June 6, 2023 | 3:00 p.m
The sucralose in Splenda has been linked to many health problems.
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America’s favorite artificial sweetener may have some serious health problems, including damage to DNA.
Splenda is the brand name for sucralose, often added to diet sodas, baked goods, gums, gelatin, and frozen desserts.
It is also found in over-the-counter products such as Tylenol, Pepcid, and cold and flu medications.
Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar and is the best-selling artificial sweetener in the U.S., with sales nearly double that of its closest competitor, Sweet ‘N Low.
But sucralose has been found to be genotoxic, meaning it breaks DNA in chromosomes and can lead to cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.
In the human body, sucralose is broken down into a compound called sucralose-6-acetate, which damages the intestinal lining.
“Other studies have found that sucralose has a negative effect on gut health, so we wanted to see what might be happening there,” said Susan Schiffman, Ph.D., study author and assistant professor at North Carolina State University.
What they found was shocking: “Sucralose-6-acetate significantly increased the expression of genes associated with inflammation, oxidative stress and cancer,” the authors of the study wrote.
“Our in vitro studies used human tissue, so the findings are directly relevant to the human body,” said Dr. Schiffman.
The new study adds to previous research showing that sucralose and sucralose-6-acetate can cause damage to the gut.
“When we exposed sucralose and sucralose-6-acetate to intestinal epithelial tissue—the tissue that lines your gut wall—we found that both chemicals created a ‘leaky gut,'” Dr. Shiffman said.
“Essentially, they make the stomach wall more permeable. Leaky gut is problematic because it means things that are normally passed out of the body in the stool are coming out of the bowels and into the bloodstream,” Dr. Schiffman added.
“Independent scientific studies show that ingesting sucralose can damage the intestinal cell lining and cause irritable bowel syndrome,” Dr. Shiffman told Newsweek.
Artificial sweeteners, however, ensure that their products are safe.
“Sucralose has undergone one of the most extensive and thorough testing programs of any food additive in history, leading to consensus on its safety throughout the international scientific and regulatory community,” a representative of the International Sweetener Association told Newsweek.
Some health experts also question the significance of the new study.
Dr. John Damianos, a hospital resident at Yale School of Medicine, said: “The findings may be suggestive of findings that merit further study, but they do not demonstrate the health effects of occasional or infrequent consumption of sucralose-sweetened foods and beverages. Medical News Today.
However, artificial sweeteners have been under scrutiny for years, and several studies have linked the products to health risks.
A 2020 study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that sucralose combined with carbohydrates (such as those found in baked goods) can quickly send a healthy person into high blood sugar, The Washington Post reported.
And in May, the World Health Organization recommended that artificial sweeteners like Splenda not be used for weight control.
Using artificial sweeteners “does not provide a long-term benefit in reducing body fat in either adults or children” and “may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and death in adults,” according to World Health Organization news. Release.
Considering the dangers of all added sweeteners — artificial and natural — Dr. Damianos encourages people to consider healthier, low- or no-sugar options.
“Switch to seltzer water instead of soda or diet soda,” advises Dr. Damianos.