An artificial sweetener made from sucrose (sugar) and chlorine molecules. It is often mixed with a bulking agent such as maltodextrin or dextrose to give it the granularity and appearance of table sugar. The most common brand name is Splenda. It is over 500 times sweeter than sugar and does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels. It is extremely common in processed foods and is marketed as diet friendly, "sugar-free" and "safe for diabetics."
Foods marked, "made with Splenda" are becoming increasingly common. Splenda is heat stable and can be used as a sugar substitute in baking. When consumed, the majority of sucralose is not broken down or absorbed by the body. It does not cause cavities. While many studies have been conducted on this sweetener, no large studies have been done on the long-term effects of sucralose.
baked goods, beverages, juice, soda, ice cream, Splenda packets in restaurants, processed foods
Possible Health Effects
A recent study from Duke University (also see researcher notes below) found that the consumption of Splenda in rats over a 12-week period caused "numerous adverse effects" including: a 50% reduction in beneficial bacteria in intestines, increased pH levels of intestines, and increases in body weight. In addition, it affects the P-glycoprotein in the body in such a way that prescription drugs could be rejected instead of absorbed as they were intended.
It is important to note that Duke University study cited in this research was Funded by the Sugar Association. This presents an interesting conflict of interest since the sugar association benefits from data finding Splenda and other non-sugar sweeteners harmful. However, due to the serious nature of the findings, we kept sucralose as a "D" rating. As additional studies are conducted, we will review and determine if a grade change is warranted.
Copyright September 12, 2010 Be Food Smart, Updated April 27, 2011
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