Is sucralose safe?

Tuesday, 16 May, 2017

Research at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on sucralose — the sweetening ingredient in the original SPLENDA Sweeteners — concludes it to be safe. The decision published as an open access scientific opinion in EFSA Journal, addresses allegations made by the Ramazzini Institute, regarding their study in mice. EFSA concluded that “the available data did not support the conclusions of the authors”.

Is this the end of the debate? Probably not.

According to the FDA, the average person can consume approximately 23 servings of Splenda each day (1 serving = 1 tabletop sweetening packet) — this is a pretty huge amount.

The high-intensity sweetener is around is 600 times sweeter than sugar, claimed to be stable to 230°C so able to be used in baked goods, and has always been considered to be biologically inert.

However, a recent article in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health claimed that some of the ingested sweetener is metabolised. In another study there were indications that sucralose might alter glucose and insulin levels in the blood — also challenging the idea that the compound is inert.

Other studies currently underway include investigating whether ingested sucralose alters intestinal microbe levels and if sucralose produces toxic compounds called chloropropanols when used in cooking.

All of this conjecture needs to be put into context — the FDA approved Splenda in 1999 and has not changed this ruling since.

So if any of the recent adverse claims are correct we are realistically looking at very small effects epidemiologically.

Maybe the final advice should be to proceed with caution.

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