Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Often, when I sit in a restaurant and see people sweetening their drinks with Splenda, as well as the other artificial sweeteners in the container, I wish I could figure out how to warn them away from these toxins. Obviously, I can’t just go over to their table and tell them, but it really bothers me, especially when they give these to children or when a pregnant woman is using them.

Today I want to focus on Splenda. This is the second blog on the dangers of artificial sweeteners.

Splenda, which is made from Sucralose, dextrose and maltodextrin, is a highly processed, low calorie, chemical sweetener manufactured with chlorine in a factory in McIntosh, Alabama, in a process that releases a known toxin, cyclohexane into the environment.

Health problems than can be caused by exposure to cyclohexane, include but are not limited to: coma; encephalopathy; liver abnormalities; chronic “painter’s syndrome; psycho-organic solvent syndrome; organic solvent dementia; difficulty concentrating; dementia; memory loss; mood disturbance; arrhythmia; confusion; dermatitis; dizziness; fatigue; headache; in-coordination; inebriation; irritability; lethargy; impaired speech and stupor and ecological effects such as fish die-off. These are just the health hazards caused by the manufacturing process. I feel sorry for the people who have to work in or live near the factory.

One claim that they make is that Splenda is “Suitable for people with diabetes”. This is false and misleading. The only evidence for the safety of Splenda for people with diabetes lies in the manufacturers claims, not in clinical studies.

Splenda also includes dextrose and maltodextrin. For most of us that may not pose a problem, but since pregnant women who have a genetic trait for galactosemia are at risk for having a baby with galactosemia, there should be a warning—similar to the PKU warning required for aspartame—that Splenda contains a galactose monosaccharide which can cause glactosemia.

The manufacturers would have you believe that Splenda is somehow more of a natural sweetener because is “made from sugar”. Well….sort of. It starts out with a molecule of sugar, and then, three parts of the molecule, three hydroxyl groups (atoms composed of hydrogen and oxygen) are selectively removed and replaced with three atoms of chlorine. I’m not kidding! Chlorine. By the time the process is finished, what once was a real sugar molecule has become a chloro-carbon. Are you certain you want those in your body?

Chloro-carbons bear no resemblance whatsoever to any natural substances. A few of their more well known family members include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride— chemical agents that have absolutely no place in a healthy, human diet. Chlorine, all by itself is a component of a number of insecticides, bleach and bleach-based products, as well as household and commercial disinfectants. Some of the more famous members of this group include DDT, Chlorodane and Lindane.

“There were potential public health concerns regarding sucralose that were dismissed by the FDA when they first approved this synthetic additive,” said Jim Turner, Esq. chairman of the board of Citizens for Health. “People should also know, however, that there has not been a single human clinical study on the finished product, Splenda.”

Consumers have been reporting health effects that range from skin rashes, to headaches, to severe gastrointestinal problems.

“The sheer number of complaints on the Internet warrants an investigation,” said Turner. “Most of the testing on the safety of sucralose was conducted by the manufacturer, McNeil Nutritionals.

With the number of complaints filed, why hasn’t the FDA called a Public Hearing so that consumers can be heard?

We need to make our voices heard and call for a mandate that the FDA stop protecting manufacturers and get on with their original mandate to protect consumers.

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