In the last post we started discussing artificial sweeteners with a focus on aspartame. This post will focus on sucralose, also known as Splenda, and acesulfame K.
Splenda is a relatively new sweetener that has become very popular and is advertised as being “made from sugar.” What Splenda is, is a sugar molecule with three chlorine molecules attached to it. The attached chlorines, make Splenda too large for our bodies to break down properly, so we are unable to get any calories from it. Because Splenda is engineered so that it doesn’t break down, it travels through your digestive tract whole. The molecule is irritating to the digestive tract and can cause immune reactions and diarrhea among other discomforts. On the other hand, if the Splenda does break down, which inevitably some of it will, chlorine is released into your body which can cause health problems such as reduced growth rates, enlarged liver and kidneys and cancer. A lot more research and testing needs to be done on Splenda. There have only been SIX human trials to date with the sweetener and the longest one only lasted THREE months! Another concern with Splenda is that at least 15% of the sweetener is not excreted by the body in an appropriate time. Meaning it’s still in the body somewhere but we don’t know where it goes or what it does. Yikes!
Acesulfame K is another sweetener with very limited human studies. This sweetener contains methylene chloride which is a carcinogen. Methylene chloride can cause headaches, depression, nausea, mental confusion, liver effects, kidney effects, visual disturbances and cancer in humans. That is a pretty heavy list.
Even more concerning is the use of artificial sweetener blends containing multiple different kinds of sweeteners in one product. No research has been conducted on what effects these blends could have in our bodies and there’s no way to tell how these compounds will react with one another. Time and money would be well spent in further research of these sweeteners. Until that research has been conducted it might be a good idea to steer clear of artificial sweeteners.
What are your thoughts are artificial sweeteners? Do you use them? Avoid them? Keep an eye out for our concluding post about why these sweeteners cause weight gain and some great alternatives to artificial sweeteners.