Sunday, June 24, 2012

the case against sucralose

addendum (11/18/12):

I was looking up something on the site, and happened upon this mention: ... which of course inspired me to figure out how much canned soda the SMALLEST test quantity (100 mg/kg) would represent.  At 70 mg (approx. from info on a website about sucralose) per can, and my present weight of 145, that would mean i'd have to swill NINETY-FOUR cans of Diet Rite before i'd reach the experimental minimum.

On a "wild" day at home, i may drink two -- most days it's not any.  On the highway, it may be more -- perhaps as many as five.  I don't think i'll worry about upsetting my gut flora very much for awhile....


...Actually, i have yet to see ANY real evidence that sucralose is problematic.

I tuned in to Jimmy Moore's "Ask the Low-Carb Experts" even though i dislike listening to podcasts/radio-shows, because he had a guest whom he'd announced as being an authority on sweeteners.  And what did he say about Splenda, beyond the stuff i'd heard before?  Nothing.

Detractors like to report that the lab-rats who invented the stuff were actually researching things that might be good pesticides -- it's said that sucralose is manufactured "just like a pesticide," whatever that is supposed to mean.  They also talk about the CHLORINE in it (oooooh!).  Jimmy's guest referred to sucralose as a toxin but didn't go into details about what it's supposed to do, or how.  Sorry, but that just isn't good enough;  "guilt by association" isn't enough to convict in a courtroom, either.

A lot of things are invented/discovered when people are looking for something else entirely; i don't consider that a good reason to find fault with this sweetener.  "Oh -- this isn't the Indies!" thinks Columbus, "let's just pretend we never found land at all, and keep looking!"  (A lot of people would have been happier if he HAD done this, but he didn't, for obvious reasons.)

And as for demonizing chlorine...???  Last time i looked, chlorine is a very important element in the body, though i'm not knowledgeable enough in physiology to insist that it's only the ion that's essential.  Yes, yes,  i know that chlorine GAS is remarkably nasty stuff....  ;-)  Without enough Cl in the body in the form of NaCl and HCl though, we are in TROUBLE.  You'd have to show me that THIS chlorinated molecule is a bad one in reasonable trials before i'll get excited about it.

For the record, in discussing aspartame, Jimmy's guest insists (more than once) that the evidence against THAT is well-proven in controlled trials, but he doesn't get nearly as specific in describing the ill-effects of sucralose.  He drops the T-word and changes the subject.

There has been a small amount of anecdotal evidence that people CAN have trouble with Splenda-sweetened foods, but beside the number of people who have trouble with aspartame, they're few indeed.  When i did the elimination diet back in January, i gave up all sweeteners, natural and otherwise.  At the end of the month i added sucralose back in the same way i did rice, dairy, alcohol and other things, and i perceived NO effect (except that it just didn't taste that good).  So until there's a lot more solid data, i'll continue to use the stuff in the negligible quantities i'm accustomed to.


  1. When I started listening to the podcast Jimmy said his guest was a naturopath, so I said to myself, "He won't like any artificial stuff".

    My experience with sucralose is headaches. After giving it up, it now gives me a headache whenever I try to use it again. It's not for me I guess. I miss the almond flour cookies I used to make with it. The bright side - it keeps me eating real foods!

  2. ah, interesting -- thank you for sharing your experience! i thought it was a little ironic that the man criticized some "foods" because they weren't natural, then turned around and criticized others even though they WERE. :-)

    i have to disagree with him about maple syrup/sugar and sugar cane, too. native americans have been making the former for heaven-knows-how-long, and apparently the latter has been in use quite awhile too. you just have to cut the cane and enjoy what's inside, i believe.... but like fruit and honey, it's not something that could be enjoyed all the time.

  3. Im losing well drinking my soda stream diet drinks, tea and carb free desserts with splenda. Whatever the risks, I'd rather not weigh 400lbs and I do need some sweet flavor everyday. Great post.

  4. thank you, KK! i too enjoy sweet things occasionally, and sucralose works better in cocktails (as well as my favorite ice-cream recipe) than anything else. this is SUMMER (here), too -- i'm afraid i behave like a kid and want popsicles and rootbeer at this time of year. :-D

  5. The word natural is completely meaningless. Everything is natural. Nature includes everything. It’s not just trees and flowers and the northern spotted owl. It’s everything in the universe. Untreated raw sewage, polyester, toxic chemical waste, used bandages, monkey shit. It’s all perfectly natural. It’s just not real good food.

    George Carlin from "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops"

    1. :-) well, much as i enjoy Carlin, i'd have to disagree with his definition -- if it doesn't occur in Nature without our tinkering, i wouldn't call it "natural." but yeah -- being "natural" is no definer of "goodness."