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The Bitter Truth You Need to Know About Sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda)

A sugar substitute that’s hiding in hundreds of packaged foods can cause leukemia!

Sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda) hit the market just over 15 years ago with an ad campaign that made it sound as natural as sunlight and daffodils.

“Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar,” it said.

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, it must’ve sounded like the perfect replacement for sugar. By most accounts, it tasted better than its predecessors, aspartame and saccharine—and, as far as anyone knew, it didn’t have that long list of health risks associated with it, either. Yes, it sounded perfect all right... a little too perfect.

And now, the bitter truth has finally come out: Sucralose might TASTE sweet, but what it can do to your body is anything but.

This cancer-causing ingredient is creeping its way into your diet

New research on mice once again links this sugar substitute to leukemia, with male mice in particular facing a higher risk of the disease.

And the more sucralose in the diet, the higher the risk.

According to the research published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health,1 the mice were given extremely high levels of sucralose. At times, they were high enough to equal what a human drinking 10 cans of diet soda per day would be exposed to.

Now, most folks wouldn’t be able to drink that much sucralose in a day, but don’t take too much comfort in that. Something toxic at a high dose is usually pretty bad for you at a lower one, too—even if it’s not quite AS bad.

And with the growing number of other food products that are substituting sugar with Splenda, your daily intake of the stuff may be growing, too—in some cases, without you even knowing it.

And this is hardly the only time that cancer concerns have been raised.

That yellow packet is no safer than the blue or the pink ones

In the wake of previous studies that found sucralose can cause leukemia and other forms of blood cancer in mice, the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, which originally declared it “safe,” downgraded the fake sugar to “caution” in 2013.2

Now, the agency is urging consumers to avoid it altogether3—the same advice it gives for aspartame (brand name Equal), saccharin (Sweet’N Low), and acesulfame potassium (Sweet One), all of which have been linked to everything from migraines and cancer to DEATH.

And another study on both mice and humans found that ANY type of artificial sweetener at all can permanently alter the delicate balance of bacteria in your gut...and NOT in a good way. Folks who drink diet sodas have lower levels of helpful Clostridiales bacteria and higher levels of dangerous Bacteroides.4

We see similar changes in diabetics. The sad truth is that few sugar substitutes are safe. Diet sodas, the main source of those fake sugars, have even been linked to some of the very conditions people who drink them are trying to avoid: weight gain and diabetes.5

If you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, instead try xylitol. It’s a sugar alcohol that has proven dental benefits and can be found in commercially-available, aspartame-free toothpastes, mouthwashes, and even chewing gums.

You can also try lo han, which is an extract from a sweet fruit of Siraitia grosvenorii, a plant found in China and Thailand. You may see it listed on the ingredient lists of packaged foods as “monk fruit,” but it’s also available on its own. If you do try it, use it sparingly—it’s 300 times sweeter than regular white sugar.

1. Soffritti, M., Padovani, M., Tibaldi, E., Falcioni, L., Manservisi, F., Lauriola, M., ... & Belpoggi, F. (2016). Sucralose administered in feed, beginning prenatally through lifespan, induces hematopoietic neoplasias in male swiss mice. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. 0773525.2015.1106075#.VwKV9vkrI2w
2. CSPI Downgrades Splenda From “Safe” to “Caution”
3. CSPI Downgrades Sucralose from “Caution” to “Avoid”
4. Suez, J., Korem, T., Zeevi, D., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Thaiss, C. A., Maza, O., ... & Kuperman, Y. (2014). Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature, 514(7521), 181-186.
5. Burke, M. V., & Small, D. M. (2015). Physiological mechanisms by which non-nutritive sweeteners may impact body weight and metabolism. Physiology & behavior, 152, 381-388. www.neuro.fsu. edu/~dfadool/Burke_Small_2015.pdf