By Dr. Mercola
Avoiding Artificial Sweeteners? This Study Will Surprise You…
For those of you who are aware of the health dangers posed by artificial sweeteners and dutifully avoid them, the featured study findings may come as a shocking surprise…
Researchers have found that the artificial sweetener sucralose (Splenda) is a widespread contaminant in waste water, surface water, and ground water. In a recent test, water samples from 19 U.S. drinking water treatment plants serving more than 28 million people were analyzed for sucralose. The sweetener was found to be present in:
The source water of 15 out of 19 of drinking water treatment plants tested
The finished water of 13 out of 17 plants, and
In 8 out of 12 water distribution systems
The average amounts of sucralose in source water and finished water was 440 ng/L and 350 ng/L respectively.
According to the study:
“Further, in the subset of [drinking water treatment plants] with distribution system water sampled, the compound was found to persist regardless of the presence of residual chlorine or chloramines … The results of this study confirm that sucralose [is] an indicator compound … for the presence of other recalcitrant compounds in finished drinking water”.
Recalcitrant compounds are organic or synthetic compounds that resist being broken down by chemical processes, such as those employed by water treatment facilities. This is troublesome, particularly as sucralose can be quite detrimental to human health, and the contamination appears to be very widespread in US water supplies.
Sucralose Destroys Healthy Bacteria
Three years ago, an animal study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health reported that sucralose:
Reduced the amount of good bacteria in the animals’ intestines by 50 percent
Increased the pH level in the intestines
Contributed to increases in body weight, and
Affected P-glycoprotein (P-gp) levels in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected. In terms of human health, this P-gp effect could result in medications used in chemotherapy, AIDS treatment and treatments for heart conditions being shunted back into your intestines, rather than being absorbed
Is absorbed by fat cells (contrary to previous claims)
The fact that Splenda can destroy up to 50 percent of your healthy intestinal bacteria is truly disturbing as these help maintain your body’s overall balance of friendly versus unfriendly micro-organisms, and support your overall immunity and general health. Many people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to choosing highly processed foods, which is why a high-quality probiotic is one of the very few supplements I recommend for nearly everyone. And now we discover that this artificial sweetener also contaminates a majority of US municipal water supplies as well…
Splenda has NEVER Been Proven Safe for Human Consumption
Did you know that only two human trials on sucralose were completed and published prior to the FDA approving Splenda for human consumption? And these two trials included a total of 36 human subjects. Worse yet, the longest running trial lasted only four days, and looked at sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human tolerance. As for determining the absorption of Splenda into the human body, a mere eight men were studied. Based on that singular human study, the FDA allowed the findings to be generalized as being representative of and regarded as “safe” for the entire human population!
This is a potentially devastating mistake, as some groups are far more susceptible to adverse effects than others, such as infants, the elderly, and the chronically ill.
You’ve probably heard the claims that the FDA has reviewed over 100 studies on Splenda and are satisfied that it’s a safe product, but what you don’t hear is that most of those studies were on animals, and that they actually revealed plenty of problems! For example, some of these studies revealed:
Decreased red blood cells — sign of anemia — at levels above 1,500 mg/kg/day
Increased male infertility by interfering with sperm production and vitality, as well as brain lesions at higher doses
Enlarged and calcified kidneys
Spontaneous abortions in nearly half the rabbit population given sucralose, compared to zero aborted pregnancies in the control group
A 23 percent death rate in rabbits, compared to a six percent death rate in the control group
It May be Made from Sugar, But it’s Nothing Like it…
Don’t let the name fool you. Sucralose is NOT some magical calorie-free sugar, despite Splenda’s famous slogan, “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.” It is in fact a chlorinated artificial sweetener cooked up in a factory, and scores of consumers have testified to its devastating effects. It does start off as a sugar molecule—to which three chlorine molecules are added. At the end of the patented process, the chemical composition of the sugar has been altered to the point that it’s actually closer to DDT and Agent Orange than sugar.
This type of “sugar” molecule does not occur anywhere in nature, and therefore your body cannot properly metabolize it. This is why Splenda is advertised as having “zero calories”—because your body cannot digest or metabolize it. Essentially, it passes right through you. Or at least that’s the claim. However, according to the available research, between 11-27 percent of sucralose is in fact absorbed into your digestive system, and according to the study mentioned above, it is also absorbed into your fat cells.
The question then becomes, just what kind of impact might a DDT- or Agent Orange-like molecule have on your health?
Furthermore, few people realize that only about one percent of that packet of Splenda is actually sucralose. The remaining 99 percent is maltodextrin—a type of sugar! Each packet actually has four calories, but because the amount of sugar is less than one gram, they get away with saying it has “no calories” due to a loophole in the labeling law.
How is Splenda Ending up in Drinking Water?
Well, its presence in water supplies may very well be a sign of just how prevalent its use is, because as revealed in that one absorption study, sucralose is expelled in urine and feces pretty much unaltered… I’m not sure which is more concerning, the thought that so many people use and excrete Splenda that it’s becoming a drinking water contamination hazard, or that sucralose is so persistent—so difficult to break down that it can pass right through your body, and go through chemical water treatment, and STILL be present to have another go through the system of another unsuspecting person having a drink of water!
The other issue to remember is that many researchers believe sucralose has an element of fat solubility so you wind up storing some of it in your fat; certainly more if you are drinking ever increasing concentrations in your tap water. Remember this chemical is in the same class as DDT and Agent Orange, and we have NO long term toxicity studies done on this as they were not required.
Avoiding sugar is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, but, instead of consuming a naturally low-sugar diet based on whole foods, some people are still trying to have their cake and eat it too. Unfortunately, the belief that artificial sweeteners can allow you to have the best of both worlds is a carefully orchestrated deception. So if you’re still consuming artificially sweetened foods, snacks and beverages because you think it’ll help you manage your weight, please understand that you’ve been sorely misled.
In reality, “diet” foods and drinks destroy your body’s ability to count calories and actually promote weight gain. For example, drinking diet sodas has been found to double your risk of obesity! Complicating matters further, artificial sweeteners also appear to be highly addictive. It’s important to understand that sugar cravings is typically a sign that your body needs fuel. Using artificial sweeteners will NOT trick your body into thinking it has had its fill. Instead, artificial sweeteners can increase sweet cravings because your body didn’t get the energy boost it was expecting from that sweet taste.
If you’re determined to sweeten your foods and beverages, I urge you to consider using stevia extract—a safe and natural sweet herb. Avoid stevia-based sweeteners like Truvia and PureVia however, as these do not contain the whole stevia plant, which may compromise its safety.