A new study has found health concerns about the sugar substitute sucralose so alarming that researchers have advised that people should stop eating it and the government should regulate it more.
Sucralose is sold under the brand name Splenda and is also used as an ingredient in packaged foods and beverages.
According to findings published this week in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, the researchers conducted a series of laboratory experiments exposing human blood cells and gut tissue to sucralose-6-acetate. They found that sucralose causes DNA to break apart, putting people at risk for disease. They also linked sucralose to leaky gut syndrome, in which the lining of the intestines are worn down and become permeable. Symptoms are a burning sensation, painful digestion, diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
The researchers also found sucralose-6-acetate in trace amounts in off-the-shelf products that are so high they would exceed the safety levels currently allowed in Europe.
“It’s time to revisit the safety and regulatory status of sucralose because the evidence is mounting that it carries significant risks. If nothing else, I encourage people to avoid products containing sucralose,” said researcher Susan Schiffman, PhD, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at North Carolina State University.
However, the FDA says sucralose is safe: “To determine the safety of sucralose, the FDA reviewed more than 110 studies designed to identify possible toxic effects, including studies on the reproductive and nervous systems, carcinogenicity, and metabolism,” the agency explains on its website.
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