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Splenda May Cause Weight Gain And Block Drug Absorption

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 10:29 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Splenda, Sucralose, Aspartame, Artificial Sweeteners, FDA, Obesity

Splenda study, funded by the sugar industry, shows that it cuts gut bacteria and may interfere with drug absorption.



IMAGE SOURCE:  ©iStockphoto/ pink packets of artificial sugar, saccharine/ author: PhotoEuphoria


A study out of Duke University suggests that Splenda, the artificial sweetener in the yellow packet, and its key component, sucralose, may harm health when consumed over time. 

In the Duke study, rats tested had half of the good bacteria in the gut that play a role in regulating immunity and weight. 

Sucralose also increased the pH level in the intestines, contributed to increases in body weight and affected the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in the body that can block the effects of drugs, such as chemotherapy or cancer patients, the study suggests.  

Splenda’s maker, McNeil Nutritionals, says the findings are unsupported and the test is just bad PR from the natural sugar industry. 

The company points out that the study was financed by the Sugar Association, a lobbying group for natural sugar.

The study is published on the web site of the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.

Meanwhile the U.S. Sugar Association has started a website criticizing sucralose.

The Duke University researchers say that the Sugar Association had “no input” into the study’s findings and conclusions.

But one group is responding to the study results.

James Turner, chair of the Citizens for Health, national nonprofit consumer health organization, is calling for an FDA review of Splenda.
“The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener, Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study, confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label,”  Turner said in a statement. 

Turner said “It’s like putting a pesticide in your body. And this is at levels of intake erroneously approved by the Food and Drug Administration. A person eating two slices of cake and drinking two cups of coffee containing Splenda would ingest enough sucralose to affect the P-glycoprotein, while consuming just seven little Splenda packages reduces good bacteria.”

Citizens for Health is calling on the FDA to initiate a review of the approval of sucralose and to require a warning label on Splenda packaging, cautioning people who take medications to avoid using it.

Citizens for Health will testify in Sacramento, October 3, before the California Assembly Committee on Health, which is examining the use of deceptive adverting to promote sales of potentially unhealthy food additives, especially artificial sweeteners.

It’s all just the latest salvo in the sugar wars – an ongoing battle between the Sugar Association and artificial sweetener makers, and among the various artificial sweetener manufacturers battling it out over the $1.5 billion artificial sugar market.

Splenda (yellow packet), made by McNeil, a division of Johnson & Johnson, is the grainy sugar substitute in the yellow packets made from sucralose, which is artificial and four times as sweet as aspartame, the sweetener in Equal (blue packet) made by Merisant.

But unlike aspartame, it is stable under heat and can be used for baking.

Since its introduction in the U.S. market in 1999, Splenda has overtaken Equal and holds a 62 percent market share.

It was discovered in a lab quite accidentally, made from chlorinated sugars. It is artificial, but its makers say it’s “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.”

In 2006, Equal’s Merisant (blue packets), sued McNeil Nutritionals (yellow packets) in federal court arguing that the adverting is false and misleading.  The two sides settled out of court.  #

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