October 16, 2018

CSPI Downgrades Splenda from “Safe” to “Caution”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is downgrading sucralose, which is the artificial sweetener commonly known as Splenda, from the “safe” category to “caution” after an unpublished Italian study found the chemical caused leukemia in mice. This is the same independent lab that found aspartame caused cancers in mice and rats. All previous long-term feeding studies of sucralose conducted on animals were performed by the chemical’s manufacturers.

Redbarn Bully Sticks Salmonella RecallUnlike other artificial sweeteners, sucralose can be used in baking, since the compound doesn’t break down at high temperatures. CSPI objected to sucralose from the beginning. In 2008, a study funded by the sugar industry found that Splenda reduces beneficial bacteria in the gut of rats, but that study was quite small. A 2012 study found that the use of saccharin and sucralose “closely correlated” with the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) around the world.

Chemical Cuisine, CSPI’s page that gives consumers information on the safety of food additives, rates other artificial sweeteners saccharin, aspartame (Nutrasweet), and acesulfame potassium as “avoid”, which is their lowest rating. Michael F. Jacobson, CSPI’s executive director, said “sucralose may prove to be safer than saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium, but the forthcoming Italian study warrants careful scrutiny before we can be confident that the sweetener is safe for use in food.”

The organization says that sodas often contain “questionable food dyes and so-called caramel coloring that is contaminated with cancer-causing 4-methylimidazole” and should be avoided. CSPI urges consumers to drink water, seltzer water, flavored unsweetened waters, seltzer mixed with some fruit juice, or unsweetened iced tea.

CSPI is also warning consumers to read product labels carefully. Artificial sweeteners are being used without any disclosure on front labels; always check the ingredient list on the back label before you buy any product.

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