Diabetes is one of the leading diseases in the world today. The number of diabetics and those with predispositions to the disease are increasing every year. In order to curb this growth, the market has responded by producing foods that have low fat and low calorie content. Sugar substitutes have also become popular, and one of the most popular sugar-free sweeteners these days is Splenda.

Splenda's Rising Popularity

For just a short span of time, Splenda has become the bestseller among all the artificial sweeteners out in the market since the time of its release. The reason why people flocked to Splenda is because it claims to be sugar free, but it still tastes like sugar, thus satisfying our sweet tooth without the unwanted spike in blood sugar levels. Because of this, Splenda sales have outnumbered its predecessors, such as Sweet ‘N Low and Equal.

Although statistics undoubtedly show that a lot of people are into Splenda these days, the main concern of many is this: Is Splenda safe? Its distributor, McNeil Nutritionals, claim that there are about a hundred or so studies done regarding the safety and effectiveness of Splenda, and these studies yielded mostly positive results. What they omitted from this is the fact that most of these studies were tested on animals. Thus, the question regarding Splenda’s safety and health risks is brought back to the limelight.

Safety Concerns on Splenda

If you take a look at it, it is true that Splenda reduces all the dangerous effects of sugar in the body, such as added calories, sudden insulin boosts, and uncontrollable cravings. However, more recent studies on humans taking Splenda asking “Is Splenda safe?” yielded alarming results.

It is important to note that Splenda is the brand name for sucralose, a synthetic compound made from sugar with additional chlorine atoms. The claims made by Splenda, such as being natural and being made from sugar, are hence true. However, being natural does not mean it is completely safe. Sucralose has been discovered in the 1970’s by scientists who were trying to create pesticides. Sucralose contains chlorine, which can be toxic when ingested in large amounts.

Moreover, Splenda cannot be wholly metabolized by the body, which is the reason why it has zero calories. Only 15% of Splenda can actually be ingested by the body, but those with healthier gastrointestinal systems are able to absorb more Splenda, and in turn, also absorb more chlorine. As previously stated, chlorine can be dangerous in large quantities. 

After Splenda was released in the market for everybody’s consumption, experts conducted studies of Splenda on humans, and their studies showed disturbing results in just a short span of time. The Journal of Toxicolofy and Environmental Health found out that Splenda has the ability to alter the natural intestinal microorganisms that protect the linings of the gastrointestinal tract, thus making it susceptible to the development of infectious diseases. An example of a disorder that may develop is the irritable bowel syndrome, characterized by bloating, changed in bowel movement, and abdominal cramps. Splenda can also increase the risk for developing colorectal cancer as it can also produce an increase in fecal pH.

Splenda can also have significant drug interactions according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. It reacts negatively with oral hypoglycemic agents, antidepressants, antihypertensives, anti-epileptics, and even antibiotics, so it may not be safely used by people taking these types of medications.

The thymus gland, which is responsible for the body’s immune system, can also be affected by Splenda. A research done by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Journal found out that sucralose can shrink the size of the thymus gland because of the nutritional deficiencies brought about by lack of food intake due to the decrease in appetite brought about by Splenda.

Is Splenda safe, then? If the aforementioned reasons are not enough for you, then you can try the product and get the answers by yourself.[131][132]