Sickly Sweet

So, you think you are something good and “healthier” by cutting out refined white or even brown sugar and you are adding artificial sweeteners to your diet – either for health reasons (overweight, diabetic,etc) or because you want to loose weight.  


Highly refined/Artificial sweeteners

  • Refined white or brown sugar
  • High Fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Corn syrup
  • Agave syrup/nectar –  despite its advertising, this typically highly-processed  “newcomer” sweetener is anything but “natural” and is usually about  80% fructose.
  • Aspartame (Nutrasweet®) – ”Neurotoxin”
  • Sucralose (Splenda®) –  ”Organochlorine” – Sucralose (Splenda®) is NOT a sugar,  despite its sugar-like name and deceptive marketing slogan, “made from sugar.” It is, in fact, a chlorinated artificial sweetener with detrimental health effects to match aspartame
  • Saccharin
  • Acesulfame potassium

Americans consume table sugar and HFCS in excessive amounts with serious health consequences

  • The U.S. per capita intake of refined sugar is about 150 pounds a year – of which High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) accounts for ~52# and sucrose (table sugar) ~64#.   USDA.
  • Refined Sugar is in many processed products – E.g. spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, peanut butter, mayonnaise and ketchup (tomato sauce).
  • Excessive consumption of refined sugar is taking its toll on health – the links below address the specific health concerns of over-consumption of sugar and HFCS and offer ways to reduce intake of these substances:
  • To get across the reality of how much sugar is in a product, change product labelling amounts for sugar from grams or ounces into teaspoons: 1 oz of sugar / 28.35 grams  = ~7 teaspoons

Consider For Example:

Divide grams by 4 for number of teaspoons of sugar – Look at the label where it says “total sugars” and divide the number of grams by four. This computation alone should scare you away! 

Don’t you think that seeing those teaspoon amounts would likely hit home and make you think twice before consuming them?  Why on earth would they put SUGAR into a beef Burger ? ….Not that you should be eating a beef burger in the first place…?

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

HFCS is a cheaply produced, large-scale commercial, highly refined sweetener that has taken over the sweetener market – now routinely added to processed foods and beverages.

HFCS comes in two main forms:

  1. HFCS-55 (the main form used in soft drinks) 55% fructoseblended with 45% glucose;
  2.  HFCS-42 (the main form used in canned fruit in syrup, ice cream, desserts, and baked goods) contains 42% fructose and 58% glucose.

Fructose in HFCS consumed in much greater quantities than fructose in fruit or honey.  Fructose is found in fruit (~2- 8%) and honey (40%) – but its consumption from these sources is limited by the typical amount of fruit and honey eaten. In contrast, commercial fructose derived from corn, is lacking in bulk, making it easier to consume large quantities of it – unfortunately, we do indeed consume large amounts of fructose, “lurking” in so many food and drink products.

Fructose consumed to excess has been shown to have several detrimental effects on health;

Fructose makes fat faster than glucose.

 “Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose. Once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it’s hard to slow it down. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in the body.”

Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition, UT Southwestern Medical Center –  Author of a fructose study reported in the Journal of Nutrition (2008).

HFC is a causative factor in heart disease  – when consumed in excessive amounts, according to study reports.

Splenda® (Sucralose) – Toxic organochlorine in a yellow packet

Although, using natural sugar to excess has its own set of health problems, natural sugar used in moderation is still a healthier sweetener choice than sucralose. 

We DO NOT recommend you ADD sugar to your diet in ANY form – this statement above is only as a means to allow one to draw an analogy in order to clarify the dangers of sucralose.

 ”Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar”…..

The marketing pitch for Splenda emphasizes that it has undergone rigorous testing, but tails to mention that nearly ALL tests were on animals (initial studies showing health detrimental results) and only 2 small (almost laughable) studies lasting less tan 4 days on huymans prior to FDA approval
  • Sucralose (trade name Splenda or E.U. additive code E955) is the #1 artificial sweetener in the U.S. -generally used as a sugar substitute. (available internationally).
  • Sucralose is a non-nutritive sweetener (NNS)
  • It is a white crystalline powder, this supposedly no-calorie sweetener  and is made from a patented process that begins with sucrose:
  • 600 times sweeter than table sugar –  ~twice as sweet as saccharin and four times sweeter than aspartame
  • Found in > 4,500 food and beverage products – such as baked goods (stable to 450⁰F), non-alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, frozen dairy desserts, fruit juices, and gelatins
  • Found in medications – nearly 10% of all sucralose is sold to drug companies, and many times not listed on label. 
  • Splenda® also contains 95% dextrose and maltodextrin as fillers

Sucralose is a synthetic chemical made by a patented process by McNeil Nutritionals that does indeed begin with sugar (sucrose, a disaccharide molecule about 50/50 glucose and fructose). Three hydroxyl  (OH) groups are replaced with 3 chlorine molecules,  producing a fructose + galactose molecule not seen in nature.

Image from Splenda-Clinician’s Guide @

Here is the “Recipe” for making sucralose:

  1. Sucrose is tritylated with trityl chloride in the presence of dimethylformamide and 4-methylmorpholine, and the tritylated sucrose is then acetylated with acetic anhydride.
  2. The resulting sucrose molecule TRISPA is chlorinated with hydrogen chlorine in the presence of toluene.
  3. The resulting 4-PAS is heated in the presence of methyl isobutyl ketone and acetic acid.
  4. The resulting 6-PAS is chlorinated with thionyl chloride in the presence of toluene and benzyltriethylammonium chloride.
  5. The resulting TOSPA is treated with methanol in the presence of sodium methoxide to produce sucralose.

The end product is a chlorinated hydrocarbon molecule (a.k.a. an organochlorine or chlorocarbon) – i.e. NOT a sugar molecule.

For more information see this link – Is Splenda Really Splendid?

Sucralose was actually discovered by accident by Tate and Lyle scientists working with researchers at Queen Elizabeth College, trying to create new insecticides –  it was discovered by Leslie Hough and a young Indian chemist, Shashikant Phadnis as the duo was trying to test chlorinated sugars as chemical intermediates.

Phadnis was told to test the powder.  Phadnis thought that Hough asked him to taste it – he found the compound to be exceptionally sweet.   After this revelation, they worked with Tate & Lyle for a year before settling on the final formula.

In 1980 the rights of sucralose were sold to Johnson and Johnson who then created McNeil Nutritionals to be solely responsible for the marketing of Splenda® – Later in 2004, McNeil Nutritionals and Tate & Lyle restructured their alliance so that McNeil was responsible for marketing and Tate & Lyle for manufacturing the product.

In 1989, sucralose was approved for use in the United States and Diet R.C. Cola was the first product to contain it.

Chlorocarbons – “One lump or two?”

  • Sucralose is a cute short name for: 1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-BETA-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside
  • Chlorine in sucralose is not the same safe form as covalent chloride bonds in food –actually,  nature  contains NO covalent chloride-to-organic compound bonds. 
  • Examples of other synthetic organochlorines (long known for causing organ, genetic and reproductive damage) include:
    • DDT
    • PCB’s
    • Agent orange     

J & J maintain that sucralose chlorocarbons are not a problem since sucralose is not absorbed –however, the fact is that the final rule of the FDA was that a significant percentage actually is absorbed in the body.   Organochlorines don’t breakdown easily in fatty tissue and can build up over time – in his book “Sweet Deception”,  Dr. Joseph Mercola details how researchers  found evidence that Splenda is in fact absorbed by your fat and tends to accumulate in high-fat organ tissues (E.g. your brain) over time.

Researcher / biochemist Dr. James Bowen states that ingested chlorocarbon damage continues with the formation of other toxins:

“Any chlorocarbons not directly excreted from the body intact can cause immense damage to the processes of human metabolism and, eventually, our internal organs. The liver is a detoxification organ which deals with ingested poisons. Chlorocarbons damage the hepatocytes, the liver’s metabolic cells, and destroy them. In test animals, Splenda® produced swollen livers, as do all chlorocarbon poisons, and also calcified the kidneys of test animals in toxicity studies. The brain and nervous system are highly subject to metabolic toxicities and solvency damage by these chemicals. Their high solvency attacks the human nervous system and many other body systems including genetics and the immune function. Thus, chlorocarbon poisoning can cause cancer, birth defects, and immune system destruction. These are well known effects of Dioxin and PCBs which are known deadly chlorocarbons.” 

Dr. James Bowen, Article:  “The Lethal Science Of Splenda – A Poisonous Chlorocarbon”

Ingested sucralose breaks down into products (1,6 dichloro, 1,6-dideoxyfructose,  4-chloro-4-deoxygalactose and potentially highly toxic chlorosugar 6-GC) and has been proven in tests to be able to have the following adverse effects:

  • Liver toxicity, Enlarged livers
  • Reduced ability for body to detoxify
  • Mutagenic activity
  • Binding to DNA in your liver and small intestine
  • Low birth and placental weights, maternal and fetal toxicity (aborted pregnancy)
  • Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage)Enlarged kidneys
  • Abnormal histopathological changes in spleen and thymus
  • Increased cecal weight
  • Reduced growth rate
  • Adverse changes to GI bacteria
  • Abnormal Pelvic Mineralization / Hyperplasia of the pelvis
  • Decreased red blood cell count
  • Bowel inflammation/Crohn’s Disease
  • Migraine triggers
  • Increased glycosylation of hemoglobin (HbA1c) for diabetics

Is sucralose absorbed / metabolised or not?

McNeil  claims that Splenda® has zero calories since it is not absorbed by the body – because the body has no enzymes to break down/digest this unnatural, glucose-free molecule.

HOWEVER – The FDA’s “Final Rule” reported 11% to 27% of sucralose is absorbed in humans:

  • In animal studies, up to 15% of sucralose is absorbed by the digestive system and stored in the body  – The bulk of sucralose ingested does not leave the GI tract and is directly excreted in the feces while 11-27% of it is absorbed. The amount that is absorbed from the GI tract is largely removed from the blood stream by the kidneys and excreted in the urine with 20-30% of the absorbed sucralose being metabolized;
  • Significant percentages of absorbed sucralose is metabolized – “Mice (El46) and rats (El37) were found to metabolize less than 10 percent of the absorbed sucralose, while rabbits(El24) (20 to 30 percent), humans (El38 and E145) (20 to 30 percent), and dogs (El33) (30 to 40 percent) metabolize greater quantities of the absorbed sucralose.”
  • Michael A. Friedman, Lead Deputy Commissioner for the FDA, Food Additives Permitted for Direct Addition to Food for Human Consumption; Sucralose Federal Register: 21 CFR Part 172, Docket No. 87F-0086, April 3, 1998
  • The Japanese Food Sanitation Council reports that up to 40% of ingested sucralose is absorbed – and can concentrate in the liver, kidney, and GI tract.
  • The FDA allowed sucralose absorption / metabolism findings of just ONE  8 man study to be generalized to the entire population  – women, children, the elderly, and those with any chronic illness were never examined. – Roberts A, Renwick AG, Sims J, Snodin DJ. Sucralose metabolism and pharmacokinetics in man. Food Chem Toxicol. 2000;38 Suppl 2:S31-41. PubMed

 Sucralose – It’s been tested, right?

Splenda has NEVER been proven safe for HUMAN consumption!  The marketing pitch for Spenda emphasizes that it has undergone rigorous testing, but fail to mention that nearly all tests were on animals(initial studies showing health detrimental results)and only 2 small (almost laughable) studies lasting less than 4 days on humans prior to FDA approval.

Initially, the EU Food Commission, Canadian officials and the U.S. FDA  did NOT approve Splenda, based on several  serious health problems revealed in animals –  so McNeil Nutritionals (Sucralose manufacturer, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson) continued their research studies, lowering levels of sucralose administered until favourable results were obtained. Of course, the negative research results were not mentioned.    

Splenda®/Sucralose was given the broadest approval ever granted by the FDA for any food additive based on the review of of 108 animal studies and only two human studies lasting only a few days – in 1998 it was approved for use in 15 food and beverage categories, with no requirement for warnings or informational labels on products containing sucralose. A year or so later, the FDA approved sucralose as a general-purpose sweetener.

Of those 2 human studies:

  • They had a total of only 36 subjects – of which only 23 took sucralose!
  • The longest study lasted only 4 days! – and was focussed on sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human tolerance

 The animal studies reviewed revealed several problems:

  • Decreased red blood cells 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 – The FDA ruled that these are findings that are common in aged female rats and are not significant.
  • 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 6 percent death rate in the control group.

 A more recent Duke University study found that FDA-approved food levels of Splenda:

  • REDUCES the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50% — a disturbing finding since these bacteria help maintain your body’s overall balance of friendly versus unfriendly microorganisms and support your general health.
  • INCREASES the pH level in your intestines
  • Can prevent absorption of prescription drugs – by affecting a glycoprotein (P-gp) in your body

Abou-Donia MB, El-Masry EM, Abdel-Rahman AA, McLendon RE, Schiffman SS.  Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008;71(21):1415-29.

“Increasing evidence suggests that artificial sweeteners do not activate the food reward pathways in the same fashion as natural sweeteners – Lack of caloric contribution generally eliminates the postingestive component. Functional magnetic imaging in normal weight men showed that glucose ingestion resulted in a prolonged signal depression in the hypothalamus. This response was not observed with sucralose ingestion.”

Smeets PAM, de Graaf C, Stafleu A, van Osch MJP, van der Grond J. Functional magnetic resonance imaging of human hypothalamic responses to sweet taste and calories. Am J Clin Nutr.2005;82:1011–1016. PubMed

Dr. Mercola’s website lists many anecdotal reports of harmful side-effects

The following are common symptoms

Usually noticed within a 24-hour period following consumption of Splenda products:

  •  Skin- Redness, itching, swelling, blistering, weeping, crusting, rash, eruptions, or hives (itchy bumps or welts).
  •  Lungs- Wheezing, tightness, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • Head- Swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, or throat; headaches and migraines
  • Nose- Stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing.
  • Eyes- bloodshot, itchy, swollen, or watery.
  • Stomach- Bloating, gas, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody diarrhea.
  • Heart- Palpitations or fluttering.
  • Joints – Joint pains or aches.
  •  Neurological- Anxiety, dizziness, spaced-out sensation, depression.

Here’s the “Kicker”– Artificial sweeteners may actually promote weight gain

Many people have found that it is easier to lose weight by cutting out sweets altogether instead of just replacing the natural sugar with an artificial one

NNS – May not be such a sweet deal

Nutritive sweeteners provide a sweet taste and a source of calories or energy, whereas non-nutritive sweeteners are sweet without the added calories.

NNS are artificial / toxic sweeteners used in many drinks and food products – they include:

In the U.S., and MANY other countries, foods can be labelled as zero-calorie if they contain less than 5 calories per serving

NNS may stress the adrenal glands

Our bodies are not equipped to handle either natural or artificial calorie-free sweeteners -when our taste buds register a sweet taste from a food that does not provide glucose, our sugar-handling mechanism may go awry, possibly inducing a state of hypoglycemia.

On sensing sweet, the body prepares itself for receiving sugar. Glucose is typically cleared from the blood causing blood sugar to drop, but since no ”refill” glucose arrives, the body is forced to induce a stress response to restore blood sugar levels. This requires a surge in ADRENALINE andCORTISOL to mobilize sugar from other sources (liver, muscle glycogen, protein or body tissue). This fight-or-flight response is meant to be reserved for  stressful times of need, not merely for eating.

The consequences of over-producing stress hormones includes, for example:

  • Suppressed immune system
  • Increased inflammation
  • Reduced thyroid function

To find out if consuming an NNS is having a hypoglycemic effect (with inherent stress reaction), you will need to test your blood sugar before and after NNS consumption.  There should not be a problem if consuming another sugar or carbohydrate at the same time

NNS /Artificial Sweeteners May Actually  Promote Weight Gain

Many people have found that it is easier to lose weight by cutting out sweets altogether instead of just replacing the natural sugar with an artificial one.  Several large scale prospective cohort studies found a positive correlation between artificial sweetener use and weight gain.

Qing Yang. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings.Neuroscience 2010.  Yale J Biol Med. 2010 June; 83(2): 101–108. PubMed 

The San Antonio Heart Study

  •  3,682 adults over 7-8 yrs during 1980’s
  • Consistently higher BMIs at the follow-up – Average BMI gain was +1.01 kg/m2 for control and 1.78 kg/m2 for people in the third quartile for artificially sweetened beverage consumption.
  • Participants who drank more than 21 diet drinks per week were almost twice as likely to become overweight or obese as people who didn’t drink diet soda.

Fowler SP, Williams K, Resendez RG, Hunt KJ, Hazuda HP, Stern MP. Fueling the obesity epidemic? Artificially sweetened beverage use and long-term weight gain. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 2008;16:1894–1900. . PubMed

The American Cancer Society study

  • 78,694 women in early 80’s
  • At one-year follow-up, 2.7 to 7.1 % more regular artificial sweetener users gained weight (although <2#) compared to non-users matched by initial weight.

Stellman SD, Garfinkel L. Artificial sweetener use and one-year weight change among women. Prev Med. 1986;15:195–202. PubMed

Another American Cancer Society study

Saccharin use was also associated with eight-year weight gain in 31,940 women from the Nurses’Health Study conducted in the 1970s

Colditz GA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, London SJ, Segal MR, Speizer FE. Patterns of weight change and their relation to diet in a cohort of healthy women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1990;51:1100–1105. PubMed

There are literally DOZENS of similar studies to be found on PubMed – go and research further for yourself.