Heal Yourself At Home
Sucralose / Splenda - Organochlorine


Splenda® (Sucralose)

- Toxic organochlorine in a yellow packet


On this Page:

    Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar

    Chlorocarbons - “One lump or two?”

    Is sucralose absorbed / metabolized or not?

    It’s been tested, right?

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

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

    Percentage of U.S. population using artificial sweeteners is increasing

    What are my other sweetener choices?


Related Links:

    How to reduce sugar intake

    How to overcome sweet cravings


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



”Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar”


      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


         Sucralose is a non-nutritive sweetener (NNS) - a white crystalline powder, this supposedly no-calorie sweetener  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 @ www.splenda.com



-       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.

Ahhhh… just the way grandma used to make it!



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



      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:




      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:




         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 andpotentially highly toxic chlorosugar 6-GC) and has been proven in tests to 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 / metabolized 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



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 Commision, 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 favorable 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 daysin 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

Dr. Mercola’s website


      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



      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 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.


-       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]



-       Increased Diet soda consumption in children associated with increased weight gain


         166 school children over 2 years

         Higher BMI Z-scores (indicating weight gain) found at follow-up

Blum JW, Jacobsen DJ, Donnelly JE. Beverage consumption patterns in elementary school aged children across a two-year period. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005;24:93–98. PubMed


-       Growing Up Today Study reported diet soda consumption by boys (but not girls) associated with weight gain


         11,654 children aged 9 to 14

         Each daily serving of diet beverage increased BMI by 0.16 kg/m2

Berkey CS, Rockett HRH, Field AE, Gillman MW, Colditz GA. Sugar-added beverages and adolescent weight change. Obes Res. 2004;12:778–788. PubMed


-       A cross-sectional study of young people found diet soda drinkers had significantly elevated BMI


          3,111 children and youth

Forshee RA, Storey ML. Total beverage consumption and beverage choices among children and adolescents. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2003;54:297–307.PubMed



-       Interventional studies suggests that artificial sweeteners do not help reduce weight when used alone


Mattes RD, Popkin BM. Nonnutritive sweetener consumption in humans: effects on appetite and food intake and their putative mechanisms. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1–14. PMC free article   PubMed


Brown RJ, de Banate MA, Rother KI. Artificial Sweeteners: A systematic review of metabolic effects in youth. [Epub 18 Jan 2010];Int J Pediatr Obes.


         BMI did not decrease after 25 weeks of substituting diet beverages for sugar-sweetened beverages in 103 adolescents in a randomized controlled trial, except among the heaviest participants

Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Osganian SK, Chomitz VR, Ellenbogen SJ, Ludwig DS. Effects of decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on body weight in adolescents: a randomized, controlled pilot study. Pediatrics. 2006;117:673–680. PubMed



-       Earlier studies indicated that consuming non-caloric artificial sweeteners induce hunger by causing us to lose control of normal appetite mechanisms - they:


(1)     Stimulate your appetite

(2)     Increase carbohydrate cravings – with a tendency to choose sweet foods over nutritious foods

(3)     Stimulate fat storage and weight gain


This phenomenon was later found to be more general, in that any orally palatable substance without calories stimulates the appetite. Phenomenon does not occur without orosensory stimulation (E.g. via capsules)

Mattes RD. Interaction between the energy content and sensory properties of foods. Birch G, Campbell-Platt G, editors. , eds Synergy. Hampshire, United Kingdom: Intercept, Ltd, 1994:39–51.


         One study fed rats yogurt sweetened with saccharin, aspartame or sucrose for 12 weeks + normal rat food


·         Rats fed zero calorie artifical sweeteners had increased weight gain compared to sucrose fed rats – since the no-cal sweeteners caused them to increase their appetites for normal food 

 Fernanda de Matos Feijó et al, Saccharin and aspartame, compared with sucrose, induce greater weight gain in adult Wistar rats, at similar total caloric intake levels Appetite January 1, 2012, Volume 60, Pages 203-207 Abstract



         Rat feeding study found that breaking the link between the sweet taste of saccharin and the anticipated high calorie food changed the body's ability to control food intake.


·         Rats were fed either saccharin- or glucose sweetened yogurt


·         The rats that had the saccharin-sweetened yogurt consumed more calories, put on more weight, gained more body fat, and did not cut back on their calorie consumption in the longer term

Swithers SE, Davidson TL. A role for sweet taste: calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats. Behav Neurosci. 2008;122:161–173. PubMed


         Another study fed rats sucralose and at the end of the 24 week study, the rats consuming sucralose gained weight compared to the ones that didn’t. 


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. PMC2892765


-       More recent studies indicate that when no-calorie artificial sweeteners are added to caloric products, the augmented  hunger does not take place.

Richard D Mattes and Barry M Popkin. Nonnutritive sweetener consumption in humans: effects on appetite and food intake and their putative mechanisms1,2,3  Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 January; 89(1): 1–14. PMC2650084


         Substitution of artificial sweeteners for sugars in drink prevents weight gain and promotes weight loss in rats eating  food ad libitum   - In a 16 week study, 81  rats eating food at will gained the same weight as controls when also drinking saccharin solution,  but gained significant weight drinking 11% sucrose  solution. When the sweetened solutions were switched, obese sucrose rats lost weight during the next 8 weeks while rats previously on saccharin gained weight rapidly.  However, it is fairly obvious that weight gain/loss would occur if adding/removing extra sucrose calories

Porikos KP, Koopmans HS. The effect of non-nutritive sweeteners on body weight in rats.Appetite. 1988;11 Suppl 1:12-5. PubMed



Percentage of U.S. population using artificial sweeteners is increasing


Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 January; 89(1): 1–14.



What are my other sweetener choices?


      Natural sweeteners in moderation should be preferred to any artificial sweeteners



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