Splenda, is it really carcinogenic? I have been wondering this on and off over the past year. I am not much of a coffee drinker, but when I do choose to consume a fresh cup of brew, I generally use Splenda if it is available. I personally prefer Splenda over normal sugar because it is much sweeter and therefore, I don’t nearly have to put as much in my coffee to get the appropriate taste. Anyways, it has been brought to my attention by a number of folks that Splenda is carcinogenic. Their reasoning? Not exactly sure, but they probably heard it from somewhere or someone and more or less accepted it as truth. I always figured it was more a public perception and popular heresay than anything.
So, I set out in search of a definitive answer to the question of whether Splenda is actually carcinogenic or not. After about an hour or so of research on the internet and through various websites, I have come to this conclusion: there is NOTHING conclusive in the least bit anywhere that proves that Splenda is carcinogenic. Here is the best resource I could find on the subject (from Wikipedia, of course):
“In determining the safety of sucralose, the FDA reviewed data from more than 110 studies in humans and animals. Many of the studies were designed to identify possible toxic effects including carcinogenic, reproductive and neurological effects. No such effects were found, and FDA’s approval is based on the finding that sucralose is safe for human consumption.”
* Splenda is the trade name for Sucralose. Sucralose is approximately 600 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), twice as sweet as saccharin, and four times as sweet as aspartame.
So, that is at least one source that corroborates my opinion that Splenda is ok to consume without any side-effects or long-lasting repercussions.
Another interesting piece of information:
“Concerns have been raised about the effect of sucralose on the thymus, an organ that is important to the immune system. A report from NICNAS cites two studies on rats, both of which found “a significant decrease in mean thymus weight” at a certain dose. The sucralose dosages which caused the thymus gland effects referenced in the NICNAS report was 3000 mg/kg bw/day for 28 days. For an 80 kg (176 lb) human, this would mean a 28-day intake of 240 grams of sucralose, which is equivalent to more than 20,000 individual Splenda packets/day for approximately one month. The dose required to provoke any immunological response was 750 mg/kg bw/day, or 60 grams of sucralose per day, which is more than 5,000 Splenda packets/day (there are 11.9 mg of sucralose in a 1g retail packet of Splenda). These and other studies were considered by regulators before concluding that sucralose was safe. However, because some ingested sucralose is broken down and absorbed by the body there is concern that chronic consumption may lead to thymus shrinkage or other side-effects.”
So, this is basically just saying that there were some adverse effects on mice who were injected with sucralose. Even if our bodies were to react in the same way as mice, we would have to consume an absurd amount of Splenda in a day to feel any adverse effects.
So, I guess my main point is that Splenda is NOT bad for you. In fact, it is quite alright to consume it. I had just grown extremely weary of people making such vehemently unsubstantiated claims. Rather than believing an urban myth or accepting rumor as truth, why not research it yourself and see if there is any truth to what you’ve heard?
So, drink your latte, cappuccino, or coffee without worry or restraint.