Splenda – Harmful?

by Dr Marc on September 23, 2008

A new Splenda Study put out by Duke University is sure to cause a stir. Adding fuel to the fire was this headline from a press release issued by an organization calling themselves the “Citizens for Health”…

“Chairman of Citizens for Health Declares FDA Should Review Approval of Splenda

New Study of Splenda and Sucralose Reveals Shocking New Information About Potential Harmful Effect on Humans”

Duke Study Highlights
This 12 week study, conducted in rats fed Splenda-containing “rat chow”, revealed a 50% reduction in “good” bacteria, an increase in intestinal pH,  and enhanced expression of enzymes that affect drug metabolism. According to the “Citizens for Health” this study also suggests that Splenda “contributes to increases in body weight.”

Why should we be concerned about “good bacteria?” These beneficial bacteria including those that are commonly referred to as probiotics have been associated with anticancer benefits, cholesterol reduction, and strengthened gut immunity. Having not read the study other than the abstract, it’s difficult for me to figure out how they came to the conclusion Splenda leads to weight gain. I have reported previously that sugar substitutes may short circuit the taste conditioning response leading to increased consumption and weight gain.

It should come as no surprise that an artificial sweetener may have harmful, or potentially harmful effects. Splenda my be the sequel to the transfat story…. and we all know how that turned out.

I will also add this. Splenda is a favorite of many low-carb fans because it cuts calories in processed foods. But the calorie savings can be deceiving.. If you make a muffin with Splenda instead of sugar you can reduce the calories by about 20% . You can also save an equivalent amount of calories by alternatively reducing the fat in a recipe. So yes, you can realize some calorie savings in processed foods by cutting carbs or cutting fat. However, you can’t change the fact that processed foods are very calorie dense. My advice is to stick with real food and limit processed food consumption.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

JC September 23, 2008 at 11:02 am

Dieters should take note that Splenda is advertised as no calories, yet each packet does contain 3.5 calories. A cup is about 100 calories. So don’t be fool!


Sandi T.L. September 23, 2008 at 8:21 pm

I have been battleing with IBS, high blood pressure and weight gain for the past 2 years. After I saw this everything fell into place. In those years I was lovin’ Arizona Diet Green Tea with Ginseng, sweetened with Splenda. I drank a gallon a day. Iused SPLENDA in my ice coffee all summer, in my oatmeal every morning and in any recipes calling for sugar and my I have gained 25 lbs, my IBS is worsening, I’m dehydrated and my blood pressure meds barely show any results. As of today I am OFF the SPLENDA for good. If my health and weight improve I will leave a new comment. Thank you for this opportunity and in helping me empower myself in improving my health. I will be using Blackstrap Molasses for sweetening, it’s nutritious and delicious in many recipes. I use it in my warm soymilk at bedtime. Take care of yourself!
Sandi T.L.


Blair September 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I am a firm believer in Stevia as a sweetner!


JC September 26, 2008 at 6:08 am

@Sandi T.L.

Sandi -

Splenda will not lower your bp, but I have a hutch it's your erythropoitein that is causing your bp to go up. When you don't have enough blood flowing into your kidneys, your kidneys will stimulate an anti-diuretic effect to the brain to cause you to become thirsty. As you drink more water, you're increasing your bp. Based on what you've described, you may want to find out if you are deficient in iron, folate, and/or B12.

And whether it's black molasses or not, sugar is food to the bad bacteria. You are not going to heal the lining of your intestine until you stop feeding food those harmful bacteria. Yes, black molasses does have more minerals and nutritional value than other types of sugar but not enough to be called nutritious, imo. Good luck.


roger January 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I heard they add some chlorine atoms to sugar to make spenda.Anyone know more about this?


Sarah March 8, 2009 at 10:25 am

The ginseng in the tea might have been raising your blood pressure as well.


Sarah March 8, 2009 at 10:26 am

@Sandi T.L.

The ginseng in the tea might have been raising your blood pressure as well.


nithin May 11, 2009 at 3:13 am

please read this


Matt A. July 13, 2009 at 6:09 am

To make a long story short… I broke out in hives on the back of my neck and the side of my face four days ago. Red welps and scabs formed on the side of my neck behind my left ear. I thought it was a heat rash our something to that effect so I was just going to let it heal itself within a few days. During this time my friend and I have been on a new sugarless diet. We started using SPLENDA in our oatmeal. I would use one pack per cooked cup and he would use 6-8 packs. I made fun of him and said he would catch cancer from that much. I went on line as a joke and found "Side effects of SPLENDA" (naturalhealthtechniques.com) and I was SHOCKED!!!!!!!! There it was in my face everything that I had been feeling and could see with my own eyes in a mirror. Even the feeling of 4th of July sparklers hitting my skin…

I know for a fact that SPLENDA caused this to happen to me because I am very stricted with my food intake. The only thing different about my diet in the last 4 weeks is/was SPLENDA in place of brown sugar on my oatmeal.

I took some Benadryl after reading the list and now 5 hours later my swelling has went down, the itching has stopped and the "Sparkler Feeling" has went away.

If anyone doubts me or want's to talk with me please feel free to contact me: mattxoaaron@hotmail.com


Stroke? September 14, 2009 at 10:15 am

Could the ingredient in Splenda cause an accumulation of protiens or other matter in the viens or arteries? Leading to stroke?


Ing April 12, 2010 at 11:27 am

Dr. Lawrence, can you address a couple of the findings of the study, which are that Splenda increases the pH of the gut and reduces the amount of bacteria there? I can't find any links that say how MUCH they fed the rats and for how long. I find it hard to believe, as ruthless as the FDA is, that they would allow this to be sold if it were as bad as some claim. Sugar alcohols cause stomach upset, so does aspirin…seems like limiting consumption is the key.


Linden March 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm

hmmm, im a bodybuilder and ur suppose to drink a gallon of water a day, sadly i hate watter, so instead i take cool aid, witch contains no cals or aspartame so i thought hey y not drink this in my watter, but sadly it dont sweaten the watter u gotta add suger so i thought y not use splenda no aspartame, and here i an drinking more then a gallon of water/coolaid/spenda a day, and me being a bodybuilder i do nothing but treat my nutrition with the best of foods possible, am i effecting my results drinking this?


عالم الجوالات March 31, 2012 at 8:15 am

If I might —perhaps you should consider adding a few images. I don’t mean to disrespect what you’ve said ; its very enlightening, indeed. However, I think would respond to it more positively if they could be something tangible to your ideas


santa September 27, 2012 at 7:00 am

In diet foods which replace the sugar with lower food energy substitutes, there is some controversy based around the possibility that the sugar substitutes used to replace sugar are themselves harmful. Thanks.


Guest March 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I'm trying to lose weight, have a real sweet tooth, and am using Kerr's Mints
sweetened with Splenda to take the place of desserts.
I am eating about 12 a day. That is 75 calories.

I am also having Kidney Problems, and my last blood testing was not good.
GFR went down, Urea and Creatine went up, (considerably)

Is it possible Splenda has anything to do with this?


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