Why You Should NEVER Use Splenda (Sucralose)

The Dangers of Splenda (Sucralose)

I’m often asked which artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes I prefer. The answer, quite simply, is few of them because splendamost create a wide variety of negative side effects. The newest, Splenda (Sucralose), has its own dangerous history and set of dangerous consequences. The dangers of Sucralose and the side effects of Sucralose cannot be denied. Sucralose is marketed as Splenda. I use both names in this post.

If you’re interested in reading about another common product which research has proved to be dangerous, please read my post: Why You Should Never Use Hand Sanitizer: The Dangers of Triclosan.

Let’s look at some surprising facts about Sucralose:

Sucralose History & Testing

Sucralose was discovered by a grad student in London in 1976 while working on a study focused on creasing new INSECTICIDES. That’s right. Splenda was “accidentally” discovered as part of a research study focused on creating new insecticides. (On a side note, DDT, a poison now banned, has a very similar chemical structure to Sucralose. Doesn’t that sound delicious?) McNeil Nutritionals, the manufacturer of Splenda, claims that 100s of studies were done on Splenda. The truth is that most of those studies were designed and paid for by McNeil (which puts their validity in question) and that almost all the studies were performed on animals, were very short term, and did not test safety but instead tested secondary effects such as tooth decay. The truth is that only six human studies were conducted, the longest of which was three months. (Most people use Splenda far longer.) For more information on the ways research studies and their results are often faulty, please read my post Simple Ways to Evaluate the Validity of a Research Study.

NO studies on Sucralose safety have been conducted on children or pregnant women, in spite of the fact that studies performed on rats showed the offspring of pregnant females fed Splenda had decreased intelligence, smaller sexual organs, failed to thrive and had a variety of behavioral problems. Independent human studies showed Splenda impaired liver function, caused enlarged kidneys and liver, decreased the number of red blood cells in the blood (caused anemia), impaired absorption of essential minerals such as magnesium and potassium, and caused significant shrinkage of the Thymus gland, one of the most important glands involved in immunity. Splenda side effects have also been strongly linked to psychological problems including dementia, severe depression and sleep disorders. Splenda has also been linked to increased rates of autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Diabetes and others. The most common side effect of Splenda is digestive disturbances such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Increased cataract rates were also noted. The biggest insult is that use of Splenda has been linked to … you guessed it … weight gain. An independent study performed at Duke University and published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health confirmed that use of Splenda causes side effects such as weight gain and multiple digestive disorders, some with symptoms as severe as Crohn’s Disease. If you haven’t thrown away your box of Splenda yet, please read on.

Chemical Structure of Sucralose

Proponents of Sucralose claim that it is “natural” because it’s made from sugar. The truth is that chemists took the natural sugar molecule and combined it with chlorine. Chlorine is a known poison which is very commonly used in insecticides and in current and past biological warfare agents. (Remember the Chlorine Gas used in WWII? More recent biological warfare agents still use chlorine but are even more deadly.) McNeil claims chlorine occurs in nature and in our foods, another untruth. The truth is that chlorine only occurs in chemistry labs. Chloride occurs in nature, but only when combined with other chemicals that make it a non-poison. One of the reasons Splenda has no immediate effect on blood sugar is because your body does not recognize it and it cannot be absorbed by the digestive tract. The problem, which McNeil admits, is that your body does absorb 15-18% of the Splenda consumed, but your body has no means to eliminate it because it’s a chemical structure your body was not designed to eliminate. (GMOs loosely fall into this same category, but that’s another topic for another time.) So … your body is absorbing chlorine from Splenda, but the chlorine – a known poison – has an almost indefinite afterlife in your tissues. Tissues and cells which have absorbed a toxic substance do not function correctly. Period.

If those terms were overly simplified, here’s the chemical explanation: To create Splenda, the organic sugar molecule is treated with acetic anhydride, trityl chloride, hydrogen chloride, thionyl chloride and methanol. This all occurs in combination with toluene, dimethylformamide, 4-methylmorpholine, methyl isobutyl ketone, acetic acid, benzyltriammonium chloride, and sodium methoxide. The end result is not a sugar molecule, but is a chlorinated hydrocarbon molecule. The most common uses of chlorinated hydrocarbons include insecticides, chemical solvents and degreasers, and the production of plastics. Many chlorinated hydrocarbons are being banned from industrial use because of their environmental toxicity and because their use accelerates the destruction of the ozone layer. Does that sound like something you want to consume on a daily basis?

Needless to say, Splenda (and Nutrasweet) are banned substances in my home. The side effects and dangers of Splenda are too dangerous to allow. A fairly complete list of commercial products containing Sucralose can be found at: Sucralose US Product List. The list is shockingly huge and contains products aimed at children. This concerns me greatly.

Sugar Substitute Alternatives

My choice of a non-caloric sweetener and sugar substitute that has no glycemic effect is Stevia. Stevia is an herb which is 300 times sweeter than sugar but which has NO side effects. It is the only sweetener (other than coconut sugar and agave nectar) we use in our house. My favorite Stevia is made by SweetLeaf. I carry it with me everywhere. You can purchase it in most groceries or on Amazon at: SweetLeaf Packets or SweetLeaf Liquid.

If you want additional information on the dangers of artificial sweeteners, I highly recommend Dr. Mercola’s book, Sweet Deception. Click the link to learn more about the book.

Just out of curiosity, what sweetener do you use? Have you had negative effects from an artificial sweetener? If so, please share! Help others avoid the danger!






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Dr. Pamela Reilly is a Naturopathic Physician dedicated to helping people improve their health and eliminate symptoms using natural, integrative methods. She has over 25 years of experience and has helped men, women and children improve their health using a holistic, client-centered focus. She sees clients in Indianapolis, does house calls, and also conducts consultations via Skype or telephone. Please feel free to contact her or visit her Consultations page for more information. Dr. Pamela speaks nationwide on a wide variety of health topics and welcomes speaking invitations.

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27 Responses to Why You Should NEVER Use Splenda (Sucralose)

  1. […] Why You Should NEVER Use Splenda โ€ฆ โ€“ The Dangers of Splenda (Sucralose) Iโ€™m often asked which artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes I prefer. The answer, quite simply, is few of them … […]

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  9. […] in learning more about the unpublished dangers in common ingredients, please read my post, Why You Should NEVER Use Splenda (Sucralose). A chemical called Triclosan is the most commonly used antibacterial ingredient used in commercial […]

  10. […] the no-substitute rule is so strong that I carry stevia with me everywhere I go. Read my article on Why You Should Never Use Splenda for more info. […]

  11. Pamela Reilly, Naturopath, CNHP, CNC, CPH says:

    Hi, Donnette. I would encourage you to experiment with different types of stevia instead of going back to sugar. I'm sure eliminating Splenda would have a very positive effect on your health. I wish you well!

  12. donnette says:

    i am really concerned as i consume over 1 cup of splenda daily. should i go back to using sugar instead? i have had problems with facial rashes and was ruled out for lupus recently and i have extreme fatigue depsite working out regularly and eating healthy. i am beginning to wonder if splenda is the culprit. wow, just in shock over all that i have read about the negative side effects of splenda.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Splenda is addictive, I started out using 1 packet a day and now 2 years later I use 60-80 packets a day.

  14. Micole S. says:

    Truvia is NOT "natural" Stevia! It too is a chlorinated molecule!

  15. Deb E says:

    The Only reason this was approved in the USA was because of their lobbyist! Want to make a guess on Who that was?

    ***Donald Rumsfeld ;-(
    Deb Anderson Eastman
    Beating Thyroid Disease with LDN on FaceBook

  16. Anonymous says:

    As a life long diabetic who was raised on cyclamates..and sacharin…I have survived without any of the terrible supposed side effects of sweetners… I currently dont use them very often as i trained myself to not need them. When I do..I use saccharin…It is one of the most studied products in food history. I guess if I was a rat, and ate a lb of it a day,,it would likely be a problem. So would broccolli at high rates… The LDL of table salt is lower….low worse high better. I think that all things in moderation make sense..some sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame are onees I have always avoided. Just never felt good about them…
    Still a saccharin kind of guy…without issue.

  17. xavier says:

    I'll start by saying I'm no fan of Splenda & wouldn't be surprised if it's unhealthy. However…
    That's all interesting & surprising, but you fail to take the important step of explaining HOW SUCH A POISON MAKES IT TO THE SHELVES AT OUR STORES. Especially in light of the supposed facts you present.
    Many of your claims make the product sound horrible, but don't PROVE anything.
    You're spending a lot of time scaring people without providing substance. For example, just because sucralose has a "similar" molecular structure to DDT, doesn't prove or mean anything. Just because McNeil paid for many studies doesn't invalidate those studies nor immediately question their validity -if they are bringing it to market, who else is going to pay to have it studied? Just because chlorine is used in the process, again, doesn't prove anything. If I'm not mistaken chlorine has been in our pools for years -and while that doesn't prove it's safety, it sure adds perspective.
    In addition, you diminish the value of the human studies, ("The truth is that only six human studies were conducted, the longest of which was three months") then later use those same studies to help validate your point of view.
    Because you fail to provide insight as to how this product, makes it past the people hired to protect us, I'm left to say to myself, "huh, there's two sides to every story & probably someone just as convincing on the other side." I generally believe big business is smart enough to recognize short term gains are not worth long term losses particularly after the history of the tobacco industry. I look at everything with extreme scrutiny and believe big business carries that same scrutiny when presented with the next big money maker.
    At the very least I hope my feedback helps you more clearly examine and explain your thoughts when trying to help others.
    FYI, my wife, who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, asked me to read your article.
    Thank you.

  18. Pamela Reilly, Naturopath, CNHP, CNC, CPH says:

    Hi, Michelle. Not a loser … just deceived by the marketing. There are much healthier alternatives, so have fun experimenting with Stevia, Xylitol, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Michelle Morris says:

    I must be the biggest loser, because I use Splenda and I had no idea that I shouldn't. Thank you, Pamela for letting me know.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I use Stevia at home (I like Now's Stevia Glycerite) and often carry packs of SweetLeaf with me but if I'm out and don't have Stevia with me, I use saccharin (the pink stuff).
    A note on Stevia, it's been used for thousands of years by South Americans with no known negative effects and it's teh number one non-sugar sweetener in Japan, has been for years.
    Finally, I LOVE Zevia ๐Ÿ˜€ On my budget, I can't afford to buy it if it's not on sale but when it is I stock up and drink it as a treat.

  21. WinterRose says:

    I love this post! Thank you so much for posting it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Personally, I use pure Stevia extract (both powder and liquid), Erythritol, and Truvia (which is a blend of both Stevia and Erythritol). Both are all natural and have no effect on the body or blood sugar. I very occasionally use blackstrap molasses and agave nectar as well, but have to be very liberal when using agave since it's pure fructose and highly processed.

    It's funny how some people claim that there's no significant research or knowledge about Stevia. That's just not true! Just because America lacks research behind it doesn't mean there isn't any. Other countries around the world have been using Stevia for years before we Americans had even heard about the stuff. Japan, for example, has been using Stevia commercially for years with no adverse effects.

    I really love this article, and now I have something noteworthy to show my mom and dad to convince them to stop using the stuff! For some reason it always takes a third–or fourth–party to convince them that certain things are bad.

  22. Pamela Reilly, Naturopath, CNHP, CNC, CPH says:

    Hi, Callie. I used to be horribly addicted to Diet Coke. Beating that addiction can be harder than beating others, but it is SO worth it. If you avoid them for even a couple of weeks, you will taste nothing but chemicals if you have one. I can't even stand the smell of them now. I wish you the best of luck getting off that train. During the transition, you might want to try Zevia, a soda made with Stevia. Many health food stores carry it. Good luck!

  23. callie says:

    I admit, I an a diet soda addict. It's awful. But lately all diet drinks are starting to taste really gross – like chemicals and plastic. I'm sort of glad, and after reading this I don't want any part of it. I prefer Stevia anyway but breaking the diet soda addiction is really difficult.

  24. Anonymous says:

    You are right, you can't win for losing when you are faced with such ignorance. The production process of these things is evidence enough that I do not want this in my body! I used Splenda for approximately 4 months before my trainer found out through one of our nutrition conversations and freaked out on me; he all but got down on his knees and begged me to throw it away and not buy products whose ingredients contain sucralose. The artificial sweetener misconception is equally rampant and dangerous as the HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) one. Put the information out there and then hope people have the ability to think this one through for themselves. Some will, some won't; afterall, you can't force a horse to drink.

  25. Pamela Reilly, Naturopath, CNHP, CNC, CPH says:

    Thanks for your comments. I DID reference the studies. In past blogs where I shared links to journal articles, I was criticized, so I stopped doing that. It appears I can't win for losing. LOL

    Links follow for journal articles referencing studies that showed Splenda caused adverse health effects:




    Additional journal articles can be found at:


    As for stevia, it is an herb that has been used for 1000s of years. The only known side effect shown in studies and in clinical use is that a small percentage of people with pre-existing allergies to ragweed sometimes experience an allergic reaction to stevia. These reactions are fewer when a stevia extract is used. Additional information about studies done on stevia can be seen at:




  26. Anonymous says:

    Wow Pamela – this is really eye-opening. I use Splenda about once or twice a week but now feel I have to stop. Thanks.

    aka Indygirl57

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