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Artificial sweeteners are very popular, with sucralose (Splenda) being the most widely used artificial sweetener in the US. However, there is increasing evidence that these sweeteners are linked to health problems. Recently, a study found that basically all safety claims by the manufacturer of sucralose are nonsense (deceptive advertising!), and that the sweetener instead can cause health harms.

Health harms from sucralose include: damages DNA (it's genotoxic), it causes "leaky gut" (makes the wall of the gut more permeable), bioaccumulates in the body, leukemia, alters gut microbes, drives glucose intolerance, causes weight gain, increases appetite. decreases insulin sensitivity, metabolic dysfunction, enters into breastmilk of nursing mothers, promotes intestinal inflammation, and more.

Of course the European Union has stricter standards regarding sucralose than the US. (Why am I not surprised?).

The following two articles discuss different aspects of sucralose and its health harms. The one from US Right to Know is worth reading in full.

Excerpts from Medical Xpress: Chemical found in common sweetener damages DNA

A new study finds a chemical formed when we digest a widely used sweetener is "genotoxic," meaning it breaks up DNA. The chemical is also found in trace amounts in the sweetener itself, and the finding raises questions about how the sweetener may contribute to health problems. ...continue reading "Health Risks From Popular Artificial Sweetener"

All of us want to have a healthy gut microbiome (the microbial community of viruses, fungi, and bacteria). For health reasons many people try to lower their intake of sugars. However, ingesting artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners such as stevia, sucralose, aspartame, or saccharin may also have an effect on the body.

A recent study in both humans and mice found that these sugar substitutes cause gut microbiome changes and had an effect on a person's glycemic response (blood sugar levels). Saccharin and sucralose significantly impaired glucose tolerance in healthy adults - it impacted their glycemic response even at doses below FDA allowances (average daily intake or ADI).

The non-nutritive sweeteners also had an effect on the oral (mouth) microbiome. Each sweetener had a different and distinct effect on both oral and gut microbiomes. And the effects varied in each person, due to everyone having a different (unique) microbiome.

Earlier studies found negative health effects from sugar substitutes (e.g., higher incidence of diabetes, higher risk of cancer, gut microbiome changes). So be cautious until more is known. One of this study's researchers suggested drinking only water.

From Medical Xpress: Non-nutritive sweeteners affect human microbiomes and can alter glycemic responses

Since the late 1800s non-nutritive sweeteners have promised to deliver all the sweetness of sugar with none of the calories. They have long been believed to have no effect on the human body, but researchers publishing in the journal Cell on August 19 challenge this notion by finding that these sugar substitutes are not inert, and, in fact, some can alter human consumers' microbiomes in a way that can change their blood sugar levels. ...continue reading "Sugar Substitutes Alter Gut Microbiome"