Those affected by excessive body weight and diabetes depend heavily on non-caloric sweeteners which are available to day in abundance. These include Aspartame, Sucralose and Stevia. Though from time to time safety issues regarding their continued use do crop up, by and large they are considered fairly safe based on present scientific data. Against such a background comes a new report which raises serious doubts about the safety of Sucralose, a chlorinated compound widely used across the world. According to this new study, Sucralose tends to generate a toxic chemical when used in heated, fried and baked foods that can be a causative factor in developing cancer. Scary indeed!. Here is the gist of these findings which must be carefully considered by its users though it may need further confirmation by other studies.
"A study review recently published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health says that baking or cooking with Splenda releases cancer-causing dioxins into the food. The process of heating and cooking generates chloropropanols, a potentially toxic class of chemicals that may be linked to higher risk of cancer. The study also found that sucralose reduces the quantity of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract; and it does get metabolized in the GI tract, despite earlier studies claiming that sucralose passes through the body without undergoing metabolism. Both humans and rats exhibited changes in glucose and insulin levels after ingesting sucralose. The researchers stated: "These findings indicate that sucralose is not a biologically inert compound." This is bad news for Splenda manufacturer McNeil Nutritionals, which had promoted the earlier, above-mentioned study claiming that ingested sucralose is not metabolized. McNeil had also funded all long-term animal-feeding studies up until 2012, when an independent Italian group of researchers came along and found that sucralose increased levels of leukemia when eaten by rats. Although the Italian study has not yet been published (it's pending review right now), it has been influential enough to cause the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to downgrade sucralose in its 'Chemical Cuisine' ranking of food additives. Sucralose has fallen from "safe" to "cautionary" status. The CSPI warns the public that artificial sweeteners are prolific and often not disclosed on front labels, so it's important to read the list of ingredients carefully".
Health conscious consumers are advised to avoid consumption of products containing Sucralose which can be discerned by careful reading of the ingredients list, often pushed to the back side of the label. The manufacturers of Sucralose have not yet come forward with any clarification, though many critics believe that they had these data with them before which were suppressed during the clearance process. Earlier there was also some criticism regarding the desirability of using a chlorinated organic compound like Sucralose in foods as most insecticide chemicals also belong to this class of compounds. Consumers implicitly trust the regulatory authorities when clearance is given for a food additive and if Sucralose eventually proves to be a hazardous food ingredient, the confidence on these agencies is likely to be jolted!. Sooner some clarity emerges on this issue better it will be for all concerned.