Do you know what your children are eating?

So asks the ubiquitous anti-Splenda advertisements.
These ads go on to say:

Splenda’s advertising claims that it is “Made from Sugar, so it Tastes Like Sugar.” What it doesn’t tell you is that Splenda is not natural, it’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener.

Since rational people don’t want to send their kids off to school with a lunch box full of swimming pool disinfectant, these ads have gotten a lot of attention.
What is the real truth behind the Splenda and chlorine? Let’s look at the evidence.
But before we do, I want to lay out my position. First, MD and I don’t own any stock in the companies that manufacture or sell Splenda. We don’t sell it. We have no financial involvement with Splenda in any way. Second, we do use it. We don’t use a ton of it because we would rather do without sweets of any kind as much as possible. But, when we do want to sweeten something, we use Splenda as our artificial sweetener of choice. Unlike aspartame Splenda is heat stable so we can cook with it, and unlike aspartame it doesn’t break down into toxic substances. In fact, very little of it is absorbed. And we have never had patients who had problems with Splenda as we have had with aspartame. We first found out about Splenda in Canada back in the mid 1980s when we attended a medical conference in Toronto. Splenda was in use at that time in Canada and has subsequently been approved for use here in the U.S., and since then tens of millions of people have used it without major problems showing up. We have never seen anything in the medical literature showing that Splenda is in any way harmful. So, we don’t have a problem with Splenda, and until we find something that changes our minds, we’ll continue to use it as our artificial sweetener of choice.
Now on to the Splenda attack ads.
These ads are the brainchild of Rick Masters, a former Democratic operative who has gone into the public relations business. He was profiled last March in the Atlantic Monthly in an article entitled “J-School for Jerks,” which was a piece about how Mr. Masters conducts a course for people who want to be the next Bill O’Reilly. Mr. Masters works for Qorvis Communications, a large, Washington, DC based public relations firm.
Qorvis Communications and Mr. Masters were hired by non other than the sugar lobby to mount an attack against Splenda. Why the sugar lobby would want to attack the folks who make Splenda, I can’t imagine.
Mr. Masters and “a group of concerned consumers, led by sugar cane and sugar beet farmers across America” (read: Sugar Association, the sugar lobby) put up a website purporting to tell the horrible truth about Splenda. But does this website tell the truth or is it simply sugar lobby propaganda? Let’s take a look.
We can forget about all the posturing and all the doctors and others who are on the site claiming that Splenda is a menace because that’s all lip service. Let’s cut to the chase, to the real nitty gritty.
The main attack against Splenda is that it is a chlorinated artificial sweetener. Is that true? Well, yes and no. It is chlorinated, which, as we’ll see shortly, doesn’t mean squat. And it is really a sugar molecule, so it really isn’t an artificial sweetener as is, for example, saccharine. It’s artificial in the same way a bowl of ice cream with artificial flavors added is artificial. The bulk of the ice cream is made with cream, milk, and sugar, so does the little bit of artificial vanilla extract make the whole shebang artificial? I don’t think so. But in Splenda’s case, the additive isn’t even really artificial.
But what about the chlorine? That sounds like the real problem. It can’t be good to consume chlorine.
First of all, every time you eat salt, half of what you are eating is chlorine. Common table salt is sodium chloride, half sodium and half chlorine (since the chlorine is in its ionic form it’s called chloride). Chloride is a natural substance. In fact chlorine is one of the elements in the periodic table. No one would consider salt artificial, so how can chloride – a natural element – be artificial?
So, Splenda isn’t really an artificial sweetener. If anything it would be more accurately called a chemically altered sweetener.
Splenda is made by replacing three hydroxyl groups (and oxygen-hydrogen combination) on a sucrose (common table sugar) molecule with three chloride ions. By doing so, the sweetening power of the sugar is increased by a factor of about 600. So, in actuality, when you consume Splenda, you consume real sugar, but because of the huge increase in sweetening power only about 1/600th of what you normally would . Instead of a teaspoon it would be a tiny grain.
But what about the extra chlorine? Doesn’t that cause any kind of problem.
Well, you do eat salt don’t you. A teaspoon of salt contains many thousands of times more chlorine than you would get from the teaspoon of sugar equivalent of Splenda.
If you want even more evidence that the tiny amount of chloride in the Splenda is harmless consider that like with blood sugar you have about a teaspoon of chloride circulating in your blood at any given time, which is more than 20,000 times the amount you would get from a dose of Splenda. How do we figure this?
A normal value for chloride as a component of an electrolyte panel (common lab measurement of blood that doctors often look at) is about 100 mEq/L. One mEq of chloride equals about 35 mg. 35 mg times 100 equals 3500 mg. One teaspoon is about 4000 mg, so 100 mEq of chloride is a little less than one teaspoon.
So, knowing what we now know, it’s easy to see who is telling the truth about Splenda. With the above in mind, let’s look at a particularly egregious example of truth stretching on the sugar lobby-underwritten, anti-Splenda website:

Fiction: The chlorine found in Splenda is similar to that found in other foods we eat.

Fact: The manufacturer of Splenda claims that chlorine is naturally present in such foods as lettuce, mushrooms and table salt, but they never directly state that eating Splenda is the same as eating these foods. Remember, Splenda is not a natural substance, it is an artificial chemical sweetener manufactured by adding three chlorine atoms to a sugar molecule.

Would you trust your health to the sugar lobby?


  1. You mean the same type of people that tell me if I eat bowls of “Total” I will lose weight and lower my cholesterol?
    Heck no!!

  2. I’m a little nervous posting this comment because if I’m not careful I’ll be in violation of my numero uno New Year’s resolution — to express myself in a positive manner. (Of course, the “whenever possible” part of the resolution is implied. Most of my resolutions have loopholes. In fact, I sometimes think the only requirement that I have for a resolution or any positive statement that inexplicably slips through my cranky check-valve is that I leave all my thousands of qualifiers unstated.)
    So I’ll start by violating resolution number two — don’t be a toady. (Except when necessary. Of course.) Your post was both highly informative and an easy read for a layman such as yours truly. As we like to say around Santa Barbara, it was positively Eadesian. And not that there can be any doubt, but just to make sure that I’m in clear violation of #2, and because I just can’t resist, a truly Splendid job Mike.
    Back to numero uno. What about the taste? I wouldn’t begin to think I could successfully argue any science with you (numero dos), but I think any discussion of a food that is a substitute for a taste-treat like sugar has to hit on whether it tastes good. Splenda can have a back-end taste that says, like a note left on your windshield, “sorry, I’ve tapped your rear bumper…” It may be the best substitute, but it still doesn’t win the taste challenge when compared to sugar and I think that should be said. Like you, I believe in trying to avoid sweets as much as possible, but my school of reduction is not one of substitution. Eat less sugar, do without as much as possible, but when you are feeling seriously denied and in danger of committing a felonious dietary act, enjoy fully a moderate amount of the unadulterated product. Truth in materials is what works; it’s Zen In the Art of Long Term Diet. I’m reminded of what a young friend once said to me when discussing his future in the construction business, “Jim, I’m in it for the long haul”. I’m with you Mike on the total avoidance of high fructose corn syrup and other similar poisons, but I’m afraid a little sugar, now and then, is part of my Long Haul Diet.

    1. Wow, for a doctor, one would expect that you would remember a little bit more about organic chemistry and general chemistry. There’s a massive difference between a covalent bond (as between chlorine and carbon in Splenda) and an ionic bond (as between sodium and chlorine in table salt) and the way the body can or can’t break them down.

      1. The fact that it’s a covalent bond and can’t be broken down by the human body is a good thing. That’s why there are no calories. I don’t see what your point is.

        1. Well, the body not being able to process it is likely the reason that it frequently causes serious digestive problems, so that would seem to be an important distinction.

          1. Depends what you mean by “not being able to process it” If it mean that it simply passes through the body and is not absorbed in any way, then it wouldn’t have any effect. Right?

  3. Sugar cane/beet processing to get white table sugar isn’t exactly “natural” either. After being mashed up, boiled, and stripped of all fiber, the sugar solution is clarified by the addition of phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide, which combine to precipitate calcium phosphate. Do the sugar lobbyists mention that?

  4. I’m in James’s camp on this one. I read through the blog, and thought that I really can’t see the point in all this debate on Splenda when the stuff just tastes so horrible. Obviously it’s not a problem for a lot of people, but it tastes very unpleasant to me, even over strong flavours like espresso.

  5. I like the taste — much better than Nutrasweet. I primarily use it in jam for toast and occasionally in syrup for toaster waffles. And for a real treat, in ice cream. Baked some muffins using it — they were yum-yum delicious.
    Everybody’s taste buds are different…
    If anything, sugar is more addictive — eating sugar makes you want to eat more sugar. I don’t get that from Splenda — it satisfies my sweet tooth, without fueling an urge to gorge on it.
    Thanks for the clear-headed information.

  6. I totally agree with you Dr. Eades, I actually like the taste and finished products of Splenda then those made of real sugar.
    I have been cooking dessert?s with Splenda for about 2 years now for my family during holiday’s and NOT A SINGLE PERSON has even noticed a difference in the taste or texture.
    I even use Splenda in making Nut Brittles! 1/2 Splenda, 1/2 Brown Sugar, Flax, Pumpkin Seeds, Dried Fruit, and whatever else I have on hand.
    It is sweeter then all-sugar nut brittles but I use so little syrup compared to the amount of dry goods that it equals out and crushes into a snack like loose granola.
    My opinion on Splenda is the same as Tobacco:
    If it is going to kill me then either BAN it out right or leave me alone with my “poison”!
    Too many people I know LIKE being sheep and believe everything they are told and spew that misinformation back at me all the time…
    I hear that Splenda will cause cancer, depression, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, neurological damage, INCREASE insulin resistance and cause diabetes because your still produce insulin to counter the “Sweet” because your brain thinks that you are eating real sugar…
    You name it and Splenda causes it… Next it will be plane crashes and school shootings…
    I don’t get it. Do we Americans have SO much time on our hands and so few problems that we have to create controversy over Splenda??

    1. I have been using Splenda as my only sweetener for over ten years and have never noticed this so-called horrible taste. I am a type two diabetic and its virtues have been explained to me by both my GP and my cardiologist. In my case there is no doubt that sugar is far more of a danger to my health than Splenda.
      I am of the opinion that most allergies to Splenda are akin to supposed allergies to MSG. I lived for many years in Japan and saw shakers of MSG on restaurant tables like shakers of salt. I have used it liberally and with impunity for over fifty years.
      In scientific controlled experiments people who claimed to be sensitive to MSG were only bothered when they knew it was in what they were eating. I am almost convinced that allergies to both Splenda and MSG are merely psychosomatic.

  7. Is there a sweetener(xylitol,splenda,et al)that is relatively harmless???
    If we use an artificial sweetener, we use Splenda. We sometimes use xylitol or erythritol, but not in large amounts.
    Take a look at MD’s blog; she has several posts on the virtues and failings of a number of sweeteners.

  8. Dear Dr. Eades
    I have read a few articles and posts about people who get “severe” depression after starting to use Splenda. When they discontinue its use the depression goes away. These people indicate that they had never suffered from depression before and that Splenda was the “only” thing they had done differently with their diet.
    About two years ago I started coming down with severe depression and memory loss. But there was no real reason, no problem in my life.
    I eventually had to seek medical aid, get on Prozac for a few months and finally take 5HTP every day to keep it under control.
    I just realized that two years ago was the exact time I stopped eating sugar and began using Splenda and Nutrasweet as my sweeteners of choice.
    I drink diet sodas with Nutrasweet and use Splenda in my coffee. Could this be the cause of my problems? I think I will eliminate all these sweeteners for a month and see what happens.
    Any comments would be welcome.
    HI Jack–
    I have witness first hand a number of problems that patients (and even a fellow physician I worked with) have had after consuming aspartame (Nutrasweet). I have never seen a problem with Splenda, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cause problems in some people. If you are one of those people, and it sounds like you are, I would avoid it like the plague.

  9. I know a lot of people complain about the taste of Splenda, including a number of my friends. Yet when I bake using the 1/2 Splenda, 1/2 sugar mix… well, I have yet to find anyone that can tell the difference, including the naysayers. The same actually seems to go for certain products that use Splenda alone. It really is a winner among options for my family– both of my parents are diabetic and absolutely love it, though they disliked the taste of the various artificial sweeteners.
    Hi turelie–
    Thanks for the Splenda tip.  I suppose that half the sugar is better than all the sugar, but I would prefer no sugar at all.

  10. It might have chlorine atoms in it, but that’s fine.
    There’s a difference between sending a kid to school with a bottle of pure water, and sending a kid to school with two bottles: one of Hydrogen, the other Oxygen.
    When multiple atoms combine to create another substance, the properties of the substance changes dramatically. And since Splenda doesn’t release the chlorine atoms, I don’t see a problem.
    Hi Bob–

  11. I have also read a few articles and posts about people who get severe depression after starting to use Splenda. During the process of working for my Ph.D. I became so depressed that I had to take 300 mg of Zoloft a day. I eventually weaned myself off the SSRIs but became extremely overweight in the process.
    When I finally found the Atkins diet, I began using Splenda as a sweetener, per Dr. Atkins’ advice. No, it’s not sugar, but it’s a tolerable substitute. I have it every day in shakes, sodas and as a sweetener in coffee. It’s a lifesaver for me when cravings hit. And in my case, anyway, it doesn’t cause depression. It may very well cause depression in some people, but it doesn’t cause depression in every person.
    In closing, thanks for your great explanation of the molecular characteristics of Splenda! Once you realize that half of table salt (NaCl) is chloride, it kinds of takes the scariness out of the Splenda.
    Hi Marilyn–
    Thanks for the comment.  I think it’s probably best to avoid any kind of artificial sweeteners, but if you’re going to use one, I think Splenda is the best choice.

  12. Each time I’ve eaten Splenda, I’ve developed stomach cramps so severe that I feared I would need to visit the ER. I really wish that there was a better sweetener out there.
    Hi Janet–
    I guess you’re one of the unfortunate ones who have a reaction to Splenda.  Most people seem to be able to tolerate it pretty well.
    If you haven’t tried it, try stevia.  The drops are better – in my opinio – than the powder.  Less bitter, at least.  And you can try erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol that doesn’t absorb as much as some of the others do.  Google natural sweeteners and see what you come up with.

    1. I find that using granulated splenda causes digestion problems but the packets don’t. I think it must be their fillers. Might want to try that.

  13. I get real sick, when I eat anything with Splenda…I use stevia. I do love cooking with the Splenda brown sugar…use it to brown my great!(Hubby loves it) I have read somewhere also that Splenda thickens the Thymus gland? GREAT ARTICLE!
    Hi Siddy–
    I’ve never heard that Splenda has any effect on the thymus whatsoever.

  14. Hello, everyone!
    I first experienced symptoms from Splenda when eating low carb ice cream products sweetened with Splenda. I would have severe stomach cramps and diarrhea for two days afterwards, but I orginally credited this to the low carb milk product, not the Splenda.
    When I started watching my carb intake, I also starting using an increased amount of Splenda from diet drinks and from frozen low carb treats during my diet. I became more and more depressed and lethargic and my abdomen swelled, which has never happened to me previously. When I discontinued all artificial sweetners and began drinking water, ALL OF THE SYMPTOMS DISAPPEARED!!! If I have to have a sweetner, I use stevia or a small amount of organic cane sugar. I am a healthy person who takes no prescription drugs, so this is an easy call.
    I agree with Kevin Trudeau on this point: we should try to eliminate artificial sweetners and non-organic foods from our diets as much as possible. Thanks for all of the good information about Splenda!!!

  15. I am curious what you all think of Stevia. Unlike most of you, I adore sugar, but realize how bad it is for me in large quantities. I make chemical cocktails in my coffee using stevia and splenda, and it comes out very sweet.
    I think Stevia is fine.  Some people are bothered by its bitterness, but it poses no health risk that I know of.  It’s certainly better than sugar.

  16. Hi,
    Lately I keep hearing from various people that splenda never really leaves your body? It sounds very foolish to me because as I believe it Splenda isn’t absorbed by the body and therefore should pass through wholely. Am I wrong? Does this pose a serious threat to my health?
    Hi Nick–
    You’re right.  Splenda isn’t absorbed so you don’t have to worry about it never leaving your body.  Unless you are one of those people who have an idiosyncratic reaction to Splenda, I don’t think it’s a risk to your health.  If you are one of those people, you would have figured it out by now.

  17. Stevia works for me – Sweet Leaf brand has a clear liquid that is filtered so it has no aftertaste. There is also flavored stevia offered by them such as dark chocolate and orange. Need to remember that it is 300 times sweeter than sugar so only a few drops are needed.

  18. I’ve found Xyletol to have about a 1:1 ratio. I haven’t used it in baking or anything like that yet but for coffee and tea – it is bang-on. Give it a try.
    I have. It works great.

  19. I am one of the people who had a very bad reaction to Splenda. I started using it frequently last fall as part of my weight loss program. I began to experience irritability, depression, and a general feeling of coming apart at the seams. I attributed it to PMS, and resolved to ask my doctor at my annual exam.
    Within the past two weeks, things got much, much worse, and I was getting extremely depressed – having thoughts that no one liked me, that I was alone, that I wanted to run off, leaving my DH and 3 kids behind (not suicide, just run off and be alone).
    I was just about to call my doctor when I remembered seeing info online a couple of years ago linking Splenda to depression in some people. I decided to cut out Splenda and see if it helped.
    Now it is a mere 2 days later, and I feel like I am back to normal! I’m no longer irritable, anxious, depressed, or feeling like I’m spinning out of control. I will NEVER eat Splenda again, and am going to try to stay away from all artificial sweeteners because I fear having this happen again.
    It is frightening to think that I could have kept on eating this and taking antidepressants to try to counteract the side effects. I’m glad I figured it out before I went that route!
    Hi Vicki–
    I’m glad you figured it out, too. I’ve haven’t seen many bizarre reactions to Splenda in my patients, but, as your case makes evident, they do occur. Thanks for the report.

    1. I guess I’m one of the unlucky ones; I’ve had bad reactions to both aspartame and sucralose, with the latter being much more obvious. Talk about bizarre–it causes, and to keep from being long-winded, I won’t put here the reasons I finally settled on Splenda being the culprit–in me, pain in certain areas of my body (always the same ones), the worst being my lower back. The pain there is so marked that I have to use crutches to get around, until I stop using sucralose.
      Saccharine doesn’t *seem* to cause problems; however, I don’t know what it’s doing silently. Stevia I haven’t really used enough yet to sure about. Sugar alcohols tend to make me run for the bathroom. Do I have to give up saccharine? I will if I must, but I do so like my mostly-decaf coffee in the mornings…
      All that being said, I have a history of food allergies and sensitivities. Splenda doesn’t seem to affect my husband. Speaking of which, I started getting hives all over when I started low carbing this time around. It doesn’t seem food related, as elimination of practically everything at one time or anotherdoesn’t help, and I can get them in the middle of the night as well as other times. ???
      Well, I *tried* not to be long-winded.

      1. Erythritol is a better sugar alcohol, it has less of the side effects because 80% is elminated unchanged in the urine so it is about 0.2 calories per gram. It has a slight cooling effect and you have to powder it in the blender or buy it already powdered if you can find it. It is less sweet, about 2/3 as sweet so you need to use more of it than you would sugar or Splenda. Truvia is a stevia/erythritol blend.

  20. I wonder if some of the mood reactions are actually caused by the regime change indicated by the switch to Splenda. Dramatically reducing sugar may well have mood altering results.
    Xylitol similar sweeteners are acknowledged to cause bloating/gas or bowel cramps in many people: Note the “may have a laxative effect if taken in quantity” label on some of these products. We should check that the Splenda products we think are causing abdominal pain are not sweetener cocktails.

  21. I have been using splenda for years with no adverse reactions . It tastes great to me and my family . I like the splenda opposed to sugar . Sugar has put weight on me and my wife ,as we started using splenda we noticed that the pounds didnt kreep up on us as fast so well take our chances

  22. Splenda in the packet, makes my kidneys hurt. I know, sounds weird. But, I went on and off Splenda several times to test this. What will happen when I am using it, is whatever side I am lying on when I wake up, my back in the kidney area on that side will be aching. To the point that if I am trying to sleep in on a weekend, it will wake me. It will feel better after voiding. But, when I am not using Splenda, it doesn’t do it at all.
    So, I don’t use it anymore.
    I can’t use aspartame. It tears my stomach up (cramps/diarrhea) . I found out it was in REGULAR gum along with the sugar that way. I chewed a couple of pieces of my DH’s gum and had symptoms. Since we aren’t into wood alcohol or formaldehyde, he doesn’t chew gum anymore either. It hasn’t been in hubba bubba yet.

  23. Please address the points made by my chemist friend below. I’ve been consuming Splenda for quite a while now and am trying to get at the truth.
    “Whew! Generally I like Dr Eades, but this is annoying.
    > it is really a sugar molecule, so it really isn’t an artificial sweetener as
    is, for example, saccharine
    As soon as you replace the hydroxyls with the chlorine, it ceases to be a sugar
    molecule. It becomes something else, something that has never been made before
    in nature, so it is therefore artificial.
    >The bulk of the ice cream is made with cream, milk, and sugar, so does
    the little bit of artificial vanilla extract make the whole shebang
    This analogy is flawed, because the chlorine is not just mixed in alongside
    sugar, but has altered the structure of the sugar itself, making it no longer
    sugar. The artificial vanilla does not alter the cream, milk, or sugar it is
    blended with.
    >Common table salt is sodium chloride, half sodium and half chlorine
    (since the chlorine is in its ionic form it’s called chloride).
    Chloride is a natural substance. In fact chlorine is one of the
    elements in the periodic table. No one would consider salt artificial,
    so how can chloride – a natural element – be artificial?
    Two points here. One – all elements are natural. Uranium is natural. Cadmium
    is natural. Arsenic is natural. Everything coming out of every pesticide
    laboratory; everything in existence in the universe in fact – is formed from
    elements, all of which are found on the periodic table! – so therefore natural.
    By that argument. Plastic is natural. Cars are natural. GMO seeds are natural.
    By that argument. I don’t think this is what *we* mean when we say “natural.”
    Two – chlorine and chloride are indeed two forms of the same element, but they
    have vastly different chemical properties, and to claim that because our bodies
    need and use chloride that therefore there is no danger from chlorine in other
    forms is simplistic and specious. Chlorine gas is formed from two chlorine
    atoms covalently bound – natural chlorine! found on the periodic table! but it
    will kill you very fast. Many on this list work very hard to remove chlorine
    from their water. Not chloride, which is innocuous. Chloride is easy to excrete
    via the kidneys. Chlorine is *never* found with a covalent bond in living
    systems. Our livers get very stressed trying and trying to detox these compounds
    to no avail. To cite chloride levels in cellular fluid and blood, and then
    compare that to chlorine values in Splenda is apples and oranges and
    meaningless. He even says “the tiny amount of chloride in the Splenda” – and
    there is no chloride in Splenda!
    It’s chlorine, a whole different critter. I hate to think he’s purposefully
    muddying the waters, but as a Dr he should know better and know to be careful in
    his terminology.

  24. From one concerned physician to another, I hereby post an article from a physician and biochemist, James Bowen, M.D., on the potential health hazards of Splenda. I’ll detail my own anecdotes on Splenda, as it relates to my own health and those of others whom I know have been affected, in a second post. Please read!
    By James Bowen, M.D.
    Posted: 08 May 2005
    James Bowen, M.D., A physician, biochemist, and survivor of aspartame poisoning warns about yet another synthetic sweetener, Splenda.
    Hawaii, May 8, 2005 — The chemical sucralose, marketed as “Splenda”, has replaced aspartame as the #1 artificial sweetener in foods and beverages. Aspartame has been forced out by increasing public awareness that it is both a neurotoxin and an underlying cause of chronic illness worldwide. Dr. James Bowen, Researcher and biochemist, reports:
    “Splenda/sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Common chlorocarbons include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride, all deadly. Chlorine is nature’s Doberman attack dog, a highly excitable, ferocious atomic element employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas and hydrochloric acid.
    “Sucralose is a molecule of sugar chemically manipulated to surrender three hydroxyl groups (hydrogen + oxygen) and replace them with three chlorine atoms. Natural sugar is a hydrocarbon built around 12 carbon atoms. When turned into Splenda it becomes a chlorocarbon, in the family of Chlorodane, Lindane and DDT.
    “It is logical to ask why table salt, which also contains chlorine, is safe while Splenda/sucralose is toxic? Because salt isn’t a chlorocarbon. When molecular chemistry binds sodium to chlorine to make salt carbon isn’t included. Sucralose and salt are as different as oil and water.
    “Unlike sodium chloride, chlorocarbons are never nutritionally compatible with our metabolic processes and are wholly incompatible with normal human metabolic functioning. When chlorine is chemically reacted into carbon-structured organic compounds to make chlorocarbons, the carbon and chlorine atoms bind to each other by mutually sharing electrons in their outer shells. This arrangement adversely affects human metabolism because our mitochondrial and cellular enzyme systems are designed to completely utilize organic molecules containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and other compatible nutritional elements.
    “By this process chlorocarbons such as sucralose deliver chlorine directly into our cells through normal metabolization. This makes them effective insecticides and preservatives. Preservatives must kill anything alive to prevent bacterial decomposition.”
    Dr. Bowen believes ingested chlorocarbon damage continues with the formation of other toxins: “Any chlorocarbons not directly excreted from the body intact can cause immense damage to the processes of human metabolism and, eventually, our internal organs. The liver is a detoxification organ which deals with ingested poisons. Chlorocarbons damage the hepatocytes, the liver’s metabolic cells, and destroy them.
    In test animals Splenda produced swollen livers, as do all chlorocarbon poisons, and also calcified the kidneys of test animals in toxicity studies. The brain and nervous system are highly subject to metabolic toxicities and solvency damages by these chemicals. Their high solvency attacks the human nervous system and many other body systems including genetics and the immune function. Thus, chlorocarbon poisoning can cause cancer, birth defects, and immune system destruction. These are well known effects of Dioxin and PCBs which are known deadly chlorocarbons.”
    Dr. Bowen continues: “Just like aspartame, which achieved marketplace approval by the Food and Drug Administration when animal studies clearly demonstrated its toxicity, sucralose also failed in clinical trials with animals. Aspartame created brain tumors in rats. Sucralose has been found to shrink thymus glands (the biological seat of immunity) and produce liver inflammation in rats and mice.
    “In the coming months we can expect to see a river of media hype expounding the virtues of Splenda/sucralose. We should not be fooled again into accepting the safety of a toxic chemical on the blessing of the FDA and saturation advertising. In terms of potential long-term human toxicity we should regard sucralose with its chemical cousin DDT, the insecticide now outlawed because of its horrendous long term toxicities at even minute trace levels in human, avian, and mammalian tissues.
    “Synthetic chemical sweeteners are generally unsafe for human consumption. This toxin was given the chemical name “sucralose” which is a play on the technical name of natural sugar, sucrose. One is not the other. One is food, the other is toxic; don’t be deceived.”
    Dr. Bowen also calls attention to another seldom recognized and deadly permanent effect of these chemicals: “Aspartame, sold as NutraSweet, Equal, E951, Canderel, Benevia and under other names, is a hypersensitization agent which causes Polychemical Sensitivity syndrome. Chlorocarbons strongly induce uncurable hypersensitivity diseases which are now becoming rampant.” (James Bowen, M.D.)
    Doctor Bowen has spent 20 years researching artificial sweeteners after his use of aspartame resulted in being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Dr Bowen’s intention is to warn the world of the toxicity of tabletop poisons like aspartame, Splenda and Neotame.
    This article available at:

    1. Dr. Bowen is a charlatan. There is more misinformation on the web about sweeteners than anything other than the new health care legislation. I don’t like drug pushers either, but the addicts in both cases bear some responsibility.
      I particularly liked the comment, “from my perspective it causes cancer.” From a perspective? Either there is evidence or there isn’t.
      Ignorance can be cured but stupid is forever.

  25. I would say if there is something in food that is not natural, then the the food is not natural.–not 100% natural, and neither is splenda.
    Let’s keep in mind splenda is still pretty new, and there haven’t been many studies on it. The longest study was probably 3 months long, and it has never been studied on pregnant women or children.
    None of us (including doctors) know about it enough to have definitive opinion about it. No one can say that it is perfectly safe, just as well that we can’t say it is completely unsafe. It’s still a mystery.
    It is simply too soon to rationalize that just because adverse reactions have not been reported, as this doctor suggests, that it must be safe. However, all of us who have read this can say we have heard of adverse reactions from splenda, and that is enough for me. ( Actually, I have heard that t has been linked to gastrointestinal problems) Why take the chance?
    As for me I will stay away from it. I use Sweetleaf Sweetener stevia. I’ve used liquid and powder, and neither form has an aftertaste!

  26. The molecular structure is just as important is the individual components. Salt has an ionic bond, while sucralose has a covalent bond. “It is this same covalent carbon-chlorine bond that is found in pesticides, and also in some relatively less harmful components like cancer drugs, antibiotics or fungicides; but keep in mind that although all of these other compounds may not be as harmful as eating DDT, the common denominator behind all these drugs containing a carbonchlorine bond is to poison life – or to kill something in one way or another.”

  27. Thank you for this information! Since I feel that you do know what you’re talking about, I’m trusting this. That doesn’t mean I won’t look for independent proof of what you’ve dumbed-down for fools like me, but I know I’m on the right track with you! Cheers!

  28. I am a diabetic who has been using Splenda for a number of years with no obvious side effects. I have noticed no pronounced aftertaste. I think the benefits of Splenda satisfying my craving for sweets without sending my blood glucose levels through the ceiling far outweigh any potential risk.
    I love the fact that Splenda can be substituted for sugar in like volume in recipes. I eat very few sweets but an occasional small sliver of sugarless cheesecake is a welcome addition to my diet.
    I sing the praises of Splenda!

  29. I am the grandmother of two diabetic children. The eldest has been diabetic for 15 of his 17 years. He was diagnosed last fall with MS. We are considering that the MS might have been caused by his ingestion of aspartame in soda and jello and etc; over 15 years.
    I should think, considering the amount of artificial sweeteners used by Diabetics over the decades that Doctors would be able to tell if Diabetics are developing cancers and other autoimmune disorders at a greater rate than the general population.
    Can anyone respond to this? Thank you, Grandmother J

  30. Using splenda has caused my right foot to swell almost to the point where I could not walk. Stopped using it and the pain and swelling went away. Will stop using this product.

  31. I am skeptical that occasional use of splenda poses any problem. I eat well, getting plenty of good quality fats and adequate protein, so I am not subject to frequent sweets cravings. I only use splenda so that I can make a dessert that I can eat at thanksgiving and christmas, rather than have nothing and have to watch everyone pigging on sugary desserts. I m sure that like everything else effect are dose dependent. Many things can become toxic if consumed in large doses frequently. I get IBS from eating sugar and starchy carbs and simply cannot eat it. It is not just a weight issue. Eating low carb, no grain/starch keeps the colitis away. I don’t have any negative effects from the rare uses of splenda, like 2 to four times a year. Im sure if I didn’t have it I would succumb to all the sugar pigging going on around me and indulge and it would be far worse for me than the little bit of splenda.

  32. This is inaccurate. I recently began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune and neurological disorders after I replaced my sugar with Splenda. It has caused a range of symptoms and immense suffering. I am a believer that Splenda might have caused this sudden appearance of debilitating symptoms. Perhaps some are more sensitive to Splenda than others.
    “It is logical to ask why table salt, which also contains chlorine, is safe while Splenda/sucralose is toxic? Because salt isn’t a chlorocarbon. When molecular chemistry binds sodium to chlorine to make salt carbon isn’t included. Sucralose and salt are as different as oil and water. –

    1. Splenda caused me panic attacks in 1 week.
      Can’t wait for them to clear. Does anyone know how long this will be ?

  33. I’m going to be blunt. I find it very disturbing how blatantly inaccurate this article is about sucralose. As a doctor, he should know better, which is why I can’t help but wonder if he’s deliberately misleading (and that’s a nice word) his readers. Sucralose is not natural. It ceases to be sugar when the 3 chlorine molecules are added to each sugar molecule. It is not sugar, it is just another chemical artificial sweetener like saccahrin, contrary to what he says. As I recall, you can go to and even they admit, that their sweetener is not natural.
    Furthermore, chloride and chorine are not the same thing. Choride, as that in salt, is in ionic bond, while chlorine in sucralose is in a covalent bond. How elements are bonded together are just as important, if not more so, than the elements themselves. The chlorine in sucralose makes it a chlorocarbon in the same class as DDT, mustard gas, and agent orange. It is the only one of its kind approved for human consumption. Sucralose was actually originally developed to be an insecticide.
    I’m not a doctor, but it is my business to know the differences between sweeteners, including their chemical make-up as I work for Wisdom Natural Brands, the makers of SweetLeaf Stevia. This doctor should know better, which is why even though he begins the article saying he doesn’t work for the people or get any compensation from them, I can’t help question his motives–or maybe he really doesn’t know better?

    1. Oh course Splenda is not natural, it was created by humans just as many other things we eat. Your argument is flawed in many ways and full of logical fallacies. By stating the Spenda is not “natural” means nothing by itself. The fact that it contains a covalent bond means nothing as well. It only means that it passes through the digestive system without being absorbed which is a good thing since you get the sweetness without the calories. The chlorine molecules in Splenda do not make it toxic like mustard gas or DDT as you say. If you eat meat, vegetables, bread, pasta, ice cream or various snack foods, you already eat chlorine. It’s just another element on the periodic table. Also the claim you made about it being developed as an insecticide is just plain false, untrue and made up. Lastly, you say “it is my business to know the differences between sweeteners, including their chemical make-up as I work for Wisdom Natural Brands, the makers of SweetLeaf Stevia” I suggest you do more homework if this is your business. You insinuate that this doctor has other motives for writing this article yet you, who promotes the use of Stevia, does not? That seems kind of a ridiculous claim to make.

  34. I’ve been reading a lot about new research on sugar toxicity. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on using something like raw agave nectar? Any difference between how our bodies process that substance vs. white sugar?

    1. White, table sugar is something called “sucrose.” Sucrose is a glucose molecule covalently bonded to a fructose molecule. There are toxicity problems with each of these molecules. Glucose, unless metabolized or stored, is toxic to our cells. That’s why hyperglycemia is so dangerous, if glucose is floating around in exceedingly high amounts in our extracellular fluid. And fructose gets converted immediately into free triacyglycerols (triglycerides) in the liver, after consumption–which are the primary concern, besides small dense LDL particles, for heart disease risk. That and, fructose causes malabsorption problems in most people, screwing with their gastrointestinal tracts. (Agave nectar is virtually all fructose.)

  35. I’m also going to be blunt. I find it disturbing that you complain about the inaccuracy of the article and then you write inaccurate stuff. You said “It is the only one of its kind approved for human consumption.” (referring to a chlorocarbon). Here is a quote from the chlorocarbon wiki page:
    “However, the presence of chlorine in an organic compound does not ensure toxicity. Many organochlorides are safe enough for consumption in foods and medicines. For example, peas and broad beans contain the natural chlorinated plant hormone 4-chloroindole-3-acetic acid (4-Cl-IAA);[10][11] and the sweetener sucralose (Splenda) is widely used in diet products. As of 2004, there were at least 165 organochlorides approved worldwide for use as pharmaceutical drugs, including the natural antibiotic vancomycin, the antihistamine loratadine (Claritin), the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft), the anti-epileptic lamotrigine (Lamictal), and the inhalation anesthetic isoflurane.[12]”
    I have no idea if it is safe, but I object strongly to people saying stuff that is not fact and then berating others for their mistakes/oversights.

    1. I have no desire to argue. My post was entirely accurate as I understand it. You imply that I’m pruposely being deceptive. I am not. You are making an unfair assumption about me…so be it. I just felt a doctor should know better. If I am wrong, than I stand corrected, and I am a big anough person to admit it, however, for the record, I still don’t think I am wrong. You might want to do a little more in-depth research on sucralose. ;D
      Personally, I don’t trust Wikipedia as far as I can throw them. I happen to know they have an agenda. You need to do better than that. Besides, even their description doesn’t make sucralose sound very safe, imo.
      Have a nice day.

  36. Splenda and sucralose products caused an autoimmune response in my body that presented like Sjogren’s, with RA and Fibro.
    After several rounds of blood work, countless prescriptions, MRI’s, thousands of dollars in insurance and out of pocket expenses, 4 years, and 8 doctors that couldn’t figure why I was so sick… I figured it out myself by eliminating items from my diet. I started with splenda and 90 percent of my ailments stopped within a few days.
    Splenda is deadly!

    1. Exactly.
      And it’s for that very reason of his/her shameless self-promotion that I not only ignore her comments, but I will now never purchase anything from Wisdom Natural Brands, the makers of SweatLeaf Stevia!!

  37. All alternative sweeteners taste like poison to me. Most cause headaches, etc. when they sneak in to a formerly safe product. Reading labels is something I have to constantly do to find these “sweeteners”, carrageenan, and various foods that I have tested allergic to. Eating is not as enjoyable as it once was.

  38. @HP I made a comment, and I simply wanted people to know my affiliation and why I know what I know. I was being responsible. In the future, I suggest you give people the benefit of the doubt, just like you would want as well.

      1. I tried making yogurt with a store bought yogurt with sucralose as a starter culture.
        It didn’t work. It was as if the yogurt had no live bacterial culture in it.
        I have used many different yogurts (without sucralose) many times as a starter and never had a problem.
        I see contradictory evidence on the internet, but from my limited experiment, I’d say that sucralose kills good bacteria.

    1. It is true, I have seen the studies and read it in many reliable articles, Sucralose destroys approx 50% of gut flora and changes fecal pH. In the 12 week rat study they gave groups of rats different doses above and below the “approved daily limit per kg” based on their weigh.
      1/2 the Rats were sacrificed for the study after the 12th week &
      the other 1/2 were given a 12 week “recovery period” and they still had not “recovered”.
      If you use sucralose intentionally or accidentally its a good idea to supplement probiotics, fiber, and eat healthy foods.

  39. I have researched sucralose a lot and I believe its toxic. That’s my opinion.
    I personally get a pain in my chest when I ingest it, even when it was a piece of gum. Its happened more than 5 separate times across many years and I’m 100% sure its Sucralose. All other factors have been ruled out, I had my heart & chest checked out completely, I went through multiple tests to be sure there is nothing else causing this before I realized Sucralose was to blame. I reported my side effect to the FDA after I was 100% sure I ruled out every other variable.
    I know many people who have side effects from artificial sweetener, and so I am petitioning the FDA to require warning labels for artificial sweeteners as they do with other allergens so people can make their own informed choice. If anyone is interested in reading or possibly signing the petition I will post the link.
    Thank you for reading 🙂

  40. I’d love to know if there’s a genetic factor to how we perceive the taste of Splenda. I remember doing an experiment in grade school where we all tasted a piece of paper and some people said “sweet!” and some people couldn’t taste a thing. To me Splenda tastes awful and erythritol tastes really good. To my husband, Splenda tastes fine and erythritol is too sweet. I personally subscribe to the “avoid sweetener” camp, but if I do sweeten, I use organic honey, as it’s the only super-concentrated sugar source I know that’s 100% natural.

  41. edit to my last post – grade school was a long time ago. It was “does this taste bitter” – the PTC gene. Point still works, some people tasted it, some didn’t.

  42. A VERY quick review of the literature suggests you are totally wrong about Sucralose. Indeed it does break down at cooking and coffee temperatures. It breaks down into chloropropanols. In addition, sucralose alters glucose, insulin, and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) levels – so it is definitely not going through your body without having an effect. I have been a splenda believer for years, but my mind was recently changed after reading a number of peer-reviewed journal articles on pubmed. My suggestion is to start with this one:

    1. Don’t believe it. This is one of the most stable molecules you can find. There are studies showing it is polluting Lake Erie, because nothing breaks it down! Some day I expect someone to get rich by inventing a way to extract it from the water and selling it again! The sugar industry has a well known history of secretly funding studies to undermine alternative sweeteners. Even if sucralose was deadly, it still would not compare to sugar, which kills 3 TIMES as many people as CIGARETTES! So why isn’t sugar regulated? They paid off the government.

  43. Thanks for helping to put this issue straight. I also have no connection to sucralose or the sugar industries, just a retired American living overseas. The sugar industry has for years, and especially with the help of the Democratic Party (they started the anti-fat pro-carb government recommendations. Republicans can now easily say Democrats are responsible for the death of millions of Americans!), been lying to us about the help hazards of sugar and have caused a lot of legislation to be passed crippling sugar alternatives. Sucralose is probably the safest of any sweetener, far safer than sugar, and probably safer than a lot of food we eat. How about this for facts: Sugar kills 3 times as many people as cigarettes! Why isn’t it being regulated?

  44. “(to paraphrase) Chlorine ions are present in salt therefore chlorine is harmless”
    Chlorine atoms or ions are present in salt (NaCl), lethal injections (KCl), chloroform (HCCl3), phosgene (war gas, ClC(O)Cl), chlorinated dioxins, PVC (plastic, (CH2CHCl)n), CFC (refrigerants, eg CCl2F2) … etc…
    The chemical and biological effects of a compound are not simply the sum of the effects of the individual elements involved, they are instead strongly effected by the arrangement and bonding of those atoms.
    So, is sucralose safe? I don’t know, presumably, since many people use it, it isn’t very bad… But there are very few natural/commonly eaten chlorocarbon compounds.

  45. As a practicing holistic practitioner, and reading all the comments. I read all the comments. Here is my cliff notes version. If you have a reaction to splenda don’t take it. If you don’t have reaction to it, take it because, my experience , having lost 5000 pounds at my clinic, using ideal protein meal replacement that do contain splenda can save your life. Especially if you have diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and the predisposition to cancer, excetera.
    In my opinion, a good question to ask yourself is; what are the pros and cons and does the results of any health program outweigh the risks?

  46. Dr. Eades, thank you so much for putting together a succinct yet coherent explanation of the safety of Splenda. For several years I have had a difficult time defending my use of Splenda to my family and friends. I try to tell them that the Cl in Splenda is the same Cl in table salt.
    I used to drink Diet Coke with aspartame excessively and suffered sudden muscle spasms in my arms in a resting position. In one meeting at work I was embarrassed the way my arm suddenly jumped off of the chair arm.
    I suspect that those comments here of stomach issues with processed foods containing Splenda were more than likely caused by Sugar Alcohols also on the ingredients list. Maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, and isomalt are some of the more common types of Sugar alcohols and they can cause rather violent digestion problems. For years now I have jokingly called Maltitol – malathion for its deadly nature.
    Thanks again for writing this.

  47. I suffered from severe depression which I have never had before.
    After stopping Splenda it when away.
    I am a doctor and I know that that is anecdotal (some say the worst kind of evidence) but so be it.
    Sugar left me with no side effects.

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