A new study from North Carolina State University has discovered that sucralose, an ingredient found in the widely-used zero-calorie sweetener, Splenda, could potentially have harmful effects. The research indicates that it may harm DNA, elevate cancer risk, and cause disruptions in the gut lining.
Splenda, manufactured by UK-based Tate & Lyle, is a sugar substitute employed in a multitude of foods, drinks, desserts, and sweets, comprising 1.10% sucralose.
This research, shared in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, revealed that sucralose-6-acetate, a metabolite of sucralose, exhibits genotoxic properties.
Susan Schiffman, PhD, the study's senior author and an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University, clarified that genotoxic refers to the degradation of the genetic material composing DNA.
Past studies have demonstrated that when DNA strands suffer damage and subsequent rearrangement and repair, this process can elevate the likelihood of developing cancerous cells.
Furthermore, the study found that both sucralose and its metabolite, sucralose-6-acetate, inflict harm on the "tight junctions"—the structures responsible for maintaining the integrity of the intestinal barrier. This damage results in what is often termed a "leaky gut."
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"A leaky gut is problematic because it means toxins that would normally be flushed out of the body in feces are instead leaking out of the gut and being absorbed into the bloodstream," Schiffman said to Fox News Digital.
The researchers carried out eight distinct experiments to evaluate the safety and potential hazards associated with both sucralose and sucralose-6-acetate. The latter is a chemical byproduct of sucralose, regarded as an impurity.
"An important point is that even if the contaminant sucralose-6-acetate is totally removed from sucralose products, it is still generated by bacteria in the gut," Schiffman warned.
This study isn't the first to highlight potential risks associated with sucralose.
"Previous studies have shown a wide range of adverse effects from sucralose, including dysbiosis (including damage to good bacteria in the gut) and alteration of blood glucose and insulin," Schiffman said.
"Consumers have a right to know what they are consuming," she continued.
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