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Why You Should Never Bake with Splenda

Why You Should Never Bake with Splenda

Written by Katherine Martinko

Sucralose is a synthetic sweetener made from reacting sugar with chlorine. Marketed as “Splenda,” it was approved for sale in the United States in 1998, though it had been previously sold in Canada, Europe and elsewhere. Since then, Splenda has become popular as a “no calorie sweetener,” according to its paper packaging. Sucralose has long been considered a safer alternative for sweetener than aspartame because it doesn’t break down at high temperatures, but now researchers have discovered a scary side effect to heating sucralose.

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.

I think the bigger problem is that our whole society is addicted to the taste of sweetness. Rather than searching for zero-calorie sweetening options, which are merely Band-Aid solutions and still enable poor eating habits, a much healthier idea would be to wean ourselves off that addiction. There’s nothing wrong with using a small amount of real sugar while baking and cooking at home once in a while, but it should only be a rare, special treat. So I welcome this bad news about Splenda and hope it forces some people to reconsider before they reach for a paper package. Coffee, either black or with milk, is actually quite delicious, once your taste buds adjust!

This post was originally published in TreeHugger

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Photo Credit: GoodNCrazy

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131 comments

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1:37PM PST on Feb 21, 2014

I use real sugar.

7:30PM PST on Feb 18, 2014

Thanks for the advice l I've never used it,and don't intend to.I will stay with dark brown sugar .It appears to less harmful than its substitutes,

12:48AM PST on Feb 16, 2014

I don't know why they even sell splenda, it is not even USDA approved. (only FDA approved due to a loophole in 0 calorie ingredients) Splenda/ sucralose contains acetone and Phosphoryl chloride. Phosphoryl chloride is used in mfg of flame retardants, plasticicers for PVC and solvents in nuclear processing. It is made in India due to pollution, air hazard according to U.S. clean air act.

Real sugar is not addictive.

3:55AM PST on Feb 12, 2014

I never use artificial sweeteners in anything. I only drink diet sodas if there is nothing else, no tea or lemonade or something like that.

10:16AM PST on Feb 9, 2014

FYI: Sugar is addictive!

When we use sugar iin our house, we use organic sugar. For the most part, I've been using "Stevia" - very sweet - for well over a year now. Also use honey and maple syrup.

Sugar is addictive! Don and WE CAN! :-))

5:22AM PST on Feb 7, 2014

I've used Splenda. I switched to Stevia.

4:46AM PST on Feb 7, 2014

Michty

1:29PM PST on Feb 5, 2014

I used to bake with Splenda...yikes....we mostly use Stevia now.

I just CAN'T adjust to drinking unsweetened coffee, however.

1:08PM PST on Feb 5, 2014

Thanks for the info!

9:36AM PST on Feb 5, 2014

The sense of taste can adapt to less and less salt and sweetener in your food after some time. Cutting back bit by bit can lead you to not needing added salts or sweeteners at all eventually. The reverse is also true.. By using them your tastes can require more and more over time.

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