When I was growing up I was told that if you swallowed a watermelon seed a watermelon could grow in your stomach. One way my friends and I made sure that didn’t happen was to eat our watermelon outside on summer afternoons so we could spit them out – providing us with a great excuse to have spitting contests with the seeds. The myth of growing watermelons from swallowing seeds quickly faded when we realized we were swallowing cucumber seeds without becoming a garden bed for cucumbers. Not all food myths, however, go away so easily, especially when the topic has to do with safety.
I still receive many questions from patients who wonder about the safety of low-calorie sweeteners, including “is Splenda safe”. Although I’ve written about how low-calorie sweeteners are approved and whether they’re safe for children and pregnant women before, I think it’s time to put the myth about the safety of sucralose (the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener) to rest once and for all.
Is Sucralose Safe? Is SPLENDA® Safe?
Sucralose was approved as a general purpose sweetener in 1999 after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed more than 100 safety studies, including studies to assess cancer risk. The results showed no evidence that sucralose causes cancer or poses any other threat to human health. It also has no known side effects in humans and no adverse effects in test animals when given amounts equal to the sweetness of more than 40 pounds of sugar per day for life!
Another important point that speaks to the safety of sucralose (and SPLENDA® Sweetener Products with this sweetener) is that the FDA approved its use by children of all ages and by women who are pregnant or lactating. A number of the studies required by the FDA specifically looked at embryo-fetal development and showed no birth defects or any other effect that would compromise normal development. Similarly, people with diabetes or pre-diabetes can safely use sucralose over their lifetime without concern. Studies using high-doses of sucralose for prolonged periods of time in people with and without diabetes showed it does not interfere with blood glucose control or insulin secretion.
Given the body of research on sucralose, it’s surprising to me that questions still come up about its safety, such as whether SPLENDA® is safe. The good news is that extensive safety testing conducted over 20 years has led to the confirmation of the safety of sucralose by important regulatory, health and food safety authorities throughout the world. This has resulted in millions of people using sucralose in the more than 80 countries where it is available. And its presence in over 4000 products enables a wide range of lower-sugar products that can make important contributions to diets aimed at healthy eating.
If there is any doubt in your mind about whether sucralose is safe, and in particular “is Splenda safe”, it just may be that you were not aware of its extensive safety record. Let’s put the myth to rest and enjoy SPLENDA® Sweetener Products with a smile – reducing added sugar in the diet can be a great addition to healthy meal planning!
I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.
Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.