Artificial sweeteners, commonly used as a healthier alternative to sugar, may have potential harmful effects according to a new study. The research reveals that sucralose, a chemical found in popular artificial sweeteners like Splenda, might cause cancer and DNA damage.
- The study, conducted by the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, focused on how sucralose could harm human cells. In particular, the researchers examined the effects of sucralose-6-acetate, a byproduct formed when sucralose is broken down in the gut and present in some commercial sucralose products.
- The results showed signs of genotoxicity, which refers to the potential of harmful substances to damage DNA. Additionally, researchers found that sucralose led to damage in the gut lining and increased gene activity linked to oxidative stress, inflammation, and potential carcinogenicity.
- Despite these findings, the FDA has approved sucralose as a general-purpose sweetener for food. It is 600 times sweeter than regular sugar and can withstand heat, making it popular for baking.
- While the FDA suggests a daily intake of 5 mg of sucralose per kg of body weight, the new findings may call for a reassessment. Nutritionist Jackie Newgent suggests using natural sweeteners like fruits, date syrup, coconut nectar, maple syrup, or honey as alternatives.
- This study was conducted in vitro, i.e., outside of the body in a controlled environment. More research is required within the human body to form more definitive recommendations regarding sucralose consumption.