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Splenda is a sugar substitute discovered during the research process to develop an insecticide. Containing chemicals including chlorine, a possible carcinogenic, Splenda can cause a myriad of health conditions and side effects. As a sugar alcohol, sorbitol is linked to gastrointestinal difficulties but the long-term effects of daily consumption are not well understood. The FDA recommends that Splenda be consumed in moderation to reduce the long-term side effects and feels that it is generally safe for consumption.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
The most commonly reported side effect associated with sorbitol is cramping, bloating and diarrhea. In one study, children who ate sorbitol several times per week had recurrent episodes of diarrhea, while the children who did not consume sorbitol experienced zero episodes of diarrhea over a 3-month period. Although the official recommendation from the Food and Drug Adminstration limits the safe consumption of sorbitol to less than 50 g/day, or 5 mg/kg of body weight effects of the sugar alcohol have been seen with only 10 g of sorbitol consumed. Effects increase for children who can react with even smaller amounts of exposure. Although the majority of adults can avoid these effects by limiting their comsumption to the recommended 50 g/day, many people are sensitive to the chemicals in sorbitol.
- The most commonly reported side effect associated with sorbitol is cramping, bloating and diarrhea.
- Although the majority of adults can avoid these effects by limiting their comsumption to the recommended 50 g/day, many people are sensitive to the chemicals in sorbitol.
Impacts Blood Sugar Levels
Xylitol Sweetener Side Effects
Because artificial sweeteners like Splenda and sorbitol provide significantly reduced sucrose, or sugar, content they do not provide digestive feedback to the brain to signal a feeling of fullness 1. Furthermore, research indicates that these sweeteners may even increase your appetite and lead to increased calorie consumption because the brain "tasted" sweetness in the Splenda but did not receive adequate sugar content consistent with the taste. Because Splenda tastes 600 times as sweet as sugar, a small amount of Splenda signals the brain to expect significant sugar intake, thus increasing the cravings for sweets and carbohydrates.
Early research results show those who consume Splenda demonstrate increased body mass index and weight gain over time versus those who use table sugar. In one study, Splenda users showed an average of two pound weight gain over one year. Although this is not particularly significant for only year, over a lifetime of Splenda use, the weight gain can be quite significant. Furthermore, the long-term effects of the use of Splenda have not been fully researched and are unknown.
- Early research results show those who consume Splenda demonstrate increased body mass index and weight gain over time versus those who use table sugar.
Additional Side Effects
Negative Side Effects of Maltitol
Some of the additional symptoms reported after Splenda and sorbitol consumption are skin irritations including itching, swelling and respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, cough and runny nose. Some users even complains of heart palpitations and mood swings. Because sucralose interferes with the pH balance of your intestines, it can affect the absorption of medications and their effectiveness.
Xylitol Sweetener Side Effects
Negative Side Effects of Maltitol
Nevella Sweetener Side Effects
Problems With Truvia
Is Sugar Free Candy Healthy?
Problems With Sucralose
Xylitol Vs. Stevia
Stevia Vs. Saccharin
Can Splenda or Equal Raise Your Blood Sugar?
Does Aspartame Cause Liver Damage?
- Mayo Clinic: Artificial Sweeteners: Understanding these and Other Sugar Substitutes
- Healthy Fixx: That Diet Drink is Making You FAT
- Food Safety Comments and Petitions:Petition for Regulatory Action to Revise Labeling Requirements for Foods Containing Sorbitol
- Liauchonak I, Qorri B, Dawoud F, et al. Non-nutritive sweeteners and their implications on the development of metabolic syndrome. Nutrients. 2019;11(3) doi:10.3390/nu11030644
- Yang Q. Gain Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010;83(2):101-8.
- Grotz, V Lee, et al. Lack of effect of sucralose on glucose homeostasis in subjects with type 2 diabete (T2DM). J Amer Dietetic Assoc. 103(12):1607-12. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2003.09.021
- Sylvetsky AC, Rother KI. Nonnutritive Sweeteners in Weight Management and Chronic Disease: A Review. Obesity. 2018;26(4):635-640 doi:10.1002/oby.22139
- Miller PE, Perez V: Low-calorie sweeteners and body weight and composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014.
- Antenucci RG, Hayes JE. Nonnutritive sweeteners are not supernormal stimuli. Int J Obes, 2014. doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.109
- American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes - 2018. Diabetes Care. 2018;41(Suppl 1):S1-S159. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/41/Supplement_1
- Berry C, Brusick D, Cohen SM, et al. Sucralose non-carcinogenicity: A review of the scientific and regulatory rationale. Nutrition and Cancer. 2016. 68(8):1247-1261. doi:10.1080/01635581.2016.1224366
- Jing Ma, et al. Effect of the artificial sweetener, sucralose, on gastric emptying and incretin hormone release in healthy subjects. Am J of Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2009; 296(4): G735-739. doi:10.1152/ajpgi.90708.2008
- Peters JC, Wyatt HR, Foster GD, et al. The effects of water and non-nutritive sweetened beverages on weight loss during a 12-week weight loss treatment program. Obesity Journal. 2014;22(6):1415-21. doi:10.1002/oby.20737
- Shwide-Slavin C, Swift C, Ross T. Nonnutritive sweeteners: Where are we today? Diabetes Spectrum. 2012 May;25(2):104-110. doi:10.2337/diaspect.25.2.104
Melissa Sabo is an occupational therapist who started writing professional guidebooks for all Flagship Rehabilitation employees in 2009. Specializing in applied therapy and exercise for non-medical readers, she also coauthored a manual on wheelchair positioning. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy.