U.S – In a recent study, researchers have unveiled concerning findings regarding the widely used artificial sweetener, sucralose, sold under the trade name Splenda.

The study suggests that a chemical compound formed during the digestion of sucralose, called sucralose-6-acetate, exhibits genotoxic properties, indicating its ability to damage DNA.

The research team, led by Susan Schiffman, an Adjunct Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, built upon their previous work, which identified fat-soluble compounds generated in the gut following the ingestion of sucralose. Notably, sucralose-6-acetate was found to be one of these compounds.

The new study sheds light on the genotoxic nature of sucralose-6-acetate. Through a series of in vitro experiments, human blood cells were exposed to the compound, revealing its ability to disrupt DNA structures.

Schiffman emphasizes that even trace amounts of sucralose-6-acetate were detected in off-the-shelf sucralose products, even before they were consumed and metabolized.

Concerningly, the team’s findings indicate that the levels of sucralose-6-acetate present in a single, daily sucralose-sweetened drink surpass the threshold for genotoxic substances set by the European Food Safety Authority, which stands at 0.15 micrograms per person per day.

Furthermore, this threshold does not consider the additional sucralose-6-acetate produced as metabolites after consuming sucralose.

Unveiling the effects on gut health

The researchers extended their investigations to include the effects of sucralose and sucralose-6-acetate on human gut tissues.

Their in vitro tests demonstrated that both chemicals caused “leaky gut,” a condition where the gut’s lining becomes more permeable. This impairment damages the crucial interfaces, known as tight junctions, that connect cells in the gut wall.

Schiffman explains that a leaky gut can have significant repercussions since substances that should be expelled from the body through feces instead leak into the bloodstream. Moreover, when examining the genetic activity of the gut cells exposed to sucralose-6-acetate, the researchers observed increased activity in genes associated with oxidative stress, inflammation, and carcinogenicity.

Revisiting the safety and regulatory status

The discoveries presented in this study raise pressing concerns regarding the safety and regulatory standing of sucralose and its metabolites. Schiffman stresses the need to reassess the potential health effects associated with sucralose consumption, given the mounting evidence of significant risks.

As a cautionary measure, Schiffman urges individuals to refrain from consuming products containing sucralose. The implications of this research serve as a compelling reason to exercise caution until further investigations can provide more conclusive evidence regarding the safety of this widely used sweetener.

Sucralose, approved as a high-intensity sweetener in various countries, including the United States and the European Union, has been widely utilized as a low-calorie alternative to sugar in numerous food and beverage products.

It is worth noting that this study focuses on sucralose-6-acetate, a specific compound formed during the metabolic breakdown of sucralose. However, further research is necessary to determine the overall impact of sucralose and its metabolites on human health.

This research contributes to the ongoing discourse surrounding artificial sweeteners and their potential implications for human well-being. As scientific knowledge continues to evolve, it is crucial to stay informed and make informed choices about the consumption

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