Is there anything to worry about with Splenda?

I’ve recently started using Splenda instead of sugar when I have coffee or tea; I don’t experience the unpleasant aftertaste that some complain of, or that I associate with Equal and Sweet-n-Low. I’m talking one packet, every two or three days.

I know that Aspartame and Saccharine (which are not in Splenda, but in Equal and Sweet-n-Low) has been linked to all sorts of problems from the classic “cancer in laboratory animals” to a very creepy, Parkinson’s-like “Aspartame Syndrome.”

Has Splenda been linked to any weirdness or problems?

I’m having trouble finding (googling) anything about “aspartame syndrome” other than one guy telling us it exists and to be very, very scared. But the rest of his web site seems to be a bunch of pseudo-scientific gobbledegook and a highly questionable weight loss plan. In particular, he specifically tells us to believe testamonials, which is absolutely how you should NOT go about gathering data.

Myths about aspartame have been floating around for years, primarily that it causes headaches and migraines. However, two clinical studies (all of them that I’m aware of) both found that they effect vanished when properly blinded – i.e. aspartame only causes headaches if you know you’re drinking it. Basically, headaches are a common symptom in people, and confirmation bias tends to associate it with aspartame – also very common in most people’s diets (at least a couple of years ago, sucralose (Splenda) seems to have taken over now.)

I don’t know that “aspartame syndrome” doesn’t exist, but I follow medical quackery as a hobby, and this one sounds like it. Aspartame was extensively tested before approval, and no study that I’m aware of (big caveat, I’m afraid) has yet shown any negative impact under clinical conditions. Certainly it’s still used in a huge variety of foods and hasn’t been pulled by the same FDA that seems to be yanking medicines left and right on barely-statistically-significant hints of danger.

And, to answer your question, yes: pretty much every rumor I’ve heard about aspartame I’ve also heard about Splenda, Saccarine (which does have clinical evidence that it causes cancer at obscenely high doses, but again, doesn’t appear to have any effect in real populations), Asulfame-K, and plain old sugar. The Internet has been getting too good at dispersing urban legend and rumor these days: no one seems to care much about the truth as opposed to a good story, or even know how to go about finding it.

Heck, the dihydrogen monoxide scam is all over the Internet, and people are still falling for it after all these years.

Here are some people who disagree with me, incidentally: Aspartame (and everything else) Scare Site They have a delightful habit of reporting meta-studies as “proof” of all sorts of things, and clinical trials as “obviously fabricated by FDA officials who went to work for the Aspartame industry.” Quite refreshing, really.

Since there’s piles of supposedly accurate information both ways, the best thing to do is just never eat again :wink:

I’ve been looking for the same info.
I found this site:

However, since it’s paid for by the sugar producers, it’s hard to say how “unbiased” it is.

Happy hunting, I’ll be following this thread.


I am reading that now, and the worse thing I can find is that it has “3 atoms of Chlorine in it”. And we all know how bad it is, since you know, we use it to kill everything in our pools. No-one tell them table salt has 50% Chlorine.

Oh and from a quick pubmed search:
“Evaluation of the data obtained from the two phases of this study showed that sucralose was not carcinogenic. Sucralose did not adversely affect the survival or clinical condition of the rats, and there were no toxicologically significant findings.”
Where sucralose is the compound that splenda contains. Every other study I found said pretty much the same thing. I came across no studies that suggested that it is dangerous.

In the spirit of your post, which rightfully extolled precision and clarity, there are two problems that I perceive in the above quoted portion. One, the constructed term “barely-statistically-significant” has at least one meaningless adverb. If significance does not attach until a measure has gone above bareness, then we should not call it statistically significant until it truly is. On the other hand, if X parts per Y is the threshold, then why suggest that X + N parts per Y (or X parts per Y - N) only barely make the threshold when N is very small? Move the threshold up if it is not accurate. And two, either it matters that something was extensively tested or it doesn’t; you can’t have it both ways. If it matters, then FDA approval is suspect if it is ineed pulling medicines “left and right” as you say. If it doesn’t, then it shoudn’t be mentioned in support of your point.

The Master speaks:

Did aspartame (NutraSweet) cause Gulf War Syndrome?

The OP is not about Aspartame, it is about sucralose. Splenda contains no Aspartame.

I wonder that myself (also re: aspartain, wasn’t there some recent study (recent = 1 or 2 months ago that shows that all rats that take it in will get cancer). One benefit is splenda it doesn’t seem to be absorbed so most of it just comes out the rear door, maybe making your shit sweet.

I would suggest also looking into stevia, which is a natural 0 cal sweetner derived from the stevia plant with a long track record (the Brits during one of their wars had a sugar embargo and used stevia in their tea instead). Stevia is sold in various forms and stages of refinement, for a direct replacement for sugar I would suggest trying to find stevia in those little packages as they are made to come closest to sugar, but also there is a liquid form which is also very good.

Thank you.

Do you have a cite?

The reason I ask is that I used to drink diet soda and get migraines, unaware of any link between the two. They stopped when a friend recommended I stop drinking anything with aspartame in it. The migraines couldn’t have been pshycosomatic in my case because I was unaware the sweetener was causing it, in other words.

When I was a regular member on Low Carb message boards, lots of people made this same claim. They reported that when some of the new diet drinks with Splends came out, they didn’t have the same problems they had with the aspartame drinks. I totally believe Aspartame can give people migranes but I find the claims that it’ll kill you to be dubious (and you didn’t claim so, lissa)

Have you ever tried diet drinks with Splenda? I think Diet Rite is the only one right now that’s pure Splenda (Diet Coke with Splenda I think also has Ace-k).

I am just curious (as relevant to this thread) if Splenda drinks give you the same migranes.

For the OP…fwiw my mother and I have been consuming Splenda on a regular basis - in drinks and in baking and on cereal - for a few years now and we have yet to die.

Emphasis mine.

Given what you posted, there are at least two ways that the headaches could be psychosomatic. You could have subconsciously heard of the connection, even though you were not consciously aware of it. Or, since you stopped drinking aspartame drinks when you heard of the connection, you could be experiencing a standard placebo effect.

There’s also a chance that there really was a correlation between your migranes and the aspartame consumption, but it’s not due to any causative effect.

Aspartame might really cause headaches, but if it does, one would expect it to show up in double blind tests sooner or later.

But I have read in several places that too much of the stuff (say twelve glasses full in a row while jogging) can case severe salt imbalance possibly even resulting in death. So you can’t be too careful. And the eight every day that are still being recommended (see last Tuesday’s Science Times) are way too much, although not actually dangerous.

And for some people, tastes nastily of lichorice<sp?> flavor … which I find absolutely nausea making. I was forced to take too many licchhcc///anise flavored meds when a very small child so the flavor will actually trigger a gag reflex.

see if you can get a sample before you buy a significant amount=)

Quoth GYBRFE’s PubMed search:

So they’ve actually found a substance which does not cause cancer in laboratory rats? Amazing!

Chloride, not chlorine.

(In table salt, that is)

It’s chlorine:


“Chloride” essentially means “plus one chlorine atom”. Compare “oxide” (plus one oxygen atom) in “nitrous oxide” (N2O).

Re: Stevia

Some forms have this taste, but some of the more refined ones nearly elimiate it. Also it can be used to minimize the use of other artificial sweetners by mixing stevia w/ another sweetner if you don’t like it just by itself, which is how I use it most of the time.

Another alternate suggestion is xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol available in powered form with 1/3 less calories (1 teaspoon = 9.6 cal, 0 g sugar, 4 g sugar alcohol) then sugar and a low glycemic index.