After the article I wrote on aspartame came out, many people asked me about sucralose, found in the little yellow packets and also known as Splenda. Even if you are one who says “I never use artificial sweeteners,” sucralose is found in some surprising places you might not suspect.

Like aspartame, sucralose is found in all kinds of low-fat, low-sugar, fat-free, no-sugar added, or reduced calorie foods from diet soda to gum, to juice and applesauce, to hot chocolate, ice cream and candy. But sucralose is also a common ingredient in protein and fitness shakes such as Visalus and Andrew Lessman shake products and fitness bars such as Power Bar, Met Rx, and Atkins.

So even if you are not a consumer of packaged products sweetened with artificial sweeteners, athletes, students, dieters, and fitness buffs may well be surprised to learn that sucralose may be lurking in many products in your health food store as well. In addition, it is often found in medications as 10% of sucralose is sold to pharmaceutical companies.

As you read this, I’m on my way to India (more on that next week!), so I am not going to write another long newsletter as I did with aspartame. But there are a lot of similarities, both in terms of health concerns as well as with the FDA approval process, between aspartame and sucralose.

Splenda manufacturers claim that it’s natural because it’s made from sugar. We already know from past newsletters that there is no FDA standard for use of the word natural, so any manufacturer can create an argument for its use on a label.

Splenda does in fact start with a sugar molecule. However, three of the hydroxyl groups are replaced in a lab with chlorine atoms instead. Despite manufacturer claims that it is similar to sugar or table salt, many researchers believe that it is more similar to a pesticide like DDT. Most pesticides are chlorocarbons; the way that the carbon and chlorine atoms bond together in sucralose is similar to the manner in which they bond in a pesticide such as DDT.

When sucralose reaches the digestive tract, it is not recognized as food. Most people absorb only about 15% of splenda, but 15% of a pesticide can still cause harm! And ironically, the body’s way of dealing with unrecognizable substances is to try to digest them, so the healthier your digestive tract is, the more you may absorb.

Unfortunately, there have been no long-term studies on the safety of Splenda on humans. Animal studies have shown enlarged livers, kidney disorders, a decrease in beneficial gut flora and decreased thymus gland size. These studies were done on rodents, however. Rodents were chosen because they metabolize sucralose similar to the way humans do, but the FDA accepted the manufacturer studies and approved Splenda, citing the fact that the effects occurred in rodents and not people.

The largest study on humans was of 128 people and lasted only three months, so there is no research to indicate that regular consumption over a longer period of time would be safe.

Sucralose has been shown to be a migraine trigger, induce skin rashes, dizziness, diarrhea, muscle aches, headaches, stomach pain, cramping, agitation, numbness, and bladder issues in some people. In addition, it is shown to lead to weight gain, blood sugar issues.

It has also been shown to increase the pH level in your intestines, reduce the good bacteria in your intestines by as much as 50%, and alter a glycoprotein that can impact your health, especially if you are on certain medications. It can impact your ability to absorb nutrients, decreases red blood cells, enlarges and calcifies your kidneys, interferes with sperm production and increases infertility in men, and resulted in spontaneous abortions in almost 50% of rabbits fed sucralose in one study. The rabbit study also resulted in an elevated death rate among those who consumed sucralose as opposed to those who did not.

Without human testing, it appears as though we are guinea pigs for consumption tolerance of a substance that causes symptoms and health concerns in humans and animals, a substance chemically similar to the pesticide DDT. At a minimum, most people ingest artificial sweeteners to avoid weight gain or blood sugar concerns, both of which have been shown to occur with sucralose. So stick with stevia or organic cane sugar, raw honey or maple syrup and leave the colored packages on the table. And don’t forget to read your labels and look for sucralose, as it is often in food products in which you might not expect to find artificial sweeteners.

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To your wellness and health: your true wealth!


Author: Inger Pols is the Editor of the New England Health Advisory and Author/Creator, Finally Make It Happen, the proven process to get what you want. Get a free special report on The Truth About Sugar: It’s Not All Equal at

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Every year, the Environmental Working Group tests fruits and vegetables to determine which are the most — and least — contaminated with pesticides. If you’ve been a subscriber from the beginning, I have shared the previous results with you.

But the list can and does change over time and as we find ourselves in the height of summer here in New England, with fresh produce all around, I want to share the 2012 results to help you make better fruit and vegetable choices.

Let’s start with the good news! The following made the Clean 15 list, which means they were the cleanest and least pesticide-laden of the crops. This list is important because if you are watching your pennies and trying to determine when you can afford to buy — or whether you should splurge on — organic produce, these items can typically be purchased conventionally grown and still be ok to eat.

While local is always better since the nutrient levels will be higher because they are fresher from farm to table, you can still pick these up in any market and not worry about spending the extra money on organic.

The Clean 15 includes:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Domestic Cantaloupe
  12. Sweet potatoes
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

One important note, however. Corn in this country is very often genetically modified, and not usually labeled as such in stores. So if you are concerned about consuming GMOs as I am, then buying organic corn is essential.

Now for the worst offenders. These are the most pesticide-ridden fruits and vegetables on the market, and some of them contain as many as 57 different pesticide residues. When you are looking to buy any of these for your family, this is when you should definitely consider splurging on organic versions.

The Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Imported Nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Domestic Blueberries
  12. Potatoes

It is important to note that many of these are staples in growing kids’ diets, so reducing the amount of pesticide exposure by buying organic is an investment in future health well worth making. Thankfully, Trader Joe’s keeps us stocked on the organic apples, strawberries, potatoes and grapes my kids rely on. Hopefully, you can find organic versions nearby in Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or at your local market.

If not, ask your local farmers how they raise their produce. Many small farms follow organic practices but have not gone through time consuming (and expensive for a small farm) practice of becoming certified as organic. Ask the farmers at your local farmer’s market about their practices: farmers following organic practices will be excited to tell you about it.

In 2012, the Dirty Dozen also included a special category, citing two crops that didn’t make the top twelve offenders but posed other health concerns. These vegetables, green beans and leafy greens such as kale and collard greens, were commonly found to be contaminated with a highly toxic organophosphate insecticide that has been shown to be toxic to the nervous system.

While the insecticide is not used frequently any more, it has not been banned, so it is still allowed on food crops and green beans and leafy greens were often found to contain this pesticide. For this reason, these items should always be purchased organic. And always wash your produce, whether it is conventional or organic. Soaking in a citrus veggie wash or a bath of baking soda and a little vinegar will help remove residues that remain on the skin.

Keep in mind that products made from these crops will also contain the pesticide residues, so if you buy any pre-made product containing that fruit or vegetable, you will want to buy organic as well. This is especially true for the products kids so enjoy such as juices and jellies.

Lastly, if you enjoy grapes or grape products, there is an added concern: grape growers in the US use a fluoride-based spray and grape juices, jellies and yes, even California wines, were found to have excessive fluoride contaminant levels. Fluoride may be fine on top of your teeth but is not meant to be ingested (just read the warning on young kids’ toothpaste boxes).

Because many of us already consume excessive amounts through our water supply if you don’t have a water filter on all your faucets, this is something we really need to try to avoid. So look for organic versions of these products whenever possible. (European wine makers do not use this fluoride-based spray and so do not have the same concern).

If you want to see the list see the Environmental Working Group website. They also offer a
downloadable version for your phone, or if you make a donation to
help support their work, they will send you a pocked guide you can keep in your
Author: Inger Pols is the Editor of the New England Health Advisory and Author/Creator, Finally Make It Happen, the proven process to get what you want. Get a free special report on The Truth About Sugar: It’s Not All Equal at

Photo Source: Microsoft Clip Art

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