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01-06-2011, 01:56 AM   #1
David in Seattle
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Duke University Splenda Study

Study finds Splenda contributes to weight gain, may cause other health problems

"A new Duke University study finds that the artificial sweetener Splenda contributes to obesity, destroys beneficial intestinal bacteria and may interfere with absorption of prescription drugs.

It's the latest in a continuing round of studies, claims and counter-claims pitting artificial sweeteners against the powerful Sugar Association, the lobbying group for the sugar industry, which financed the Duke study.

McNeil Nutritionals, which manufactures Splenda, said the study's findings were "unsupported by the data presented" and said Splenda may be safely used "as part of a healthy diet." The study is scheduled to be published in a forthcoming issue of The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. An advance copy appears on its Web site.

A Minneapolis-based group called Citizens for Health said the Duke study demonstrates that Splenda is a health threat. The group, headed by attorney Jim Turner, has been collecting consumer reports of side effects supposedly caused by Splenda.

"The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label," said Turner.

Turner's group has filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling on it to review its approval of sucralose and to require a warning label on Splenda packaging cautioning that people who take medications or have gastrointestinal problems avoid using Splenda.

"The new study makes it clear that Splenda can cause you to gain weight and lose the benefits of medications designed to improve and protect your health. The FDA should not continue to turn a blind eye to this health threat," Turner said.

In February, a study published in Behavioral Neuroscience cites laboratory evidence that the widespread use of no-calorie sweeteners may actually make it harder for people to control their intake and body weight.

McNeil and the Sugar Association have been waging war in the courts and the public arena for years. In 2004, the association sued McNeil, claiming it had misled consumers by claiming that Splenda was "made like sugar, so it tastes like sugar."

Splenda's main ingredient -- sucralose -- is manufactured. The process involves the use of a sugar molecule but there is no sugar in the finished product.

The Duke study was conducted on rats over a 12-week period. A lead researcher, Dr. Mohamed B. Abou-Donia, said the Sugar Association had no input into the study's findings.
Earlier study

In the February study, psychologists at Purdue Universitys Ingestive Behavior Research Center reported that compared with rats that ate yogurt sweetened with sugar, those given yogurt sweetened with zero-calorie saccharin later consumed more calories, gained more weight, put on more body fat, and didnt make up for it by cutting back later.

Authors Susan Swithers, PhD, and Terry Davidson, PhD, theorize that by breaking the connection between a sweet sensation and high-calorie food, the use of saccharin changes the bodys ability to regulate intake. That change depends on experience.

Problems with self-regulation might explain in part why obesity has risen in parallel with the use of artificial sweeteners. It also might explain why, says Swithers, scientific consensus on human use of artificial sweeteners is inconclusive, with various studies finding evidence of weight loss, weight gain or little effect.

Because people may have different experiences with artificial and natural sweeteners, human studies that dont take into account prior consumption may produce a variety of outcomes.

Three different experiments explored whether saccharin changed lab animals ability to regulate their intake, using different assessments -- the most obvious being caloric intake, weight gain, and compensating by cutting back.
Body temperature

The experimenters also measured changes in core body temperature, a physiological assessment.

Normally when we prepare to eat, the metabolic engine revs up. However, rats that had been trained to respond using saccharin (which broke the link between sweetness and calories), relative to rats trained on glucose, showed a smaller rise in core body temperate after eating a novel, sweet-tasting, high-calorie meal. The authors think this blunted response both led to overeating and made it harder to burn off sweet-tasting calories.

The data clearly indicate that consuming a food sweetened with no-calorie saccharin can lead to greater body-weight gain and adiposity (fat) than would consuming the same food sweetened with a higher-calorie sugar, the authors wrote.

The authors acknowledge that this outcome may seem counterintuitive and might not come as welcome news to human clinical researchers and health-care practitioners, who have long recommended low- or no-calorie sweeteners. Whats more, the data come from rats, not humans.

However, they noted that their findings match emerging evidence that people who drink more diet drinks are at higher risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome, a collection of medical problems such as abdominal fat, high blood pressure and insulin resistance that put people at risk for heart disease and diabetes.
But why?

Why would a sugar substitute backfire?

Swithers and Davidson wrote that sweet foods provide a salient orosensory stimulus that strongly predicts someone is about to take in a lot of calories. Ingestive and digestive reflexes gear up for that intake but when false sweetness isn't followed by lots of calories, the system gets confused. Thus, people may eat more or expend less energy than they otherwise would.

The good news, Swithers says, is that people can still count calories to regulate intake and body weight. However, she sympathizes with the dieters lament that counting calories requires more conscious effort than consuming low-calorie foods."

Swithers adds that based on the labs hypothesis, other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame K, which also taste sweet but do not predict the delivery of calories, could have similar effects.

Finally, although the results are consistent with the idea that humans would show similar effects, human study is required for further demonstration."

Last edited by David in Seattle; 01-06-2011 at 02:02 AM.
01-06-2011, 03:20 AM   #2
Zalanicht
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Read most of it. Very interesting!
I knew staying away from artificial sweeteners was a good idea. I'd always get the worst headaches after too if I had just a littlest amount.
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01-06-2011, 06:08 AM   #3
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Very interesting David, thanks!! Another, common sense problem with artificial sweeteners, is the false assumption that since something is artificially sweetened, one can consume with reckless abandon.
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01-06-2011, 01:12 PM   #4
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One of the things my GI asked me prior to my official diagnosis was if I consumed artificial sweeteners. I wish I'd asked him why. At the time I was overwhelmed though.

I drink splenda in my coffee every day. I think I'll get off it and use honey instead. I can't imagine that little bit hurting, but I do know from experience that little bit of nutrisweet would put me in the hospital so.....
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01-06-2011, 05:31 PM   #5
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I figured out artificial sweetners were a bad idea to take when my OB told me not to take any while I was pregnant! And I'm with you Zalanicht, they always gave me headaches. Thanks for the study report David. :-)
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01-06-2011, 07:28 PM   #6
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I know sorbitol is often used as a laxative. I can't stand splenda, I can always taste it.
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01-06-2011, 07:29 PM   #7
GutlessWonder86
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I can't tolerate anything with Nutrasweet or of the like at all. I tried it once when it first came out on the market and developed a horrible headache to the point where it made me very ill. Then I put 2 and 2 together and realized it was the fake sweetener so I avoid it like the plague.

I spoke to a dietician about it and she told me that if I wanted to lose the weight, just cut back on my caloric intake and quit the junk food and sugary sweets. Worked for me.
Common sense if you really think about it. I NEVER ever want to go through those awful headaches AGAIN. Wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.

Thanks for the article.
01-06-2011, 07:30 PM   #8
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YIKES! I use Splenda only when I'm on pred...now it's going into the trash!

Thanks David you always bring the best info!
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01-06-2011, 08:42 PM   #9
David in Seattle
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YIKES! I use Splenda only when I'm on pred...now it's going into the trash!

Thanks David you always bring the best info!
You're all welcome, glad so many found it useful

Even before developing gut issues, I was always a label reader & tried to avoid trash ingredients + preferring FOOD to "products". As far as obesity is concerned, a teaspoon of common granulated sugar only contains 16 calories. Although this isn't the only issue with simple carbohydrates (glycemic index is also a factor), if you just need something to sweeten the occasional cup of tea or coffee, unless you're diabetic, you're a lot better off using sugar than one of the man-made franken-sweeteners. Another very common sweetener to avoid which is in so many things these days is high fructose corn syrup which, being cheaper than sucrose ("regular" sugar), is a favorite of manufacturers (caring as they do more about $$$ than your health), especially those making junk like soda pop, etc. HFCS is implicated in the growing levels of obesity, and at least one study found many products containing it had high levels of mercury (owing to the way HFCS is processed with caustic soda). Sounds appetizing, doesn't it?

Last edited by David in Seattle; 01-06-2011 at 08:57 PM.
01-06-2011, 08:54 PM   #10
David in Seattle
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I know sorbitol is often used as a laxative. I can't stand splenda, I can always taste it.
Sorbitol is a different compound than Splenda/sucralose, but it does appear as a sweetener, particularly in diet foods, and often in things like cough syrup. Although it occurs naturally in some fruits, I find it gives me massive amounts of gas, reason enough to avoid it...

I tend to use honey as a sweetener. I like the way it tastes, and it's "syrup" form. It also has a slightly lower glycemic index than table sugar, but it's pretty expensive by comparison.
01-06-2011, 09:58 PM   #11
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I realise it''s different, I was just throwing in my two cents about artificial sweetener.
02-13-2011, 08:40 PM   #12
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Brown rice syrup is another natural low glycemic sweetener. It tastes like butterscotch. I actually couldn't keep it in the house because I kept eating it out of the jar.

I've switched over to sugar since reading this originally. I like it better anyway.
02-13-2011, 09:48 PM   #13
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Stevia is another good natural sweetener. But if its in moderation I dont why I cant use cane sugar or honey or real maple syrup.
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02-13-2011, 10:15 PM   #14
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Probably the best thing to do is enjoy sugar in natural foods in its natural form. If you're eating fruit enjoy the sweet.

If you're drinking coffee enjoy the richness of it - if you need sugar consider drinking better coffee.

If you're baking cakes and sweets - well, if you're sick with digestive issues and you're baking cakes and sweets all the best to you, the discussion of sugar is a bit of a moot point.

I feel the same about vegetarians who try to make their food taste like other food. If you want a hamburger, eat a hamburger. If you're eating vegetables, don't try to make it taste like another food, eat the vegetables.

Learn to enjoy what you eat for what it is.
02-13-2011, 10:37 PM   #15
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thanks for this - struggling with huge sugar cravings right now and considered sweetener....I learned in psych class that the sweetener makes you more hungry in the end.
My friend grows her own Stevia...
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02-13-2011, 10:54 PM   #16
David in Seattle
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I feel the same about vegetarians who try to make their food taste like other food. If you want a hamburger, eat a hamburger. If you're eating vegetables, don't try to make it taste like another food, eat the vegetables.
I was a vegetarian for about 5 years, and I was also always amazed by that as well. This was before I had any gut issues, though one of the reasons I gave it up was more and more plant matter gave me painful gas (everything from stone fruit and apples to hummus/chickpeas and even fresh basil). Even upscale vegetarian restaurants seemed to prepare "faux" this and that, rather than creating dishes which highlighted the inherent characteristics of the ingredients. One vegetarian cuisine I loved which didn't do this was that of southern India. Such delicious food.
02-13-2011, 11:04 PM   #17
David in Seattle
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thanks for this - struggling with huge sugar cravings right now and considered sweetener....I learned in psych class that the sweetener makes you more hungry in the end.
My friend grows her own Stevia...
Wendy - Stevia in particular has a minimal effect on blood sugar (a low glycemic index), which is how most simple carbs end up making you hungrier (blood sugar spikes, then crashes).
02-26-2011, 03:37 AM   #18
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Hi

I have been looking into this subject for almost ten years now.

Artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, are really terrible for your health.

I avoid all products with artificial sweeteners.

Sadly many low cal and diet products contain artificial sweeteners, and people eat them thinking they are being healthy.

I avoid all products high in sugar, and also ones that contain high fructose corn syrup.

That pretty much rules out most processed foods from the supermarket
02-26-2011, 11:24 AM   #19
partlycloudy
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I've switched over to agave nectar in my coffee. One thing about it, it's so expensive it's inspired me to use significantly less.

It does have calories, but the other natural option (stevia) gives me headaches.

I'm with Lydia on the moderation thing. Well, I'm LEARNING moderation.
02-26-2011, 05:42 PM   #20
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Thank you very much for the useful information. I have heard such artificial sweetners have a high risk of cancer agents to arise in the body.
I use sugar or honey, its better to use the natural sugars, not processed like Splenda. Just like Lydia said, moderation is a key factor with anything really.

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02-26-2011, 06:55 PM   #21
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Thanks for the information, David. I didn't even care for the Diet Coke with Splenda. I know, Diet Coke isn't the healthiest thing to drink.
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02-27-2011, 07:50 AM   #22
alexc
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This makes interesting reading, we do have Splenda in the house, mostly used by my wife (I prefer sugar to be honest). She does sometimes suffer with bad headaches, we'll stop using it and see how it goes.
02-27-2011, 08:44 AM   #23
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I just find the study suspect since the Sugar Association, the lobbying group for the sugar industry, financed the study.
02-27-2011, 10:04 AM   #24
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I have been watching the information that has been out there on various sweeteners, artificial and natural. Natural sweeteners such as sugar and stevia are the least offensive to the body, but sugar in anything but small amounts is not good for you either.

Artificial sweeteners are not good for many reasons that are too long to even list here. I just do not eat them.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is being pushed as the same as sugar, but it is not the same. It is likely responsible for the diabetes and obesity epidemic we now have. Hard to avoid this, since it is virtually all prepared foods, bread, etc. It is cheap to use, and that is usually the reason sugar substitutes are used to begin with. This is also likely to have been made from genetically modified corn.

The sugar group of any sweetener ending in a "tol" belongs to the sugar alcohol family. Generically known as polyols, this groups chemical structure is similar to both sugar and alcohol. Mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythitol, and Maltitol are the better known forms of this group.

Basically, avoid these also, most have their own problems, or breed bacteria like sugar with the exception of Xylitol. Xylitol is excellent to use in toothpaste or a mouth wash.
The bacteria Streptococcus Mutans, is a common cavity causing pathogen, and Xylitol can drastically reduce this in your mouth.

I do see gum with Xylitol in it, but have not found any that have only Xylitol. They all seem to contain Aspertame, (Nutrasweet) which is a neurotoxin at the very least, and I will not consume it.

Much of the table sugar processed today is from sugar beets, and most of it is from genetically modified beets. I personally do not like to be a lab rat for Monsanto, or who ever decides to put out these untested "food" products.

I do not believe at this time, there is any GM sugar cane plants, so cane sugar comes from the same source, it has from in the beginning, for the most part. It will not be long and sugar cane will also have a GM counterpart.

The current refined product of sugar from the sugar cane plant is not how it was originally used either. Sugar is refined so much that it contains almost nothing in the way of food value. Used as natives used it, in the less refined molasses like form it had minerals in it.

Dan
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02-28-2011, 08:44 PM   #25
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HEY D BERGY there are a couple of chewing gum brands made with only xylitol... ONE is a great brand called B FRESH. They sell a wide variety of flavors including bubble gum flavor that is very good actually. You can order it on AMAZON or you can go to a local health food store like Whole Foods in the USA. The other is called SPRY. This can be ordered through and bought through the same channels as BFRESH.
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