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Problems With Sucralose

author image Sharon Perkins
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.
Problems With Sucralose
Sucralose, an artificial sweetener added to many processed foods, may cause side effects. Photo Credit MamaMiaPL/iStock/Getty Images


Americans have a love-hate relationship with artificial sweeteners stretching back over 50 years; 86 percent of Americans use them, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, but many people worry about potential side effects. Sucralose, made from a chemically altered sugar molecule -- commercially available as Splenda -- has received its share of negative publicity since it first entered general use as a sweetener in 1999. However, no studies have proven serious adverse effects from its use.

Diarrhea and Gas

Problems With Sucralose
Eating large amounts of sucralose may trigger bloating, diarrhea and pain. Photo Credit Jonathan Austin Daniels/iStock/Getty Images

Sucralose, like many artificial sugars, passes through the gastrointestinal tract intact, so that very few calories, if any, are absorbed. Eating excessive amounts of sucralose may cause diarrhea, bloating and gas. Gastrointestinal symptoms might occur because of reactions between bacteria in the intestines and components of sucralose that together produce nitrogen gas. Symptoms may occur because the undigested sucralose draws water into the intestine, producing diarrhea, according to health educators at Columbia University’s Go Ask Alice website. Abdominal pain that feels like a pulled muscle also occurs in some people, according to anecdotal reports. In animal studies, sucralose decreased beneficial bacteria in the intestines.


Problems With Sucralose
Migraines can be triggered by ingesting sucralose. Photo Credit AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images

Lead author Rajendrakumar Patel, M.D., of Mercer University School of Medicine, reported a case where migraine symptoms were triggered by sucralose in a physician with a history of migraines. People with allergies or sensitivity to sucralose may also experience migraines.

Allergy or Sensitivity

Problems With Sucralose
Those with allergies or sensitives to sucralose can experience more severe reactions than others. Photo Credit mgturner/iStock/Getty Images

People who have allergies or sensitivities to sucralose may experience more severe reactions than others. Possible signs of an allergy or sensitivity reaction include rash, flushing, anxiety, dizziness, numbness, abdominal pain and cramping and bladder problems.

Long-term Concerns

Problems With Sucralose
Sucralose is considered safe for long-term use, but no long-term studies exist. Photo Credit Jan Sandvik/iStock/Getty Images

Sucralose has been in general use for over 10 years, but no long-term studies of its effects exist. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers sucralose safe for long-term use, even in pregnant women and children, concerned health advocates recommend sparing use and not giving sucralose to children until long-term effects are thoroughly studied.

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