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Harmful Effects of Splenda Sorbitol

author image Melissa Sabo
Melissa Sabo is an occupational therapist who started writing professional guidebooks for all Flagship Rehabilitation employees in 2009. Specializing in applied therapy and exercise for non-medical readers, she also coauthored a manual on wheelchair positioning. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy.
Harmful Effects of Splenda Sorbitol
Woman holding her stomach Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Splenda is a sugar substitute discovered during the research process to develop an insecticide. Containing chemicals including chlorine, a possible carcinogenic, Splenda can cause a myriad of health conditions and side effects. As a sugar alcohol, sorbitol is linked to gastrointestinal difficulties but the long-term effects of daily consumption are not well understood. The FDA recommends that Splenda be consumed in moderation to reduce the long-term side effects and feels that it is generally safe for consumption.

Gastrointestinal Effects

The most commonly reported side effect associated with sorbitol is cramping, bloating and diarrhea. In one study, children who ate sorbitol several times per week had recurrent episodes of diarrhea, while the children who did not consume sorbitol experienced zero episodes of diarrhea over a 3-month period. Although the official recommendation from the Food and Drug Adminstration limits the safe consumption of sorbitol to less than 50 g/day, or 5 mg/kg of body weight effects of the sugar alcohol have been seen with only 10 g of sorbitol consumed. Effects increase for children who can react with even smaller amounts of exposure. Although the majority of adults can avoid these effects by limiting their comsumption to the recommended 50 g/day, many people are sensitive to the chemicals in sorbitol.

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Impacts Blood Sugar Levels

Because artificial sweeteners like Splenda and sorbitol provide significantly reduced sucrose, or sugar, content they do not provide digestive feedback to the brain to signal a feeling of fullness. Furthermore, research indicates that these sweeteners may even increase your appetite and lead to increased calorie consumption because the brain "tasted" sweetness in the Splenda but did not receive adequate sugar content consistent with the taste. Because Splenda tastes 600 times as sweet as sugar, a small amount of Splenda signals the brain to expect significant sugar intake, thus increasing the cravings for sweets and carbohydrates.

Weight Gain

Early research results show those who consume Splenda demonstrate increased body mass index and weight gain over time versus those who use table sugar. In one study, Splenda users showed an average of two pound weight gain over one year. Although this is not particularly significant for only year, over a lifetime of Splenda use, the weight gain can be quite significant. Furthermore, the long-term effects of the use of Splenda have not been fully researched and are unknown.

Additional Side Effects

Some of the additional symptoms reported after Splenda and sorbitol consumption are skin irritations including itching, swelling and respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, cough and runny nose. Some users even complains of heart palpitations and mood swings. Because sucralose interferes with the pH balance of your intestines, it can affect the absorption of medications and their effectiveness.

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