Splenda Possibly Linked to Cancer, New Study Finds

By , Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist
Since its 1999 debut, Splenda has become the country's most popular artificial sweetener, not only for sweetening coffee and tea, but also for cooking and baking. Until now, the sucralose-based Splenda has been considered a safe sugar substitute, but a new study has shown that it could possibly be linked to cancer and other major health issues.

Published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, the independent study found mice that ingested sucralose every day developed various types of blood cancers, including leukemia. It's important to note that the mice were given very high doses of sucralose, equivalent to what's found in 10 cans of diet soda per day, and the study was not performed on humans. 

In 2013, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nutritional consumer advocacy group, downgraded its rating of Splenda from "Safe" to "Caution." And now, in light of these new study findings, CSPI has further downgraded the rating to "Avoid."

“We recommend that consumers avoid sucralose, or Splenda, and we recommend consumers also avoid saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium,” said CSPI president Michael F. Jacobson in a statement on the organization's website. However, Jacobson also pointed out that consuming too much regular sugar carries a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity than the cancer risk posed by artificial sweeteners.

In addition to the potential for increased cancer risk, artificial sweeteners have also been linked to higher rates of obesity, diabetes and elevated blood sugar levels. Although Splenda is intended to negate the need for high-calorie sugars, it can actually lead to stronger cravings and higher food consumption. To avoid the risks associated with Splenda, Jacobson recommends sticking with water, seltzer or flavored waters.

Of course, this is just a single study performed on rats and not humans, and there have been many other studies indicating that Splenda is safe to consume in moderation, as are other artificial sweeteners.

Learn more about artificial sweeteners and healthy beverage guidelines.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See more: news breaking news


I just went checking things out here~~
They fed those mice the equivalent of sucralose found in 10 cans of diet soda DAILY~~ to get that cancer in them~~ ( it does not say how long they did this )
A can of diet soda has about 85mg of sucralose per can...X 10 = 850 mgs daily~~
A tsp of sucralose powder has 6 mg~~ so doing the math that means you would need to consume about 150 ( 141.6 to be exact ) teaspoons DAILY to get the same amount as the mice did!
One cup has about 48 tsps. so you would need to consume almost 3 cups of sucralose DAILY to get the same amount they fed the mice~~

NO ONE would ever be able to eat that much sucralose DAILY!!!

I wish these so called *studies* would give it a rest! Report
Our family is in slow process or changing over from Splenda to other choices like Stevia, and erythritol. I went thru the fear of Sweet'n Low a while back and quit using it, too. My view is why take the chance? For a long time while my kids were growing up I refused to use any artificial sweeteners in our home. It was Splenda that drew us back in because of trying to move to a sugar free diet for ADHD therapy. Now we are still trying to walk the SF lifestyle and figure out what is best..... Report
Almost makes corn syrup seem like a healthy alternative Report
Rather alarmist, Sparkpeople! Report
I have been using Splenda for years. I believe reports should be published when there are absolute proof beyond a doubt. Report
I've been using splenda for nearly 15 years. No problems yet. I wish these scientific studies were made using common sense amounts instead of 10 or 20 times more than a human could even use in a lifetime!!! Report
I've used Splenda for years and will not be changing back to sugar. It is getting too difficult to know which foods we are to eat and which not to eat. I think I'll just stick to what I like, like Splenda! Report
I am getting so tired of these so-called scientific studies. If we believe all the articles that say this food and that food causes cancer, we wouldn't be eating anything. How about a little common sense?
I use Splenda and have had no problems. I don't like the aftertaste in Sweet and Low and Equal was giving me trouble. I've tried Monkfruit sweetner and Truvia and don't like them. And I don't drink diet soft drinks because I can't stand the taste.
Everyone is different and we have to do what's best for each of us. It's not a "one size fits all". Report
I don't use a lot of artificial sweeteners or sugar but as an R.N. I can say that sparkpeople needs to pull this unscientific article from their site. It hurts sparkpeople's credibility. Report
I use one packet of Splenda in my coffee or tea. I do not consider that a high risk. Report
Personally, I avoid all artificial sweeteners. I used to drink Fresca with cyclamates in the late 60s. It was "safe" and "thoroughly tested" until it had to be pulled from the market. As long as we have access to the results of all studies AND ingredients continue to be clearly labeled, each person can decide for themselves. I'm concerned by recent attempts to Deny Americans the Right to Know what's in their food (regarding GMOs). Just Label It. Report
FINALLY a voice of reason in the sugar substitutes "arguments" including those had on this website!
Consider chlorine: it is not found in nature and it causes issues in the human body. (Chlorine is very reactive and, as a result, is not found in its free form in nature, but only in compounds with other elements.)
Why would someone eat or use a substance that masks sugar with chlorine??
see the website: ://draxe.com/dangerous-splenda-pote
ener/ Report
Please look into Stevia as a healthier substitute. Report
Thank you Judy1260 for the link! I use Splenda every day so seeing the title of this article had me scared. But I've been using Splenda on a regular basis for years and have had no ill effects from it. I understand that the long term effects may not be clear yet but so far so good in my book! Report
Another ridiculous and silly article to scare people. This is a scare tactic. There is NOT enough proof or evidence that Splenda or other sweeteners causes cancer. Just like there is NO proof between vaccines and autism. Shame on you SparkPeople for attempting to scare people. This is an article full of lies. Report
Artificial sweeteners are not food. They are a food-like substance.
In essence, a sweet-tasting chemical.

For those who love Google, here's what they have to say about it:
"Five artificial sweeteners – acesulfame K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose – are approved for use in the U.S. All are chemically manufactured molecules – molecules that do not exist in nature."

Because there couldn't possibly be any negative effects to ingesting a non-natural chemical substance. And experiments with rats never translate to meaningful information about humans.

Sucralose/Splenda: Mmmmm -- good.

exactly what i was gonna say, SLLRUNNER. there's not enough evidence to support this claim. Report
It should be noted that in the study with the animals that they were eating so much splenda it was actually crystalizing out in their urine. Which is quite a bit more than the equivalent of 10 sodas a day per a human. I've never been able to eat splenda as it ruins my digestive tract with zeal -- but we studied the original animal splenda paper when I was a graduate student. I don't know if its good for you or not -- but these things should be kept in perspective. Report
Another silly scare. Mice are not people. Here's the Snopes link. http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxin
Sparkpeople, why is this article even here? Report
I just posted this new scare from the Internet a few days ago on my blog! The Snopes article about Splenda is older than the study. My uncle and my father are both diabetic. I am not sure what my Dad uses, but my Uncle swears by Sweetleaf. Report
I stopped using Splenda years ago when I realized it was causing me to have some "digestive distress." I'm trying my best to get away from all chemical sweeteners. Report
Stick with 'real' foods. Why strive to get healthy while pumping your system with artificial ANYTHING? If you can't have sugar....learn to do without. I opt for raw unfiltered honey if I must use a sweetener. I refuse to intentionally consume anything that is created primarily with chemicals to enhance flavor, color, texture, or shelf life. Report
Thanks Judy D for clarifying.. How did Sparkpeople allow this to be published on their site is beyond me Report
This is a great example of how some "journalists" should change careers. The research referenced has already been debunked for having extremely poor methodology. I'm all in favor of being aware of the latest research on artificial sweeteners, but people who don't know how to write about research have no business doing so. Shame on you, Sparkpeople, for publishing lousy journalism and fear-mongering. Report
I've been using Splenda for years with no side affects to my knowledge. I'll be talking to my own doctor about what he thinks about artificial sweeteners and Splenda in particular. I simply don't believe in all the hype I read. Report
It is really difficult to know what is safe to use as a sugar alternative. Splenda is my preferred sugar substitute and I mostly use it to sweeten coffee or tea. Report
Thank you for the Snopes clear-up, Judy 1260. Report
The post is unfounded, as shown by another person's Snopes link. Personally, I use no artificial sweeteners and rarely add sugar to anything. If I do need something sweetened, I use sugar, mostly Sugar in the Raw or organic sugars. As for diabetes, check with your doctors; they have the latest information and can advise on what to use. I have several relatives with diabetes and they don't use these products; it's all a matter of taste I guess. Report
I have diabetes and I don't use sweeteners. Coffee gets cinnamon. Fruit gets nothing. My taste buds are fine with it after weaning myself off of sweeteners.

A recent book had a comment how a woman asked "Well, what do I put on my strawberries if I can't use sugar or artificial sweeteners?"

Duh. Report
Great, more fear mongering. Keep it up, Melissa.

"The Center for Science in the Public Interest, downgraded sucralose from "Safe" to "Caution" in June 2013, citing an unpublished study linking sucralose consumption with leukemia risk in rats. The study has been criticized as being poorly executed and reported."

"Results from over 100 animal and clinical studies in the FDA approval process unanimously indicated a lack of risk associated with sucralose intake. However, some adverse effects were seen at doses that significantly exceeded the estimated daily intake (EDI), which is 1.1 mg/kg BW/day."

This was only ONE study done on MICE in very high doses, so one cannot conclude that it's going to cause cancer in humans when consumed at safe levels, especially considering the rest of the research done on sucralose says otherwise.

This is what you get when a layperson writes about nutritional science. Report
Stevia caused my husband to have a brain bleed, so don't fall in love with that junk, either! Stevia is also not good, friends. Take it to heart!!!! Report
"Splenda" was discovered in pesticide research. Never consume the garbage. Report
I absolutely believe that my use of Splenda when it first came on board did nothing to improve my health and has made it worse since then. I used to get all kinds of weird body reactions and it took awhile to realize it was Splenda. These days, when I see a recipe on SparkRecipes that used Splenda, I just substitute Stevia and move on. I think my refusal to use Splenda is partly what has kept me from being full-blown diabetic. Doctors keep watching my sugars but they say they can't call it diabetes yet. They seem somewhat stunned when I tell them I won't use Splenda. Report
My ex-husband has worked for the FDA for over 20 years. The studies he has seen on artificial sweeteners would curl your toes. It's really frightening. I stick to water. Report
Splenda is the only artificial sweetener my body can tolerate :( But I'm trying to cut back on my sugar intake, so which is worse? Report
So what do we use when we have a family member with diabetes? Report
Last updated today, March 11, 2016:

I wonder how Organic Stevia compares?