The Hidden Chemicals In Splenda®

By Dr. Janet Starr Hull

People may think Johnson & Johnson's Splenda®, made from sucralose, has "come to the rescue" as the newest chemical sugar replacement "made from real sugar." People don't want to hear it may be just as dangerous as aspartame and this "white knight" of sweeteners is no improvement.

So, what exactly is Splenda? Splenda is the trade name for sucralose. Johnson & Johnson bought the rights in 1998 to sell sucralose in the United States as Splenda. Its basic characteristics are:

* Its taste is nearly identical to sugar because it's made from sugar
* Its "trademark" inability to break down in processing or in storage

But Splenda is potentially harmful because it contains chlorine, which is a carcinogen. The Splenda marketers insist the chlorine is chemically "bound" so it cannot be "released" in the body during digestion. I question that, and wonder if this artificial chemical can safely pass through the human body. Wait until you discover what chlorine can do to the body. Then, you decide if you want to ingest this chemical.

Splenda (sucralose) is created in the lab, using a complex process involving dozens of chemicals you and I can barely pronounce - let alone consume. Basically, the chemists force chlorine into an unnatural chemical bond with a sugar molecule, resulting in a sweeter product, but at a price: a huge amount of artificial chemicals must be added to keep sucralose from digesting in our bodies. These toxic substances prevent (hopefully) the dangerous chlorine molecules from detaching from the sugar molecule inside the digestive system, which would be a carcinogenic hazard.

To illustrate the alarming "chemical soup" required to create sucralose, I have listed here the actual process for producing this sweetener. I highlighted the chemicals in bold type for emphasis.

According to the Splenda International Patent A23L001-236 and PEP Review #90-1-4 (July 1991), sucralose is synthesized by this five-step process:
1. sucrose is tritylated with trityl chloride in the presence of dimethylformamide and 4-methylmorpholine and the tritylated sucrose is then acetylated with acetic anhydride,
2. the resulting TRISPA (6,1',6'-tri-O-trityl-penta-O-acetylsucrose) is chlorinated with hydrogen chloride in the presence of toluene,
3. the resulting 4-PAS (sucrose 2,3,4,3',4'-pentaacetate) is heated in the presence of methyl isobutyl ketone and acetic acid,
4. the resulting 6-PAS (sucrose 2,3,6,3',4'-pentaacetate) is chlorinated with thionyl chloride in the presence of toluene and benzyltriethylammonium chloride, and
5. the resulting TOSPA (sucralose pentaacetate) is treated with methanol (wood alcohol, a poison) in the presence of sodium methoxide to produce sucralose.

The Splenda marketers stress that sucralose is "made from sugar but is derived from this sugar through a process that selectively substitutes three atoms of chlorine for three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sucrose molecule." While this is true, it is a deceptively simple description, implying that sucralose is just a benign sugar with a touch of chlorine, and thereby, safe for consumption. According to research on the hydrolysis of sugars, just the process of inserting chlorine into the sugar molecule (hydrolysis means breaking it into smaller molecules) ultimately allows these chemicals to penetrate the intestinal wall.

So sucralose becomes a "low-calorie" sugar with a complicated process that results in Splenda's chemical formula: 1,6-dichloro-1, 6-dideoxy-BETA-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside.

This is Splenda. They say it is a perfectly safe sugar molecule.

Sucralose is patented as a manmade "chlorinated sucrose sweetener" and it is registered as "chlorinated sucrose." Chlorinated sucrose is not found anywhere in nature, like real sugar (sucrose) that is extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets. Chlorinated sucrose exists because of man.

The FDA states in their Final Report on Splenda that sucralose is "produced at an approximate purity of ninety-eight percent." The other two percent does not have to be reported to the FDA, nor listed as added ingredients. So what's in the other two percent? The chemicals used to synthesize sucralose in the five-step process:

1. Acetone
2. Acetic acid
3. Acetyl alcohol
4. Acetic anhydride
5. Ammonium chloride
6. Benzene
7. Chlorinated sulfates
8. Ethyl alcohol
9. Isobutyl ketones
10. Formaldehyde
11. Hydrogen chloride
12. Lithium chloride
13. Methanol
14. Sodium methoxide
15. Sulfuryl chloride
16. Trityl chloride
17. Toluene
18. Thionyl chloride

Although manufacturing guidelines specify limits on these veiled substances, there are no assurances these limits have been met since they do not have to be reported. In addition, the FDA does not presently require an Environmental Impact Statement for sucralose, so it's open season for the rules, at present.

Now you can see why I do not recommend sucralose for pregnancy or for children, especially after reading this list.

People do not want to hear this, but it's time to admit that there is no free ticket to eating all the sugar-free products you desire without paying the high price of harming your body in the long run. The "technology of foods" (artificial sweeteners and manmade foods) has gone too far, and will not secure eternal health, beauty, slimness, or youth. Laboratory chemicals are not the answer.


This information is based on research from Dr. Janet Starr Hull. For more information on Splenda, see Dr. Hull's newly released book Splenda®: Is It Safe Or Not?.

Posted December 2005 | Permanent Link

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