How Do They Make Splenda?
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 are there to prevent (hopefully) the dangerous chlorine molecules from detaching from the sugar molecule inside the digestive system, which would be a carcinogenic hazard.
It’s A Chemical Soup
To illustrate the alarming “chemical soup” required to create sucralose, I have listed below 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.
So, They Say It’s Safe ……?
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 formal: 1,6-dichloro-1, 6-dideoxy-BETA-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside. (See Appendix I and pages 14-17 in Splenda: Is It Safe Or Not?)
Here is the list of the 18 chemical ingredients used to insert the chlorine into the sugar molecule, to supposedly hold it in place so it doesn’t break free inside of your body.
- Acetic acid
- Acetyl alcohol
- Acetic anhydride
- Ammonium chloride
- Chlorinated sulfates
- Ethyl alcohol
- Isobutyl ketones
- Hydrogen chloride
- Lithium chloride
- Sodium methoxide
- Sulfuryl chloride
- Trityl chloride
- Thionyl chloride
This is Splenda. But, they say it is a perfectly safe sugar molecule.
Although manufacturing guidelines specify limits on these hidden 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.