|Fearmongering fake, or true biohazard. This is the life-or-death- question this last installment of the sucralose trilogy will have to answer.|
Put your hazard suits on, folks!
It's obvious that I got carried away by my imagination, when I wrote this subheading, but if the same wasn't true for the author of the repeatedly cited press release, many of us are about to suffer the consequences of the potential unsafety of the hitherto unknown sucralose metabolites in our guts, pretty soon. In fact, you don't even have to go searching the databases for hours to find evidence that would support the claim that some of these metabolits that supposedly arise, while sucralose passes through our digestive tract (hitherto we have only highly debated evidence from rodent studies that there are any metabolits at all, by the way) could be pretty nasty bastards. In their 2008 paper, Abou-Donia et al. (2008), whose rodent study is still the only one to support the claim that the consumption of sucralose (HED 42mg/day or more over 3 months) will lead to a "reduction in the number and balance of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract" (quote from press release; learn more), cite a study, for example, in which Sasaki et al. (2002) confirmed that sucralose exerts genotoxic effects. This does not mean that the DNA breaks / changes the researchers observed lead to the development of cancer, but the in vivo comet essay the researchers used, is generally considered a very reliable indicator of the genotoxicity of the tested compound in a particular body part (Brendler-Schwaab. 2005).
|Believe it or not, but aspartame is one out of three sweeteners Sasaki et al. tested that are not genotoxic | more about aspartame|
So what does the (almost) "real-world" evidence say?
It's unquestionably debatable whether this was a good idea or a tragic mistake, but without corresponding "real-world" assays from longer-term rodent studies, the damage that occurs in response to the DNA breaks that have been observed in in-vitro studies may well be so small that the DNA repair machinery that operates in our bodies 24/7 can fix it easily. In this case, our coroners would probably find a similar increase in non-neoplastic findings (=non-cancerous, often minimal tissue growth, where it does not belong), as they were reported by Mann et al. (see list below the red box) in a combined chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity study of sucralose in Sprague–Dawley rats and a carcinogenicity study of sucralose in mice (Mann. 2000a, 2000b). Direct evidence for the development of cancer and/or the potential epigenetic changes is yet, as Schiffman & Rother have to concede, simply not available.
|Don't bake your arginine-containing anti-diabetes cookies with sucralose|
- No toxic effects even with 3% of total dietary intake in Sprague–Dawley rats; all non-neoplastic findings that occurred were of no toxicological significance and are part of the regular aging process of this strain of rats (Mann. 2000a)
- No positive results in in vivo chromosome aberration test in rats and two separate micronucleus tests in mice with doses of up to 2,000mg/kg for 5 days (Brusick. 2010)
- No effect on organ and general development, when fed to pregnant rats and rabbits in HEDs of up to 26g (rats) and 9g, respectively (Kille. 2000)
- The death of one out of 10 mice in a study by Finn and Lord that occured in response to the ingestion of the human equivalent of 1g/day of sucralse can hardly be considered conclusive evidence in favor of the "sucralose is poison hypothesis (Finn. 2000).
- The effects Mann et al. describe in a study where 3%-5% of the chow was pure sucralose is devoid of any relevance for our question (Mann. 2000a; Goldsmith. 2000). The same goes for the numerous studies where the lab animals received sucralose in amounts of >500mg/kg body weight (e.g. Finn. 2000; Kille. 2000). For a human being that would be more than 6.5g/day - and that's only if the lab animal was a rodent. For larger animals it would be even more.
Let's get on to potential endocrine effects
In view of the fact that it is pointless to speculate about the validity of the data from the positive studies in the foregoing list, I want to turn to another, the final and as we are going to see not necessarily more "productive" topic of this third and last installment of my sucralose review trilogy: The endocrine effects.
|Due to sucralose not just vegans (more) may be at risk of low B12|
To this ends we have to go back to the previously cited study by Abou-Donia et al. (2008), of which I did not tell you in the last installment of this series that it has (obviously) been under heavy attack by toxicology experts who do not necessarily doubt the validity of the study data Abou-Donia et al. present, but claim that their interpretation was irresponsible. A brief note on the criticism of the Abou-Donia study: As you'd expect it's no coincidence that the corresponding paper carries the phrase "expert panel" in it's title. It was after all written and published on request of McNeil Nutritionals, a marketer of retail products that contain the non-nutritive sweetener, sucralose, who paid the "panel of experts" to do a "independent and rigorous review of the 2008 study by Abou-Donia et al." (Brusick. 2009)