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Sucralose Double Whammy All, At some times in the past at least, sucralose (aka Splenda) has been considered by some CR folks to be one of the better artificial sweeteners due to it's apparent inert nature in the human digestive system. But that seems to have been called into question recently, as highlighted by two popular press pieces that came across my radar today. The first is this story on the recent downgrade of Splenda from "Caution" to "Avoid" by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), as announced here. Quoting the CSPI president: “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. “That said, the risk posed by over-consumption of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, particularly from soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, far outweighs the cancer risk posed by sucralose and most other artificial sweeteners. Consumers are better off drinking water, seltzer, or flavored waters, but diet soda does beat regular soda.” The CSPI cites concerns over Splenda as a result of this new study , which found mice fed daily doses of sucralose (supposedly equivalent to 10 cans of diet soda) developed leukemia. The conclusion of  is fairly alarming (alarmist?!): These findings do not support previous data that sucralose is biologically inert. More studies are necessary to show the safety of sucralose, including new and more adequate carcinogenic bioassay on rats. Considering that millions of people are likely exposed, follow-up studies are urgent. While I haven't looked at the full text, it seems this study alone might be sufficient to discourage the use of sucralose, especially on top of the troubling previous study  that found sucralose (along with nutrasweet/aspartame and Sweet-N-Low/saccharin) caused obesity-promoting changes in the gut microbial population. Dr. Greger highlights  as his motivation for recommending people avoid Splenda in today's video: He also points to correlations between the introduction of sucralose and the rise in prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in several countries as potentially troubling as well. --Dean ------------  International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health Published online: 29 Jan 2016 DOI:10.1080/10773525.2015.1106075 Sucralose administered in feed, beginning prenatally through lifespan, induces hematopoietic neoplasias in male swiss mice Soffritti M. , Padovani M. , Tibaldi E. , Falcioni L. , Manservisi F. , Lauriola M. , Bua L. , Manservigi M. , Belpoggi F. Abstract Background: Sucralose is an organochlorine artificial sweetener approximately 600 times sweeter than sucrose and used in over 4,500 products. Long-term carcinogenicity bioassays on rats and mice conducted on behalf of the manufacturer have failed to show the evidence of carcinogenic effects. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the carcinogenic effect of sucralose in mice, using a sensitive experimental design. Methods: Five groups of male (total n = 457) and five groups female (total n = 396) Swiss mice were treated from 12 days of gestation through the lifespan with sucralose in their feed at concentrations of 0, 500, 2,000, 8,000, and 16,000 ppm. Results: We found a significant dose-related increased incidence of males bearing malignant tumors (p < 0.05) and a significant dose-related increased incidence (p < 0.01) of hematopoietic neoplasias in males, in particular at the dose levels of 2,000 ppm (p < 0.01) and 16,000 ppm (p < 0.01). Conclusions: These findings do not support previous data that sucralose is biologically inert. More studies are necessary to show the safety of sucralose, including new and more adequate carcinogenic bioassay on rats. Considering that millions of people are likely exposed, follow-up studies are urgent. ------------  Nature. 2014 Oct 9;514(7521):181-6. doi: 10.1038/nature13793. Epub 2014 Sep 17. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Suez J(1), Korem T(2), Zeevi D(2), Zilberman-Schapira G(3), Thaiss CA(1), Maza O(1), Israeli D(4), Zmora N(5), Gilad S(6), Weinberger A(7), Kuperman Y(8), Harmelin A(8), Kolodkin-Gal I(9), Shapiro H(1), Halpern Z(10), Segal E(7), Elinav E(1). Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are among the most widely used food additives worldwide, regularly consumed by lean and obese individuals alike. NAS consumption is considered safe and beneficial owing to their low caloric content, yet supporting scientific data remain sparse and controversial. Here we demonstrate that consumption of commonly used NAS formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota. These NAS-mediated deleterious metabolic effects are abrogated by antibiotic treatment, and are fully transferrable to germ-free mice upon faecal transplantation of microbiota configurations from NAS-consuming mice, or of microbiota anaerobically incubated in the presence of NAS. We identify NAS-altered microbial metabolic pathways that are linked to host susceptibility to metabolic disease, and demonstrate similar NAS-induced dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in healthy human subjects. Collectively, our results link NAS consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage. PMID: 25231862
From an optimal health / longevity stance, I'm curious which sweeteners might work best. There's honey, which contains a fair amount of free fructose and is basically pure sugar + some minor antioxidants (although, my diet is generally packed with antioxidants.) There's coconut sugar / dark brown sugar / maple syrup, which are fairly similar to honey (or high-fructose corn syrup), but a bit more processed. Then, there's date sugar and molasses, which seem fairly similar to honey, but contain much more in the way of antioxidants and micronutrients. And finally, there's the more interesting sweeteners like Stevia, Monk Fruit, Xylitol, Erythritol, and others ("Just Like Sugar", Trehalose, etc.) For a while, I was fairly anti-sugar / anti-fructose in an attempt to maintain very low levels of small dense LDL, very low levels of triglycerides, and support metabolic health / insulin sensitivity, although lately I'm coming around to a higher intake of fructose+sucrose from fruits along with a higher intake of glucose+starches as I'm finding ways to attenuate their effects on blood sugar. I don't usually buy into zero calorie sweeteners, but I've been experimenting a bit with sugar alcohols / stevia and they seem to work fine for my purposes as well. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daf-2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_Kenyon#Personal_diet Am I better off sticking to sugar-based sweeteners (like honey?), or including some mix of sugar alcohols (xylitol or erythritol?), or including some stevia, for my health / longevity goals?