Researchers from North Carolina State University have recently conducted a study revealing the safety of sucralose. Sucralose is marketed under the brand name Splenda and is the nation’s leading sugar substitute. It is also added to many products and identified as Sucralose on product labels.

The study, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, discovered that the chemicals present in sucralose can break down human DNA, posing potential risks to human health.

Sucralose’s widespread popularity has now come under scrutiny because of the potential dangers uncovered by researchers at North Carolina State University.

Epidemiological research has indicated a connection between the rise in colorectal cancers, inflammatory bowel disease and dietary choices coupled with dysbiosis, potentially suggesting an association with sucralose consumption.

The focus of the study was to investigate the toxicological and pharmacokinetic properties of sucralose-6-acetate, an impurity and structural analog found in commercially available sucralose samples.

To evaluate the genotoxicity of sucralose-6-acetate, the researchers employed several tests. The results indicated that sucralose-6-acetate is genotoxic, causing DNA strand breaks classified as clastogenic. A single daily drink sweetened with sucralose was found to contain levels of sucralose-6-acetate that surpassed the threshold of toxicological concern for genotoxicity.

The researchers also exposed human intestinal outer lining to both sucralose-6-acetate and sucralose. They conducted an RNA-seq analysis to determine the gene expression induced by these exposures. The study unveiled that sucralose-6-acetate significantly increased the expression of genes associated with inflammation, oxidative stress and cancer. Of particular note was the heightened expression of the metallothionein 1 G gene (MT1G). Moreover, both sucralose-6-acetate and sucralose impaired intestinal barrier integrity.

Further investigation demonstrated that sucralose-6-acetate inhibits two enzymes, CYP1A2 and CYP2C19, belonging to the cytochrome P450 family responsible for drug metabolism.

These findings have raised significant concerns about the safety and regulatory status of sucralose itself. Understanding the genotoxicity of sucralose-6-acetate, its potential impact on human health, and its influence on intestinal barrier integrity necessitate further exploration, according to the researchers.

The full study can be found here.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)