Artificial Sweetener Splenda Goes From "Safe" to "Caution" Rating


After recent research conducted in Italy connected sucralose—the main ingredient in the artificial sweetener, Splenda –with an increased risk of leukemia, the once “safe” rated product was downgraded by consumer group, The Center for Science in the Public Interest, to its “caution” category.

While the study has yet to be published, the findings were significant enough for CSPI to reassign sucralose to its caution category, which also includes caffeine. “Sucralose may prove to be safer than saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium, but the forthcoming Italian study warrants careful scrutiny before we can be confident that the sweetener is safe for use in food,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson in a statement.

While given a “caution” rating, Splenda is still listed as safer than some other major artificial sweeteners. The CSPI gives saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium it’s “avoid” ratings, which is the group’s lowest. Artificial sweeteners, including the genetically modified aspartame, have been linked with numerous health issues, including neurological and reproductive issues, tinnitus, headaches, and certain types of cancers.

Researchers also recently found sucralose, which is derived from sugar, to impact blood glucose levels in obese patients. Long believed to be an “inert” sweetener, the human study found a direct correlation between sucralose consumption and higher blood sugar peaks and a 20 percent increase in insulin levels.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.