Fear Not: Sucralose May Not Cause Cancer Despite The Latest Study

"Splenda Causes Cancer" is a headline popping up all over the internet lately. Writers attribute this sensational statement to a study conducted by Italian scientists and published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health that stated that feeding Sucralose (the third and final ingredient in Splenda) to Swiss mice throughout their lives resulted in them developing leukemia and tumors. The writers concluded their study by stating:

"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."

With little surprise, the health & wellness world went nuts warning about the dangers of Splenda, Diet Pepsi, and other Sucralose sweetened foods. However, taking a deeper look at this study and the scientists behind it reveals a less scientific conclusion.

According to Forbes, the scientist who published the study are from the Ramazzini Institute, the same institute that, in 2010, concluded Aspartame caused cancer in mice when administered over a lifetime, and was later looked into by the European Food Safety Authority and the Food and Drug Administration.

Both groups concluded that the study was poorly executed, designed, and lacked the evidence to make the conclusion Ramazzini came to. The EFSA stated that the study went against "general acceptance" regarding lifetime studies, saying

"Life time studies until or close to natural death can lead to erroneous conclusions because of the following limitations. Older animals are more susceptible to illness and have increased background pathology, which includes spontaneous tumours and have a higher probability of autolysis than younger animals.”

The latest study suffers from the same lifetime study issue, as well as data that shows a lower percentage of tumors in female and some male mice when administered Sucralose versus mice that weren't. 

"What’s interesting is that these findings confirm previous reports from another group of no adverse effects of Sucralose and some reduction in tumor rates," Forbes contributor Emily Willingham states.

The logical conclusion to this study, at best, is that it was inconclusive. So if you're one of those people obsessively reading the backs of every product you purchase, Sucralose can't yet be put on the black list.

David J. KrauseComment