Sunday, November 12, 2017

Splenda: why scientists track your artificial sweeteners

Those ubiquitous pink and yellow packets and zero calorie drinks. Splenda/Sucralose seemed like such a great idea. Take sugar, replace a couple hydrogen and oxygen elements with chlorine and it still tastes sweet, but your body can’t use it. Apparently neither can anything else.

Imagine you drink a can of “diet” soda and then, eventually, Nature calls. Virtually all the Sucralose goes right through the wastewater treatment system into rivers, aquifers or even seas. Norway has found measurable levels in the North Sea. It doesn’t appear to break down when exposed to sun and has roughly a two year half-life. It’s not clear what the long term effects will be. A study published by the American Chemical Society indicates:
Degradation only occurred to a limited extent during hydrolysis, ozonation, and microbial processes indicating that breakdown of sucralose will likely be slow and incomplete leading to accumulation in surface waters

It’s unclear what the environmental impact may be given that most organisms can’t recognize it. But if it goes into streams or lakes faster than it can break down, it definitely will build up.

Some scientist find this property of being persistent useful. They are using Sucralose as a tracer to see where wastewater ends up.

It’s not just in diet drinks. You’ll find these sweeteners in some brands of toothpaste,  kettle corn popcorn, power bars, chewing gums and even a Gerber product for babies’ teeth. Click here for one list of products containing Sucralose.

What’s in your fridge or cabinet?  Tell us if you find something you didn’t consider a diet product to contain it.

Sugar: C12H22O11

Sucralose: C12H19Cl3O8

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