MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 22, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health expressed shock and outrage after reading a new report from scientists at Duke University. "The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study, published this past week in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A, confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label," said Turner.
Among the results in the study by Drs. Mohamed B. Abou-Donia, Eman M. El-Masry, Ali A. Abdel-Rahman, Roger E. McLendon and Susan S. Schiffman is evidence that, in the animals studied, Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50%, increases the pH level in the intestines, contributes to increases in body weight and affects the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in the body in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected. Turner noted that the P-gp effect "could result in crucial medications used in chemotherapy for cancer patients, AIDS treatment and drugs for heart conditions being shunted back into the intestines rather than being absorbed by the body as intended."
The study was conducted using male rats over a period of twelve weeks. The manufacturers of Splenda also used a rat study when they applied for and received approval to market the product from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At the time, the findings from their rat studies were extrapolated as to possible effects on humans. This is standard FDA practice and this study is consistent with that practice.
Turner said, "This report followed accepted policies and procedures and the results make clear the potential for disturbing side effects from the ingestion of Splenda. It is like putting a pesticide in your body. And this is at levels of intake erroneously approved by the Food and Drug Administration. A person eating two slices of cake and drinking two cups of coffee containing Splenda would ingest enough sucralose to affect the P-glycoprotein, while consuming just seven little Splenda packages reduces good bacteria." Although the effect of consuming Splenda does not result from a one time use, the side effects do occur after accumulated use. Turner also noted unmistakable evidence that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to the claims of Johnson & Johnson.
Turner announced, "We are calling today on the FDA to immediately accept our petition filed over a year ago and initiate a review of its approval of sucralose and to require a warning label on Splenda packaging cautioning that people who take medications and/or have gastrointestinal problems avoid using Splenda. The new study makes it clear that Splenda can cause you to gain weight and lose the benefits of medications designed to improve and protect your health. The FDA should not continue to turn a blind eye to this health threat."
Citizens for Health will testify in Sacramento, CA, on October 3, 2008, before the California Assembly Committee on Health which is examining the use of deceptive advertising to promote sales of potentially unhealthy food additives, particularly artificial sweeteners.
About Citizens for Health
Citizens for Health (www.citizens.org) is an international non-profit consumer advocacy group working to broaden healthcare options, create an integrative health system based on wellness, and advance the freedom to make health choices. The group promotes the fundamental policies needed to improve health choices and information in the U.S. and internationally. The group works with grassroots and education organizations and partners to ensure consumer access to dietary supplements, safe foods, a healthy environment and a wide range of healing therapies. Citizens for Health fosters active citizen leadership and organizes natural health consumers to create political and legislative solutions that support those rights.
Citizens for Health Jim Turner 202-255-8040