Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dear Colette, I Think I’m Allergic to Sucralose

2D structure of artificial sweetener sucralose
Chemical structure of sucralose via Wikipedia
I recently received a letter from Maggi, who was concerned about a reaction she was having to the artificial sweetener Splenda. Here is an excerpt from her letter:

I have experienced yet another episode of unbelievably itchy hives on my face, neck, ears, and arms that lasted almost 72 hours after inadvertently consuming sucralose (Splenda). Having seen a doctor, an allergist, and a dermatologist over a period of 2 years with wild guesses at common causes of allergic reactions, I finally diagnosed myself after baking a pie using Splenda and suffering a near immediate severe allergic reaction shortly thereafter. My last reaction a couple of weeks ago was worse than any before after only a small inadvertent dose that was added to some vanilla syrup (the kind that is added to coffees). It wasn't until I got sick that I picked up the bottle and read it was pure sucralose.

My response to Maggi:

Sucralose is sugar that has been chemically modified by adding chlorine. It is considered to have “no calories” because the body cannot digest it. That fact alone should cause us all some concern. I would question whether a food that cannot be absorbed by the body is indeed food at all.

Since sucralose is a sugar, it doesn’t fit the mold of traditional allergies – which are to the proteins in food. However, I did discover that sucralose also contains a small amount of binding agents – including corn, which could also be a trigger of food allergies.

Whether it’s a reaction to the chemicals used to process sucralose, to the binding agents, or something else, it’s clear based on the direct cause and effect that you are experiencing an allergic reaction to sucralose.

The solution is to avoid the product. One of the hardest things for all of us with food allergies is to learn to read product labels. You must read every label for every food product you buy, even if you’ve used it before without a problem. Formulas change, and it’s likely that the use of sucralose in processed foods will increase over time.

Readers, what adiditonal advice do you have for Maggi?

3 comments:

Ashley Srokosz said...

I would suggest using Stevia as an all-natural, calorie-free alternative. She should be able to find this in most health food stores in her area.

Colette said...

Ashley, great idea!

Maggi said...

http://stevia-side-effects.org/

Thanks for that suggestion. But I have discovered for me personally that a little "real sugar" in my diet is better than any of the other low-cal or no-cal options. With Splenda it literally feels as though my body is trying to expel it out my skin. I am not allergic to any corn products, so I think it has to be the chlorine or other binders that are part of Splenda's composition.

I just hope to save others from the grief I endured for 2+ years of crazy hives and awful itching that completely stopped after I stopped using any Splenda/sucralose products.

Thanks Colette, for helping spread the word.