Italian researcher, Dr. Morando Soffritti, first discussed his findings on sucralose at a cancer conference in 2012 to widespread industry backlash. His findings have now been published in the peer reviewed International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, opening the door for controversy.
Soffritti has faced backlash before from a previous study on aspartame. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) drew attention to design flaws in his aspartame study and concluded that his potentially flawed results did not warrant a change in the sweetener’s regulatory status in Europe. Soffritti defended his methodology, but the seeds of doubt had been cast. The doubts may now also loom over his new sucralose study.
Soffritti’s sucralose study showed a significant dose related increase in malignant cancer tumors in mice fed sucralose infused food. He claims these results do not support the previous belief that the sweetener is a biologically inert compound.
Tate & Lyle, the company which manufactures sucralose-based sweetener Splenda, used Soffritti’s previous problems with study methodology to call his sucralose findings into question. The sweetener manufacturer also pointed out that Soffritti’s findings are at odds with 20 years worth of other studies on their FDA-approved sweetener.
Sucralose is an FDA-approved, non-caloric sweetener used in thousands of food and medical products. In addition to sweetening without adding calories, the sweetener is touted for not contributing to dental caries, as being safe for diabetics as it doesn’t raise blood sugar, and as being used to promote weight loss.
While this controversial study does not either prove or disprove the safety of sucralose, it does raise both concern and awareness that the potential exists for the product to not be as safe as previously thought. This could be a concern for bariatric patients as one method of reducing caloric intake is to use zero calorie sweeteners.
For gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients, keep your eye out for new studies on sucralose and other noncaloric sweeteners. Be mindful of what you eat, both in calories and protein. Keep the old adage “You are what you eat” in mind and focus on eating whole foods that contribute to good health, such as lean meats, fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
The above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a Boca Raton based surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and obesity surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients come from all over South Florida, including Miami, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, Delray Beach, Parkland, and West Palm Beach.