Patty uses advanced degrees in preventive medicine and health psychology in research and treatment for public and private health agencies.
Allergy Symptoms are Individual
Allergies symptoms are not always instantaneous. Some substances, or their impact, accumulate in a human's body to produce allergies over time.
As an adult, I eliminated sugar from my diet and stopped adding salt to foods at the table. The childhood memories of sugar on salads and undissolved salt covering the top of fried eggs still is unpleasant to me.
A few artificial sweeteners were touted as unable to be recognized as non-sugar and I wondered who was taking the taste tests. Coca Cola's Tab® tasted like cellophane to me. I inadvertently insulted friends that like this diet soft drink with that statement, but not everyone has a pleasant result from artificial sweeteners. Some are allergic to at least one of them.
Beyond that, some of these allergies can be fatal. Approximately one year ago, one of my colleagues was rushed to the hospital ER with a severe allergic reaction to his first intake of Splenda® or sucralose.
Chlorine Makes Sucralose: Sucralose is made from sugar by replacing three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms.
Chemical Formula: C12H19Cl3O8
Chemically, Sucralose (Splenda) is more similar to DDT than sugar.
— Dr. Mercola at mercola.com
My allergy to this product is not as severe as my friend's or as deadly as that of patients whose case studies we can read online. However, I am allergic.
The last time I looked at the list of symptoms compiled by the medical profession for this artificial sweetener, I found 28 symptoms, and while I suffered from 15 of them.
The accumulation of product use resulted in an allergic reaction after about six months. This entailed one smoothie a few times a week, two diet beverages or iced teas a week, and one dessert every week or so.
After the reaction, I returned to unsweetened ice tea. My colleague stays away from all artificial sweeteners. One other friend (female) experienced 5 or 6 allergy symptoms after about 6 weeks of losing weight successfully with Splenda® and discarded it from her diet.
Be Aware of the Symptoms
Not everyone and perhaps not many are allergic to this product, but the Splenda® allergy is real, by my own expereince.
It is very important that allergies not be treated lightly, because they can result in death among the worst cases. Others sometimes accuse sufferers of faking or imagining allergies. This is dramatically not the case when a person experiences anaphylactic shock. Minutes until treatment can mean life or death.
An acquaintance that did not "believe in allergies" because he had none himself, once was determined to put Splenda® into my food unbeknownst to me, in order to prove that I was "faking."
I caught this person in the act of pouring the product into my food and never ate anything he prepared again. Interestingly, he began having allergies of his own.
Important Sucralose-Related Symptoms
The following symptoms and groups of symptoms may result from an allergic reaction to Splenda®, but also may be the result of other causes.
Additional symptoms not listed below could be related to the product as well.
Consult your healthcare professional in order to be certain of the cause in your own case of symptoms.
- Abdominal cramping or discomfort, heartburn, and possibly bloating and gas.
- An itchy skin rash can result from an allergic reaction. It is often pink and sometimes accompanied by feeling flushed after ingestion of the product.
- Headaches and migraines, most often the latter. In fact, just before I had the first allergic reaction, I experienced the “aura” that comes before some migraines.
- Dizziness – Lightheadedness or vertigo (room spinning)
- Diarrhea, constipation, or both, alternating
- Muscle aches and stiffness
- Joint swelling and pain
- Hair loss
- Numbness of extremities (my arms and hands “fell asleep”)
- Dry mouth and/or sinuses, swollen lips, burning tongue, similar.
- Constricted airway and difficult breathing, shortness of breath
- Blurred or unfocused vision
- Memory problems and/or confusion
- Sensitivity to light and sound without migraine pain
- Irritability and anger behavior
- Fatigue and restlessness; sleep changes
- Clumsiness and loss of fine motor movement direction
- Depression, anxiety, PMS
- Weight gain instead of loss
- Other: Bleeding that is quick and will not clot, blood in urine, seizures, chest pains, cardiac involvement, elevated liver enzymes.
Alternatives To Sucralose
Check the contents of any artificial sweetener you might want to purchase for the first time. If in doubt about its effects, call your doctor or dietician.
I don't like much refined sugar or very much sweetness in foods and beverages, so I use honey or some raw sugar and stevia.
Stevia is a natural sweetener and seems best, to me, in beverages; but I've used it well in cooking and baking. Agave nectar is another natural choice.
Natural Baking Substitutes
In baking, I use unsweetened applesauce, mashed ripe bananas, or crushed pineapple in place of a large part of the fat, sugar, and eggs required by some recipes, like oatmeal-based cookies with raisins and nuts, and some other baked goods. The fruits also makes the baked product very moist.
Health Benefits of Honey
Manuka Honey and the Best Natural Healing -- Wound healing is a big thrust in Medicine and Health for the 2010s. New Zealand is one of the first countries to successfully employ honey for wound healing and the treatment is now available worldwide. Honey is a good substitute for artificial sweeteners in many recipes.
- ConsumersAffairs.com Splenda: Consumer Complaints and Reviews. consumeraffairs.com/nutrition/splenda.html Retreived May 3, 2017.
- Gold, Marc D. Sucralose Toxicity Information Center. Splenda Toxicity Reaction Samples. firstname.lastname@example.org; Email of July 30 , 2007.
- Mercola, Joseph, MD. The Potential Dangers of Sucralose. December 3, 2000. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/12/03/sucralose-testimonials.aspx Retrieved March 15, 2017.
© 2010 Patty Inglish MS
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 04, 2019:
I do like stevia very much. Best of success with your adventures in sweeteners and nutrition!
Lisa Marie Gabriel from United Kingdom on January 04, 2019:
This is very interesting. I follow a strictly low carb way of eating these days and I did use Splenda for a while until someone told me about problems. I does cause bloating, I know. I don't have much of a sweet tooth but now use stevia or erythritol in baking. Much safer.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 05, 2017:
It is a good thing you had the epi pen with you. Splenda really can kill and it is buried in ingredient fine print on grocery items. I think those allergic to it have the right for it to be listed in large letters on the front of packages.
Heidi on January 05, 2017:
Ended up with an epi pen after an episode of hives after using a Swiss Miss Kcup which has splenda in it. I have slowly eliminated every other ingredient and have come to find out that it is the splenda which caused the reaction. Very dangerous!
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 08, 2016:
I remember having migraines and they were torture. I hope your health continues to improve!
Nancy Simmons on December 08, 2016:
I was told to remove all artificial sweetner from my diet when I was diagnosed with cfs. It was causing migraine and stomach distress. Tho the migraine and stomach distress have not be totally eliminated by avoiding artificial sweet there don't as often.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 04, 2015:
Andrea, I am feeling bad for your experiences. I am finding Splenda in many products at the grocery and there is no warning label. Starting with Kroger, I am going to contact these places and ask why not.
Andrea on September 03, 2015:
I've known that I am severely allergic to Splenda pretty much since it has come out. What happens to me is a complete arrest of my digestive system which can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks to clear out of my system even after the smallest ingestion of the stuff.
The last two weeks I've been feeling very unwell, bloated, cramped heart palps, bad sleeping, extremely bad cramping. I've been very careful what I've been eating, blaming this and that with no resolution until tonight I found it! I take a Zantac before bed for acid reflux. Last time they were out of regular pills so I got the cooling ones.... Red the ingredient tonight. Right there SPLENDA!! Feel better that I know what it is. Such a small amount though!
One year I went to a friends for Christmas dinner, after we polished off her homemade cheesecake she let us all know to be thankful she us d Splenda instead of sugar. I was sick for weeks. From now on I don't trust anything without a label.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 11, 2015:
Diet Pepsi!? Oh No! I just looked at bread labels in Kroger grocery last night and found that many of them use Splenda (Sucralose). I could have become very, very ill. What are we going to do? I've contacted companies about their using Splenda and they don't respond -- They don't care.
LarrH on August 11, 2015:
It took me YEARS to figue out I was alergic to Splenda. Mainly because I only ate/drank things that had it... occasionally. And it would take two or three days to build-up to the most excruciating migraines. They felt like sinus headaches, but on amount of decongestant helped.
I first noticed it when I spent a week in Washington, D.C. on the way back home to S.F. I was literally in tears on the plane. The pressure and the migraine was killing me. A couple of years later... I went back to the east coast, this time Florida, to visit a friend. He bought me a 12 pack of diet coke. After drinking about 6 of them over a two or three day period... I started experiencing a fairly severe headache. On the fourth day... I had a couple more, and by mid afternoon I was totally laid out on the couch with a migraine. It was then, that I checked the packaging on the Diet Coke and it was made with Splenda. I immediately stopped drinking it. Started flushing myself with Water, and non-diet sodas/teas. Within a day... I was almost back to normal. Now... I always check the labels on diet products.
I just heard this morning... that Diet Pepsi is switching to using Splenda. So... No more Diet Pepsi for me.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 06, 2012:
Cool! Splenda can be pretty bad for those who are allergic like me. Thanks for posting.
doris on November 06, 2012:
thanks for the great hub. had no idea so many had allergic reactions like mine. im off artificial sweeteners for good and will share this with everyone i know.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 09, 2012:
You surely have many symptoms of something, Lawrence, and I hope stopping the Splenda puts an end to at least some of them for you.
Now that I don't usually ingest this artificial sweetener, if I accidentally drink soda that uses the stuff, I'm OK. Some people have an extreme reaction to it even after avoiding it for years. A bad thing is that I see that some bread in the grocery store includes the sweetener without the big "Splenda" balloon on the front of the wrapper.
Hope you are feeling better soon!
Lawrence Da'vid on April 09, 2012:
Gad!!!!and I thought it was just old age!!!! I'm bloated and have more gas than a gas company. Itchy skin, muscle aches and stiffness, joint pain, numbness in the feet, dry mouth, shortness of breath (attributed to COPD) but getting worse all thetime, tinnitus which comes and goes frequently...actually all the time, irritability, sleep changes, depression (taking meds)and last, "hello goodyear" gaining weight. And I thought it was just because I was older than dirt and going through male menopause or PMS. Going to stop Splenda immediately and go back to sugar for a test. I will keep a record.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 08, 2012:
You might have to ask a doctor. Anyway, don't ingest anything with Splenda. Yellow food coloring can also cause itching
Kobby on April 08, 2012:
this neck,arm and leg itches are killing me,4 years now...how fast can I make it go away forever.
fluffy42 from San Diego, CA on February 18, 2011:
That's good to know. Thanks. I am writing an article right now about some foods and medicines that have it that you wouldn't expect.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on February 18, 2011:
Lots of brilliant info in recent statements - thanks!
@Fluffy42 -- Kroger produced a store brand bread that had sucralose in it, but did not place a notification on the front label. It was on shelves for only a couple of months.
fluffy42 from San Diego, CA on February 18, 2011:
I have many of the more severe symptoms for 2 weeks after ingesting even tiny amounts of sucralose. I have an article describing some of my experience. It is now in so many different products, it is hard to keep track of.
Mike on June 04, 2010:
Back in 2005 when my wife bought a jar of "no sugar added" jam, I checked the label and got suspicious that it did contain Sucralose. As a chemist, I didn't know any sugar with that name, so - I checked online and whoa - a chlorinated sugar, so that it does not go through your metabolism but to your liver. sweet, at that time it was not even approved in the EU, IIRC
GaryWilson from Munich Germany on March 29, 2010:
Great writing, loved this, thank you. I am trying no sugar right now. No sugar and no artificial sweetners. You have given me some ideas.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 29, 2010:
Tangoshoes - I'm not sure; aspertame gave me a headache the first time I used it, but never again. I'll stick with Setvia. There is something about formaldehyde involvement with Spenda that I'm not fully understanding yet.
caretakerray - The more natural foods tI eat, the more energy I have.
graymarye - I head about sugar council paying for research in the 1980s, related to ADD/ADHD. My concern is that sugar depresses the immune system.
Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on March 29, 2010:
Who'd have thought? Good advice here given for readers
caretakerray on March 29, 2010:
Patty Inglish, MS:
Great hub! I have never liked artificial or orocessed foods. thanx for writing
tangoshoes on March 29, 2010:
If you aren't allergic to Splenda ... what do you think is better... splenda or appertain? I eat splenda all the time. From what I understand it's sugar alcohol?
fishtiger58 from Momence, Illinois on March 28, 2010:
I started using stevia about a year ago and I just love it. It's all natural and no after taste. A bit expensive but where my health is concerned it's worth it. Even my hubby likes stevia which is saying something.Great hub.
gramarye from Adelaide - Australia on March 28, 2010:
Great hub, more people need to know about this, and then there are conspiracy theories about how they donate tons of money to diabetes organisations who in return promote their products!
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 27, 2010:
Thanks for the overwhelming response of reading and commenting. A message on tv last evening was that an unpleasant experience can prodvide information to others that will help or prevent tragedy, so I think that must be right.
Faybe Bay - I'm working on the hub of recipes now and will post asap.
Dim - I don't know about a public office, but will continue to write. Health-related office somewhere, maybe.
Cheeky - Corn flakes do have a lot of sugar, don't they. I like pie, but have a few healthier recipes for them, some crustless.
Jerliee - Rats probably eating and pooping sugar, no? Weird sight, I'm sure, and sure to put anyone off sugar. Sugar-mafia rats lol (that could be a name for a band...)
Thanks to all commenters!
pakpub from Florida on March 27, 2010:
I didn't realize that artificial sweetners could be so bad for you. Thanks for the information.
Jerilee Wei from United States on March 27, 2010:
Never thought about being allergic to such things, but it makes sense. More and more I give up things that are sweetened. Once sat on a riverboat near New Orleans, watched barges of sugar go by, along with rats that were crawling all over them. Haven't felt quite the same fondness for sugar since then.
Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on March 27, 2010:
I've been using Stevia for years instead of sugar or artificial alternatives and I swear by it-- natural, herbal, and sweet. Thanks for a great hub
Cassandra Mantis from UK and Nerujenia on March 27, 2010:
Wow! This is a hub choc full of great info here on sweeteners. There are so many out there that are being found to be less than safe or ideal. I stopped eating cornflakes because of the high sugar content. I am now on Porridge and muesli and Weetabix for breakfasts now. I gave up sugar in my coffee. Now if I can just give up eating cream cakes.....is it lunch time yet? : )
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 27, 2010:
Very good hub. I have used Splenda without side effects but not often. I know there are now safer options on the market. I want to try Stevia as I've read about it several times in the hubs.
Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on March 26, 2010:
I had no idea of the allergic reaction that can come from an artificial sweetener. ! Tha mind boggles , sometimes that we manage to survive on our modern planet, or not as you mentioned some have died. It's just not good enough. I think you should run for office, so we all get information that we need. Great hub as always, Patty. x
Jamiehousehusband from Derbyshire, UK on March 26, 2010:
God I'm glad I read this - my wife Rachel,is on a diet (lost a stone) and I may add I don't think she needs to lose more but she does. I spoke to her only yesterday about me using Splenda in dessert cooking - no way now. What a terrible thing for you but thanks for passing on.
Faye Constantino from Florida on March 26, 2010:
Oh I hate sugar substitutes! I'd rather have no sweetener at all! I had no idea so many were allergic to these artificial and derived sweeteners. Have you done a hub on how much applesauce or fruit to replace the sugar, fat and eggs? If so I would love to read it.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 26, 2010:
Green Lotus - the brand I have is only "Stevia" but I'll look up the company name in the fine print on the box. It's pretty good and I got it at Whole Foods store.
LPogue - I'll put a few up on a related Hub sometime soon.
LPogue from Missouri on March 26, 2010:
Great hub! I would love for you to write some hubs on
the recipes you make using fruit instead of sugar. If you have any, let me know.
Hillary from Atlanta, GA on March 26, 2010:
Much thanks and nicely done Patty. I do use a lot of Splenda so thanks for pointing out the "downside". I do sometimes experience some of the less severe reactions you've listed, so I think I'll give unrefined sugar and honey a try just to see if my symptoms clear up. I'd also be interested in your choice of Stevia product. I've tried several brands, all quite bitter.
Alicante on March 26, 2010:
Wow. I had no idea what could happen. I wonder now if I have a mild reaction to it. Better stop having it. Many thanks.
Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 26, 2010:
Thanks for reading. i hope anyone that suspects food allergies will have them checked out.
Hello, hello, from London, UK on March 26, 2010:
Thank you for an interesting hub with valuable information.