Italian study reveals sucralose causes cancer in mice, but is it credible?
According to The Huffington Post, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has released a statement changing the safety rating of sucralose from “safe” to “caution”. Sucralose is more popularly known as the main ingredient in the artificial sweetener Splenda.
This shift comes after a recent Italian study found that sucralose causes leukemia in mice. The study has not yet been published and further review by the scientific community is required to determine credibility of the results.
The experiment does highlight the wealth of things that remain unknown about the effects of chemical sweeteners in our bodies. The CSPI’s “caution” rating suggests that more research needs to be conducted before the safety status of sucralose can be wholly determined.
This new “caution” label, however, may need to be taken with a grain of salt. The CSPI also gave this rating to caffeine, a chemical that many people view as more of a lifesaver than a health risk.
The CSPI also recommends people avoid the artificial sweeteners aspartame, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium (marketed as Sweet One). Yet many scientists still hold that drinking beverages sweetened by these chemicals may be safer than the full-sugar alternatives, which may pose health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and more.
Splenda Brand Rebukes New Safety Allegation About Sucralose
Heartland Food Products Group, makers of Splenda Sweeteners, is claiming that the recent CSPI rating on Sucralose is misleading to consumers.
Splenda is a brand of sucralose.
In response to the safety rating of sucralose by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Heartland Food Products Group, the makers of SPLENDA Sweeteners, wants people to know their side of the story.
Here is the official statement from Heartland:
The CSPI rating is based solely on one study of mice that was conducted by the Ramazzini Institute in Italy, published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, and does not reflect the collective body of scientific evidence proving the safety of sucralose. Additionally, health regulatory and food safety authorities have found other studies conducted by the Ramazzini Institute to be unreliable. The group routinely conducts studies using an unconventional design and has been criticized for not following internationally-recognized safety assessment standards.
The truth is that the collective scientific evidence strongly supports that sucralose is safe and does not cause cancer. Sucralose has been extensively researched, with more than 110 studies conducted over a 20-year period. These studies include rigorous testing to specifically identify any potential for causing cancer. Worldwide regulatory authorities, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada and the World Health Organization, have reviewed these studies and confirm that results show no link between sucralose and cancer. The U.S. National Cancer Institute also supports this conclusion.
Our society faces significant health risks with obesity and being overweight, including complications like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research indicates that one contributor to becoming overweight can be excess intake of added sugars. As a consequence, the current U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association have all recommended a reduction in average sugar consumption. Low-calorie sweeteners, like SPLENDA®, are effective tools for consumers to reduce their added sugar intake, helping them to lead healthier lives.
This latest study by the Ramazzini Institute is just one more example of the type of report that perpetuates misperceptions about low-calorie sweeteners. Extensive research strongly supports that sucralose is safe for everyone and does not cause cancer. That is why SPLENDA Sweeteners are recommended by health care professionals every day and are safely used by millions of people with a variety of health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and being overweight. For more information from Heartland, you can visit http://splendatruth.com.
The previous statement from Heartland is in response to the downgrading by CSPI of sucralose from “Caution” to “Avoid” in the group’s Chemical Cuisine glossary of food additives after an animal study indicated cancer risk. You can read the full news story about the downgrade by CSPI here: CSPI Downgrades Sucralose from “Caution” to “Avoid”
How Does Sugar Affect Your Body?
First of all, let’s explain what sugar is. When people hear the word, they immediately think of the white grains in a bowl on the breakfast table. But sugar, technically speaking, is the most basic building block of carbohydrate. With the exception of fiber, all forms of carbs are made up of what are known as simple sugars—glucose, fructose, and galactose. Simple sugars are found in fruits and sweets, for example, and when they bond with each other, they can form complex carbs, such as those in potatoes and grains. But no matter what kind of carbs you’re talking about, when they digest in the body, they’re all broken down into glucose.
“Sugar is absorbed primarily through the small intestine and into the bloodstream,” says Ashley Ortega, Wellness Manager and nutritionist for Victory Medical, a clinic in Austin, TX. “Once in the bloodstream, the pancreas is prompted to release insulin, which allows glucose to be taken into the cells so that it may be utilized to produce ATP molecules—the energy source that we use to do everything from thinking to lifting weights.”
Generally speaking, simple sugars digest very quickly and therefore raise blood sugar levels very sharply, promoting a strong insulin response. Complex carbs take longer to be broken down, and so they raise blood sugar less quickly, providing a longer, steadier supply of energy.
So, while you’ve certainly heard that sugar is “bad” for you, it isn’t inherently unhealthy. Rather, it’s a major source of energy. But when you consume excessive amounts of sugar, you run into problems. If you’re a generally healthy person who limits his/her diet to whole foods, so that your sugar intake comes almost entirely from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you shouldn’t have to worry about how much sugar you’re eating—it will automatically be held in check. Whole foods are naturally low in sugar, in most cases, and pack plenty of fiber to help slow down sugar’s digestion, which reduces the amount of insulin needed to manage blood sugar levels.
It’s when you eat processed foods that have sugars added to them by manufacturers that you get into trouble.
To be clear, sugar is sugar. No matter what the source, a gram of sugar has the same number of calories (four, just as every carbohydrate but fiber does) and is processed the same way in the body. But, according to Mike Roussell, Ph.D., a nutrition consultant to athletes and celebrities (mikeroussell.com), “There is a difference between eating Skittles™ and wild blueberries.” Candy, soda, and other foods we know to be unhealthy are much higher in sugar than whole foods, because the sweet stuff has been purposely added into the product. And what’s more, Roussell points out, these foods don’t have fiber like whole foods do (apart from lots of other healthy nutrients). This makes them easy to over-consume, and thereby damaging to your health. The poison is in the dose.
Eating too much sugar makes it nearly impossible for insulin to keep your blood sugar in a normal range, and that wreaks havoc on the body. According to a 2016 study, excess sugar consumption can lead to cellular dysfunction and inflammation. Furthermore, a review in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a distinct correlation between increased consumption of added sugars and the risk for cardiovascular disease—and that most adults consume far more added sugar than is recommended by health officials.
For some perspective, the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends people consume no more than 10% of their daily calories from added sugar, and the JAMA research discovered that, between 2005 and 2010, more than 71% of American adults took in greater amounts of the white stuff than that. In fact, 10% of us got 25% or more of our calories from added sugar.
Officially Splenda has been listed as a carcinogen
If you have added the artificial sweetener sucralose (brand Splenda) to your diet because you consider it a healthy alternative to sugar, you are dangerously cheated.
The research of the Ramazzini Institute has linked the popular alternative to sugar with cancer, specifically leukemia.
In 2012, the results were presented for the first time at a cancer conference in London and requested the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to download Splenda from its “safe” category to one of “caution”.
Now that the study has been published in a peer-reviewed journal, the CSPI has again degraded the Splenda, this time from the category of “precaution” to “avoid”.
In a study conducted, the researchers fed the mice with Splenda from before their birth and continued like this throughout their lives.
A significantly higher number of cancerous tumors was observed in the male mice, and the risk was increased along with the dose
Splenda Found in 4 500 Products
If you want to follow the warnings and eliminate Splenda from your diet, consider that it is found in more than 4,500 products. Splenda has been commercialized with elegance, and is best known for its slogan “made with sugar, so it tastes like sugar”.
It has earned the reputation of being, in some way, safer than other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which is why PepsiCo got rid of aspartame in their Diet Pepsi in 2015 and replaced it with Splenda.
Splenda became one of the best-selling artificial sweeteners in the United States in a very short period of time. Between 2000 and 2004, the percentage of US households that use products with Splenda shot up from 3% to 20%. For the year 2012, Splenda generated sales of almost 288 million dollars.
But make no mistake, Splenda is far from being natural, even though it technically starts as a sugar molecule. In the patented five-step process to make sucralose, three chlorine molecules are added to one molecule of sucrose or sugar.
This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to metabolize it properly. As a result of this “unique” biochemical composition, manufacturers claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by the body, which makes it have zero calories.
It is assumed that Splenda is easily discarded. However, the research (which was extrapolated mainly from animal studies) indicates that in fact, about 15% of sucralose is absorbed by the digestive system and is finally stored in your body.
If the probable cancer results are not enough to influence you away from this toxic artificial sweetener, be aware that Splenda could wreak havoc on your intestinal bacteria, which can have an incalculable number of consequences on your health.
For example, an animal study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, found that Splenda reduces the amount of beneficial bacteria in the intestines of rats by 50%, while also increasing the pH level.
Splenda Raises Insulin Levels
Far from being an inert substance, the research also shows that Splenda affects the insulin response in your body. When the study participants took a drink sweetened with Splenda, their insulin levels increased 20% higher than when they consumed only water before taking a glucose tolerance test.
Also, blood sugar levels peaked at the top level, “So the artificial sweetener was linked to a greater response to glucose and insulin in the blood,” the researchers said.
When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which activates the brain’s reward center. The hormone leptin, the appetite regulator, is also released, which eventually informs your brain that you are “full” once you have consumed a certain amount of calories.
However, when you consume something that has a sweet taste but does not contain any calories, such as an artificial sweetener, your pleasure cerebral pathways are activated by the sweet taste, then there is nothing to deactivate it since the calories never arrive.
Basically, artificial sweeteners cheat the body into believing it will receive sugar (calories), but when the sugar does not go in, your body continues to signal that it needs more, which causes carbohydrate cravings.
Will There Be More Safe Artificial Sweeteners?
Two of the best sugar substitutes come from the vegetable kingdom: Stevia and Luo Han Guo (also spelled Luo Han Kuo). Stevia is a very sweet herb derived from the leaf of the stevia plant of South America, sold as a supplement. It is a safe supplement in its natural form and can be used to sweeten most dishes and drinks.
Luo Han Kuo is similar to Stevia, but it is a bit more expensive and harder to find. In China, Luo Han fruit has been used as a sweetener for centuries, and is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.
The Worst Diet Sodas You Can Drink
This week, a freshly revamped Diet Pepsi&mdashwith the phrase "now aspartame free" on its silver label&mdashwill hit supermarket shelves nationwide. PepsiCo ditched the controversial sweetener aspartame in response to consumer demand, replacing it with sucralose, known by the brand name Splenda, and acesulfame potassium, or ace-K, both sweeteners thought to be safer.
"The change reflects widespread public concern about the safety of aspartame," says Lisa Y. Lefferts, senior scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a food safety watchdog group. "Diet sodas contain several questionable ingredients, but aspartame is the one we&rsquore most concerned about."
Several animal studies have linked aspartame to cancer risk, and a highly controversial study from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2012 explored a possible link in humans, although even the researchers from that study admitted that it was a weak link. A study last year by the American Cancer Society did not find a link. Other artificial sweeteners&mdashincluding ace-K and sucralose (both of which are in the newly reformulated Diet Pepsi)&mdashmay also pose a cancer risk, and there are safety questions about artificial colors, including the caramel coloring found in most sodas (even some ginger ales), as well as certain emulsifiers.
Before you spit out the diet cola swishing around your mouth right this second, the fact is that the cancer risk from food additives is likely pretty small, Lefferts says. And diet sodas are still likely a better choice than their full-sugar cousins. "We know that sugar drinks are a major cause of obesity and have also been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, not to mention tooth decay," Lefferts says. (Though diet soda's hardly healthy check out this comparison of regular soda vs. diet soda.)
Based on what we know about diet soda's main components, here's how they stack up.
The newly reformulated Diet Pepsi no longer has aspartame&mdashso that may push it to the top of the list. But it still contains acesulfame potassium (ace-K), which is poorly tested, although two studies suggest it may pose a cancer risk, as well as sucralose (Splenda), which the CSPI is now approaching with caution since the authors of a forthcoming study link it to leukemia. "The thing is, aspartame has undergone better cancer testing than these other artificial sweeteners," Lefferts explains, "so while it appears to be the worst from a risk perspective, it's possible that these others are just as bad and we just don't know it."
Diet Pepsi also contains caramel color, which is not like caramel you might make at home by melting sugar in a saucepan. "The caramel color used in soda is made with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperatures," Lefferts explains. In the process, contaminants like a cancer-causing agent called 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MI, can form. The levels of 4-MI are much higher in Diet Pepsi than in Diet Coke, according to testing by Consumer Reports, although its most recent testing shows improvements.
In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, concluded that 4-MI is "possibly carcinogenic to humans," and California now lists it as a carcinogen. Consumer Reports' testing has found that some sodas sold in California have much lower levels of 4-MI than the same brands sold in other states.
Diet Coke with Splenda also carries no risks from aspartame, but the sweetness comes from sucralose, which is now on the caution list, per the CSPI, as well as ace-K, which is on CSPI's avoid list. (Check out 57 sneaky names for sugar.)
Somewhere in the Middle
Aspartame is the go-to sweetener in most diet sodas, so regular drinkers might think twice about what they're guzzling. Their aspartame content, in order from least to most per 8-ounce bottle: Sprite Zero (50 mg), Coke Zero (58 mg), Pepsi Max (77 mg), Diet Pepsi and Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi (111 mg and 118 mg, respectively), Diet Dr. Pepper (123 mg), Diet Coke and Caffeine-Free Coke (125 mg).
Keep in mind that all of them&mdashexcept Sprite Zero&mdashalso contain caramel color and thus the potential for 4-MI.
And unless they're labeled as "caffeine-free," the caffeine in these sodas can be a problem for children, pregnant women, and people sensitive to caffeine.
Diet Mountain Dew may well be the riskiest diet soda because it has the greatest number of questionable additives. Not only does it contain aspartame, ace-K, and sucralose, but it also has more caffeine than most diet sodas, and it gets its color from yellow #5, which has been shown to cause hyperactivity in some children. As a kicker, Diet Mountain Dew also contains the emulsifier brominated vegetable oil (BVO), which has been shown to leave residues in body fat and the fat in the brain, liver, and other organs. The FDA in 1970 declared BVO not "generally recognized as safe," but permitted its use on an interim basis pending additional study, and it hasn&rsquot budged from that status since. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have pledged to remove BVO from any of their drinks that contain it, but they didn&rsquot say when that might happen.
At the end of the day, Diet Pepsi's reformulation without aspartame may just be one last-gasp effort by the diet soda industry to revive its flagging sales. More and more people are simply making healthier choices, including drinking low- and no-calorie beverages made without the worst of the sweeteners (like these delicious Sassy water recipes). A handful of examples: Steaz (sweetened with stevia and erythritol, a sugar alcohol that CSPI considers safe), DrinkMaple Pure Maple Water (with no added sugars, and half the natural sugar in coconut water), Reed's Ginger Brews (the "light" version is sweetened with stevia leaf extract and honey), Hot Lips Pear Soda (with no added sugar), and Zevia Cola (made with erythritol, stevia extract, and monk fruit extract).
In the study, Dr. Morando Soffritti, director of the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy, wanted to determine if there were any sucralose side effects, so he fed sucralose to about 900 mice. He found that the risk of developing leukemia was greater for the mice that were fed more sucralose. The study has since been criticized, as it was not conducted over a long period of time, involved no control (all the mice were fed sucralose), and was only an animal study. The researcher said that to better determine sucralose side effects, larger studies must be conducted, ideally on humans.
What the study said.
The study, from the independent Ramazzini Institute in Italy, fed mice high doses of sucralose throughout their lifespan, beginning prenatally. The higher the dose, the more cancers the male (but not female) mice developed, primarily leukemia. The paper concluded that the data do not support the findings of industry-sponsored studies that sucralose is biologically inert and therefore safe.
In light of the latest findings, the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest&mdashwhich a few years ago changed sucralose&rsquos status from &ldquosafe&rdquo to &ldquocaution&rdquo&mdashfurther demoted the artificial sweetener to its &ldquoavoid&rdquo category.
Previous research, mostly in animals, has raised concerns as well: that sucralose may alter the balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (suppressing &ldquobeneficial&rdquo bacteria more than harmful ones), affect blood sugar and insulin levels (in possibly adverse ways), reduce bioavailability of certain medications, and, when heated, produce potentially toxic substances. Though data in people are limited, a review in the Journal of Toxicity and Environmental Health in 2013, from North Carolina State University and the National Institutes of Health, also contends that sucralose is not &ldquobiologically inert&rdquo and that the health effects of its metabolites (breakdown products) are not fully known, raising questions about the safety of chronic ingestion.
CSPI downgrades it from “safe” to “caution”
CSPI – the Center for Science in the Public Interest downgraded the safety rating of this sweetener for a 2nd time, from “caution” to “avoid.”
Michael F. Jacobsen, the president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said:
“The risk posed by over-consumption of sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, especially from soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, far outweighs the cancer risk posed by this artificial sweetener and most other artificial sweeteners.”
Splenda – toxic carcinogenic sweetener you should avoid
Non-nutritive sweeteners such as Splenda have become an important part of everyday life and are increasingly used nowadays in a variety of dietary and medicinal products. They provide fewer calories and more intense sweetness than sugar-containing products.
Common artificial sweeteners aspartame, saccharine, sucralose, neotame, and acesulfame-K have received a ‘safe status’ from the FDA. However, they are not so safe, and some of them can be very dangerous. If you are still using artificial sweeteners, you may be slowly killing yourself.
You can find Artificial Sweeteners not only in our food and beverages, but in a variety of other products such as toothpastes, mouthwashes, medicines (often in cough syrup and other OTC), children’s chewable vitamins, chewing gums, diet drinks, a variety of sweets, protein drinks, canned food and many more (literally thousands of products). Sadly, some of these sweeteners are now common contaminant in our tap water.
These agents are claimed to promote weight loss and are promoted as a safe alternative for diabetics. However, research data indicates that artificial sweeteners tend to lead to weight gain, and are not suitable for diabetics at all.
There are plenty of natural healthy products you can use in place of sugar and artificial sweeteners.
You probably heard about aspartame dangers, but let’s take a closer look at dangers of Sucralose:
1. WHAT IS IT AND WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT
Sucralose (Marketed under the name Splenda), 600 times sweeter than sugar – a better alternative to NutraSweet? Not so much.
You can find sucralose in yogurts, protein bars and drinks, frozen desserts, syrups, diet beverages, kettle corn, prepared meals and baked goods such as English muffins (this sweetener is one of the few not so sensitive to heat). Please be careful when purchasing ‘natural healthy’ products as well, because some of them may contain sucralose. I have seen it in chewable vitamins for kids, elderberry tablets and so on, always read the ingredient list carefully.
Splenda has been promoted as a better alternative to refined white sugar and advertised for a long time as “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.”
Yes, Sucralose is derived from sugar however, its preparation involves chlorinating sucrose, changing the structure of the sugar molecules. Yes, chlorine, known carcinogen and one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet. This type of sugar molecule does not occur in the nature, and your body cannot properly metabolize it. Also, your body absorbs Sucralose into your fat cells.
”Sucralose (Splenda) bears more chemical similarity to DDT than it does to sugar.” (According to Dr. Mercola)
2. A BRIEF HISTORY
Splenda has been approved in the United States in 1998. When sucralose was first being considered for approval by the FDA, CSPI objected. The pre-approval test indicated potential toxicity, but again – approved! Pre-approval research in animals showed that sucralose caused shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage – important immune system regulator) and enlarged liver and kidneys. Its long-term safety is unknown (but it will NOT be anything good for sure).
In 2013, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) placed Splenda in its “caution” category and had formally recommended that consumers should avoid sucralose altogether. A recent update from 2016 – CSPI Downgrades Sucralose from “Caution” to “Avoid”! This action was an answer for the latest 2016 independent Italian laboratory study, which published extensive research on mice. The study found that sucralose caused leukemia and related blood cancers in male mice.
3. WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANT
The artificial sweetener sucralose has recently been shown to be a widespread of contaminant of wastewater, surface water, and groundwater. In fact, sucralose has been found in the U.S. drinking water systems. Recent research found that sucralose has a low rate of removal (11%) in drinking water tested that presently serves 28 million people.
The sweetener was found to be present in:
The source water of 15 out of 19 of drinking water treatment plants tested
The finished water of 13 out of 17 plants, and
In 8 out of 12 water distribution systems.
Sucralose is largely resistant to natural breakdown processes and accumulates in the environment with unknown consequences for human and environmental health.
”Though sucralose does not appear toxic to plant growth, the persistent qualities of sucralose may lead to chronic low-dose exposure with largely unknown consequences for human and environmental health.” Sucralose represents an ecotoxicological contaminant that significantly affects the behavior of animals: “Exposed organisms may diverge from normal behavior, which ultimately can have ecological consequences.”
4. NEGATIVE HEALTH EFFECTS
Splenda can promote migraine headaches, and other reported side effects include muscle aches, stomach cramps and nausea, allergic reactions, bladder issues, skin irritation, dizziness, inflammation, vision problems, neurological problems and much more (including Seizures). Sucralose long-term intake can lead to serious chronic conditions and disorders. There are several testimonials by people from all over the world about The Potential Dangers of Sucralose.
Another study found that sucralose significantly reduced healthy intestinal bacteria (up to 50%!). It also alters gut microflora and mess with your enzymes as well, so it essentially wrecks our immune system. In addition, it increases the pH level in the intestines. This could have a range of consequences, including effects on blood sugar, inflammatory bowel disease and more. In fact, a study says that: “Increased sucralose consumption may explain why Canada has the highest incidence of inflammatory bowel disease in the world.”
Unlike aspartame, sucralose does not break down at high temperatures. However, by cooking and baking Splenda a cancer-causing dioxins and dioxin-like compounds are formed.
- Sucralose is carcinogenic and otherwise toxic in rats.
- Splenda has possible neurotoxic properties in animals.
- There is also a possibility of DNA Damage over long term exposure.
- It has diabetes-promoting effects in human subjects.
”It is like putting a pesticide in your body. And this is at levels of intake erroneously approved by the Food and Drug Administration.” (According to James Turner, the chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health.)
5. BREAST MILK CONCERN
Also, sucralose passes into breast milk at levels high enough to make the milk sweeter. Saccharin, sucralose, and acesulfame-potassium were present in 65% of participants’ milk samples, whereas aspartame was not.
Therefore, pregnant and nursing women should make a special effort to avoid aspartame, ace-K, Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners.
Splenda has NEVER been proven safe for human consumption. According to Johnson & Johnson, which markets Splenda, “more than 110 studies conducted over 20 years have proven the safety of sucralose.” You mean the studies which were funded by companies with the sole interest in the product being used and to maximize the profits? Moreover, ”out of these 110 studies, only two were human studies, and the longest one was only four days (and in relation to tooth decay!)” Also, those animal studies reveal plenty of problems such as:
- Increased male infertility
- Decreased red blood cells (sign of anemia)
- Enlarged and calcified kidneys
- Higher death rate in rabbits
- ORGANIC MAPLE SYRUP
- ORGANIC COCONUT SUGAR
- WILD RAW HONEY
Long-term effects on humans is a severe issue. If something causes cancer and other serious health problems in rodents in the studies, it is undoubtedly a reason for concern!
CSPI recommends that consumers avoid sucralose.
Let’s take a quick look at few natural alternatives:
some others :
From all these natural alternatives, I always recommend the ‘organic version.’ I use only real manuka honey as a sweetener, and if occasionally baking I use coconut sugar (date sugar is good too!), I eat plenty of organic fruits so no need for more unnecessary sugars.
Sucralose does not seem to be as safe as the FDA is trying to believe us and you should avoid it. Also, keep in mind that Xylitol, Sorbitol, and other sugar alcohols are life-threatening toxins to dogs! Don’t forget that you can find artificial sweeteners not only in our foods and medicine, but in many other products, so switching to ‘raw honey’ alternatives is a critical step, but another major step is to get rid of all the products containing them and look for healthy natural alternatives. With all the toxins, chemicals, and heavy metals everywhere and in almost everything, it is imperative to start slowly eliminating these threats to your health. Also, keep in mind that Splenda is now present in our tap water, so filtering your water with hi-quality filter systems is becoming essential.
I am into natural medicine and healthy lifestyle for more than 12 years. Writing about natural healthy lifestyle, longevity, herbs & supplements, nutrition, mental health, exercise, holistic medicine, healthy home, toxins&chemicals and much more. ''With natural medicine nothing is impossible, all diseases can be cured and prevented, with the right approach and 'open eyes' we can all live healthy and happy to 100+''
Whole Foods and Lebanon may seem like odd bedfellows, but on the matter of dairy products, they’re of one mind. Both have shown distaste for the antifungal known as natamycin, which is commonly used to preserve cheese. The preservative appears on Whole Food’s “Unacceptable Ingredients for Food” list and has been barred from products sold by the grocery chain since 2003. And earlier this year, Lebanon’s health ministry raised objections when the preservative was found in labneh, a strained type of yogurt. Meanwhile, in July it emerged that Russia’s consumer watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor was investigating reports that cheese imported by McDonald’s contained natamycin and threatening to take measures if cheeses at the restaurant contained it. (McDonald’s says that cheese products found on its menu items in Russia do not contain any antifungals whatsoever.)
Considering these actions, you might think that natamycin is an unnecessary, even potentially harmful, additive. But multiple studies have shown natamycin to be safe for human consumption. Furthermore, many companies have embraced the antifungal, which is produced by bacteria, as a natural alternative to chemical preservatives. What makes an ingredient “natural” is, as ever, up for debate. But with producers poised to use natamycin in a growing number of foods—last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the thumbs up to adding natamycin to yogurt—it’s worthwhile to understand what the preservative is and how it’s been shown to affect the human body.
It might seem counterintuitive to find a mold inhibitor such as natamycin in cheese. Some of the most delicious cheeses derive their flavor from mold—blue cheeses, for instance, look and taste the way they do because of the mold Penicillium roqueforti.
But not all molds are friendly to cheese—rogue strains can cause cheese to go bad. Shredded cheese, with plenty of surface area for mold to colonize, is particularly prone to spoilage. Natamycin can change that. It extends the shelf life of cheese from less than two weeks to as long as 38 days, according to the Dutch chemical company DSM, which is one of the producers of natamycin. Browse the local grocery store and you’ll find natamycin in favorites like goat cheese, crumbled feta, and shredded mozzarella.
A few aspects of natamycin may sound less than appetizing. The additive is produced by a type of soil bacteria known as Streptomyces natalensis it was discovered in 1955 by scientists working for a company that later became DSM. (They found the bacterium in South Africa’s Natal province, for which natamycin got its name.) Some might not savor the idea of eating the waste product of dirt bacteria, or the fact that natamycin appears in the British Journal of Venereal Diseases in a 1975 article about a type of infection known as candidosis affecting the genitals and anus.
But this study is no reason for alarm—rather, it shows the good natamycin can do. The researchers who conducted the study demonstrated that natamycin clears up fungal infections rapidly. Today, doctors commonly prescribe natamycin to treat fungal eye infections, in doses of about 40 milligrams a day. This is much, much higher than the amount of natamycin contained in food. According to a World Health Organization report, if one were to do a calculation based on the assumption that all cheese contained natamycin—which is far from the case—an individual in the U.S. who consumes a lot of cheese would be exposed to about 0.02 milligrams of natamycin per kilogram of body weight daily from these dairy products. That worst-case-scenario estimate translates to about 1.4 milligrams a day for a person weighing 150 pounds—far below the quantities prescribed as medicine.
Even at the high levels associated with antifungal prescriptions, natamycin is unlikely to cause side effects, let alone do any serious harm. Consider, for example, a 1960 study of 10 people with systemic fungal infections who ingested between 50 milligrams and 1,000 milligrams of natamycin per day for up to 180 days. Only those individuals receiving 600 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams per day—hundreds of times more than people consume in food—experienced side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
After reviewing the scientific evidence, many governmental and health organizations have deemed natamycin safe for consumption. The FDA reviewed and approved natamycin for use in cheese in 1982, and the additive has also received a green light from the European Union, the World Health Organization, and individual countries such as in Australia and New Zealand. Outside the U.S. it has also received approval for use in products beyond cheese, such as meat and wine. In 2009, the European Food Safety Authority issued a report that when natamycin is used for the surface treatment of food products it poses no health risk, in part because it is so poorly absorbed by the body. Even the Center for Science in the Public Interest—which cautions consumers against ingredients like artificial colors and sweeteners—determines it as safe in its “Chemical Cuisine” list of additives. The food watchdog has reviewed the scientific literature and found no reason for concern. “It didn’t cause cancer. It didn’t cause chronic conditions,” says Lisa Lefferts, a senior scientist at CSPI.
Additionally, natamycin has one big benefit over other antimicrobials used in food: The preservative acts against fungi but not bacteria, so it’s not thought to contribute to the troubling tide of antimicrobial resistance tied to overuse of antibiotics in food production. “There’s been no known resistance developed to natamycin because of the way it works,” says Greg Kesel, regional president for DSM Food Specialties in the U.S. And some companies have embraced natamycin as a natural ingredient. In February the Associated Press revealed that Kraft was transitioning away from the preservative sorbic acid and replacing it with natamycin in its Kraft Singles products.
Like a hunk of savory Swiss, the evidence against natamycin contains holes. A study in mice published a few years ago purported to find a link between natamycin and sperm abnormalities in the rodents, but the paper was later retracted at the request of the publisher because of “some fundamental scientific errors” (as well as the authors’ use of a brand name in place of the generic “natamycin”). In the absence of a clear scientific rationale for its ban, Whole Foods has fallen back on an ideology that defines “natural” differently from Kraft. “We really don’t feel that it’s necessary for our cheese products,” explains Cathy Strange, the grocery chain’s global cheese buyer. “We just feel that we want cheese in its natural state.” If that means that your cheese will spoil more quickly in the fridge, so be it. Strange says that the company follows a philosophy that people should consume the cheese that they buy within a few days of purchase.