According to the Daily Mail, an artificial sweetener promoted as a healthier alternative to sugar may raise the risk of leukaemia, a study has found.
Italian researchers found Splenda, a sweetener which containing sucralose, was linked with an increased risk of this type of blood cancer as well as other cancers.
The team, from the Ramazzini Institute, called for ‘urgent’ follow up studies to assess whether the ingredient is harmful.
However, Splenda’s makers, Heartland Food Products Group, issued a strong rebuttal, arguing a body of evidence has found the product to be safe, and calling into question the reliability of studies by the Ramazzini Institute.
And as part of the study, researchers used doses of Splenda that were at least four times the recommended daily limit for humans.
However, one scientist said there is no safe dose, as if a product is cancerous at high doses, it tends to have the same effect even if less of it is consumed.
Splenda was introduced to the market in 1999 as an alternative to other sweeteners which were shown to cause health problems, the news agency UPI reports.
It was also intended to replace sugar, which has been linked with diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Sucralose was approved for human consumption in Europe in 2000, after the EU’s Scientific Committee on Food declared it is ‘not harmful to the immune system, does not cause cancer, infertility, pose a risk to pregnancy or affect blood sugar levels’.
Most studies, including those done by the sweetener’s manufacturer, have shown it does not cause cancer.
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