Is Sucralose (AKA Splenda) More Similar to DDT Than Sugar?

Dr. Mercola (you may know him from the Dr. Oz Show) recently commented on his website that “Splenda [or sucralose] is actually more similar to DDT than sugar”, and there is a whole article about this! Now, take a moment and look at these different molecules (shown above). What do you think?

I don’t think you need a chemistry degree to see that the chemical structure of sucralose appears to be similar to that of sucrose and very different from DDT. If you came to that conclusion, you are right! A blogging peer of mine, Nicholas Tesla of Kentucky Chemistry, recently wrote a post that completely debunks Mercola’s statement along with a bunch of other content on the ‘sucralose is similar to DDT’ page. Thank you, Nicholas, for contributing to the general awareness of REAL chemistry!

Update: Another colleague of ours, Chad Jones of the Collapsed Wavefunction discusses this topic in terms of chemophobia in a concise piece for the Scientific American guest blogs. Click here to read his post on “DDT and Sucralose: A Case Study in Chemophobia”

Additionaly, our very own Hasan Khan, has started a synthetic sweeteners series!


  1. One Concerned Citizen says:

    That’s funny, I don’t see any Chlorine molecules in Sucrose. How a molecule looks and how it behaves are completely different. Many Chlorocarbons are toxic, and while some may be safe for human consumption, the fact is they began introducing this chemical without fulling testing it (or if they did, they hid damning results).

    A Study at the University of Duke titled “Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats.”
    ” Evidence indicates that a 12-wk administration of Splenda exerted numerous adverse effects, including (1) reduction in beneficial fecal microflora, (2) increased fecal pH, and (3) enhanced expression levels of P-gp, CYP3A4, and CYP2D1, which are known to limit the bioavailability of orally administered drugs.”
    “Splenda suppresses beneficial bacteria and directly affects the expression of the transporter P-gp and cytochrome P-450 isozymes that are known to interfere with the bioavailability of nutrients. Furthermore, these effects occur at Splenda doses that contain sucralose levels that are approved by the FDA for use in the food supply.”

    This is just the tip of the iceberg concerning the ill effects of sucralose, aspartame, and the wide gamut of chemicals seemingly being tested on the public. Your argument is simply to fool those who do not take the time to do some small simple research. So, who paid you to write this article?

  2. Hasan Khan says:

    I think you meant chlorine atoms. I don’t see any chlorine molecules either and, if I did, I’d be much more concerned. Molecular chlorine is a highly toxic gas.

    Like you said, how a molecule looks and how it behaves are totally different. There are incredibly toxic chlorocarbons such as mustard gas. There are also many natural products that are chlorinated, some that have antibiotic activity that are otherwise not cytotoxic. So to comment on the health of effects on sucralose just by comparing it to another chlorocarbon is being scientifically dishonest.

    Can you back up this claim: “the fact is they began introducing this chemical without fulling testing it (or if they did, they hid damning results”? I’d be curious to know which studies were conducted before FDA approval. The study you cited is from 2008, which is definitely after.

    Thank you for citing an article, I appreciate that you took the effort to provide primary research. I have some comments about it. Even the lowest doses translate to roughly 10 packs of Splenda per day. That’s not out of the realm of possibility, but that’s quite a bit and the adverse effects were mostly recovered after a recovery period (which was equal to the dosing period).

    I wrote in my post that sucralose is benign. This was based on human studies. Animal studies don’t always provide a good model for how a molecule will behave in humans. Especially in this case – the gut flora of a rat is drastically different from that of a human, and I don’t recall seeing a comment about gut flora in any of the reviews and articles I cited in my post. I can go back and look.

    There was also a follow-up study in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology ( for those with access) that shows the results of an expert panel from many different institutions analyzing the validity of the study you cited. Comments include – Using only 5-10 rats per study group of which all were male and none female (biased and statistically insignificant), no standard error or error bars shown on data, and incorrectly citing/quoting other research articles.

    And I humbly but firmly request that you do not suggest that we’re under anyone’s pay. We definitely don’t do this to pay the bills. We’re just trying to get people to think about chemistry in a more profound way instead of kneejerk reactions to the media and false experts.

  3. maillot psg says:

    maillot psg…

    It`s really useful! Looking through the Internet you can mostly observe watered down information, something like bla bla bla, but not here to my deep surprise. It makes me happy..!…

  4. ray ban wayfarer…

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!…

  5. martin says:

    Actually, how a molecule looks has a LOT to do with how it reacts quite frequently. Stereospecificty and active sites on things like enyzymes in our bodies are extremely specialized. So, while sure deuterium tetrachlordie, a chloro carbonesque molecule is deleterious, not ALL molecules with chlorine atoms are. To the point of the article, clearly it’s MUCH closer to sucrose than DDT, doesn’t take a chemist, or in my case, a biochemist, to sort that out.

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