9/27/2011: Artificial sweeteners in your water?

From Lono Ho'ala, Director of Engineering Services
LivingWaters™ Engineered Water Systems

Recent tests of water samples from 19 U.S. drinking water treatment plants found Splenda [an artificial sweetener also known as sucralose] was present in the source water of 15 of the plants tested, in the finished water of 13 of the plants and in eight of 12 water distribution systems studied.

Even after the water was treated with chlorine or chloramines, sucralose remained in the water as a recalcitrant compound. Recalcitrant compounds resist being broken down by chemical processes.

This is a problem because sucralose appears to be toxic to the kinds of bacteria that promote good gut health. Studies show that consumption of sucralose reduces the amount of good bacteria in the gut and it also increases the pH level in the intestines of test animals. While it is likely that it has the same effect on humans, only two very small human trials using only 36 human subjects on sucralose were completed and published prior to the FDA approving Splenda for human consumption.

The fact that sucralose is now showing up in our water supplies is a serious problem. Sucralose is a chlorinated artificial sweetener that starts out as a sugar molecule to which three chlorine molecules are added. This creates a completely unnatural molecule that our bodies cannot properly metabolize. The makers take this fact and claim it as a benefit because they say sucralose passes right through your body because it can’t be absorbed, but studies now seem to show that up to 27 per cent of sucralose gets absorbed into the digestive system where it displaces good bacteria, or gets stored in fat cells. In other words, how much gets absorbed is not the issue. The issue is what that compound is doing to your body as it passes through and what does the remaining amount that stays in the body really doing to the body.

You may find out more about sucralose and Splenda by visiting the web site www.truthaboutsplenda.com.

As a biochemist and naturopath, I recommend that all my patients stay completely away from all artificial sweeteners, as well as any sweetener that is mostly high fructose corn syrup. Contrary to much nutritional advice - all sugars do not affect the body in the same way. My suggestion is that my patients use stevia which is a totally natural sweetener that has some very healthful side-effects.

Water treatment plants that rely on chlorination or chloramination, and water treatment systems that rely on plain carbon can't remove sucralose very well. Faucet mounted filters and water pitchers are useless for the task. The good news is that reverse osmosis systems and cartridge-based water treatment systems that employ catalytic activated carbon are highly effective - removing upwards of 99% of chlorinated hydrocarbons like sucralose. Our LivingWaters™ 6-stage cartridge-based systems and reverse osmosis systems that use KDF® redox media and catalytic carbon, plus two other stages of carbon prefiltration are among the best systems available for removing this noxious chemical. That is because of the nature of the media (catalytic carbon,) the amount of media we use, and the contact time of the water with the media.