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Dear Brand Doctor:
I hear mixed reviews on Splenda. Some say it’s safe; others (like you) say it might be just as bad as aspartame and saccharin. So, why do you think it’s unsafe?
Signed, Sweetly Stumped
Dear Sweetly Stumped,
It’s natural to be confused when it comes to unnatural sweeteners like Splenda. After all, Splenda lures us in with the sneaky slogan, “Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar.”
The makers of this “miracle” sugar substitute would like us to believe that their product is made from sugar, has zero calories, tastes great, and isn’t bad for us! Sorry sweetie, but we’re about to burst the Splenda bubble. This stuff definitely falls into the “too good to be true” category. Here’s why:
Splenda is the brand name for sucralose, a sugar substitute created in laboratories not nature. The process is complex. It starts with a sugar molecule. Then three hydrogen oxygen groups are replaced with three chlorine atoms. This process alters the chemical composition of the sugar so that it somehow converts to a fructo-galactose molecule. FYI: This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature. Therefore, your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it.
Now what’s that about better living through chemistry?
To recap: Sugar is mixed with chlorine to make a no calorie, artificial sweetener. Maybe Splenda’s slogan should be: “Made from chlorine so it tastes like chlorine!?”
Fun Fact: Splenda’s sweetly deceptive marketing campaign has led to multiple lawsuits, including one from the makers of Equal who were upset that Splenda was championing their sugar-substitute as a healthier option than other artificial sweeteners. In other words, the makers of Equal wanted the world to know that Splenda is just as unnatural and unhealthy as their product. Now that’s what we call sweet justice!
To answer your question directly, no one really knows for sure if Splenda is safe. Just six studies have actually been conducted on the effects of Splenda on humans – and the longest study only lasted three months.
Here’s what we know for sure:
- The limited research shows that up to 15% of sucralose may be digested and stored in the body. Hmmm.
- No miracle artificial sweetener will allow you to eat whatever you want whenever you want. In fact, studies suggest that we’re less likely to overeat when enjoying natural sweets than we are when we’re eating artificially sweetened foods. Now there’s some food for thought!
- Lastly, Splenda is nothing more than a chemically altered artificial sweetener. That alone makes it harmful in our book.
Until comprehensive studies are conducted on this “miracle” sweetener, it’s probably best to avoid it altogether. The scary truth: Avoiding Splenda ain’t gonna be easy! The sweetener is in almost every low-fat, sugar-free, or low-carb product cramming your grocery store shelves. Use your eBrandAid know-how and read the labels please!
So the next time you have a hankering for something sweet, instead of eating a plate of bland, sugar-free, chlorine-spiked cookies, enjoy a few melt-in-your mouth homemade cookies lovingly crafted from the real stuff. Now that’s a splendid thought!
Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.