SPLENDA, The Healthy Sugar — Splendid or Not?
Even though it’s not as tasty, I’ll sometimes use Splenda, Sweet’N Low®, or NutraSweet® instead of sugar. After all, these sugar substitutes are as sweet as sugar, but no calories, no surge in insulin; and no side effects or long-term health damage. Right?
Don’t answer that yet.
The wave has hit — “low carbs,” “low sugar” and “sugar free” are the latest fad, and out of all the hundreds of diet foods out there, most will use Splenda as a sugar substitute. But what the heck is Splenda? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Splenda is a chlorinated, artificial sugar extraction called sucralose. And if you’ve seen and believe the commercials, then it’s pretty clear how healthy the sugar alternative is. But is it really healthy? Or is it really hype?
I heard very little on the dangers of Splenda right after it hit the market but I don’t hear it as much anymore. Why? Is it not as bad? McNeil, a research hand of Johnson and Johnson, is the manufacturer of Splenda and they claim that it’s actually healthy.
“SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener is one of the most vigorously studied food ingredients, and we’re pleased that leading exerts in the fields of nutrition and public health continue to verify its excellent safety profile,” says Roberto Moran, M.D., Senior Director, Clinical Medical Affairs, McNeil Nutritionals, LLC. “SPLENDA® Sweetener Products are valuable tools for people who want to decrease the amount of calories and carbohydrates from sugar to help them manage their health and wellness.”
So is it?
The only research I could find was when sucralose was used on animals and how it created problems in rats, mice, and rabbits (such as aborted pregnancy’s, atrophy, decreased red blood cells, diarrhea, hyperplasia, etc.). Yeah, those aren’t people, but I’ve also heard that many chemicals, like sucralose, are much more toxic in humans than in rodents or monkeys. For example, another artificial sweetener called Aspartame was found to be up to 50x more toxic in humans than in rodents. I’m not even sure that food additives are required to be human tested. As far as I know, there hasn’t been any long-term human research done with sucralose (Splenda). So, is it worth the risk?
As for me…. my health is too important. So, I’m going to stay away from the risk of Splenda! And instead, I’ll continue to load up my sweet tea with lots and lots of sugar.
Actually, I rarely use refined sugar outside of Ice Tea. Instead, I might sweeten my oatmeal with more nutritionally complex natural sugars like honey, rice syrup, molasses, or maple syrup.
If you suffer from weight gain, diabetes, inflammation, chronic pain, migraines, headaches, or depression, you may want to try eliminating sugar entirely from your diet for a couple of weeks, then reintroducing it for a day to see how you feel. Many people are amazed at how much better they feel after breaking the sugar habit.
As you go, try and remember these 5 healthy habits:
- Take a baby aspirin and multivitamins daily to support your body’s nutritional needs.
- Eat protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates for breakfast.
- Minimize or avoid products that have sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or corn syrup.
- Eat fruit that’s in season.
- Eat healthy 6 days per week and indulge yourself on the 7th. That’s right… eat anything and everything you want on that day.
If you have more healthy habit tips to share, they are all welcome here.