February 13, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Splenda

[I just read your posting on sorbitol and am wondering:] what about Splenda?

I have about a tablespoon (not full) a day with coffee.


Is it just better to have sugar and forget about it?


-- Anonymous

Via the blog


Splenda -- the brand name for sucralose -- was first launched during the peak of the Atkins revival in 2004.

Originally appearing in low-carb sweet treats like granola bars and ice cream, it was launched in supermarkets across the country for at-home beverage sweetening and baking.

So, how safe is it?

Well, on the one hand, the Food & Drug Administration has approved it as a GRAS (generally regarded as safe) food additive.

As I mentioned in a December 2007 posting about fat-replacer Olestra, though, the FDA seal of approval isn't always the most reassuring.

All we know for sure at this point is that Splenda doesn't appear to cause immediate harm.

Since it is a relatively new mass-consumed alternative sweetener, there are no long-term studies indicating what happens if it is consumed every day for 20 years.

There isn't even a study detailing the effects of regular Splenda consumption over a FIVE year period.

Interestingly enough, the Japanese Food Sanitation Council reported that some sucralose is actually absorbed by the body and hones in on the liver and kidneys. Consequently, they theorize that regular intake of Splenda could result in the enlargement of these organs.

My strategy with sucralose is to tread cautiously.

Having three cups of coffee with two packs of Splenda in each day in, day out is not the smartest of choices.

However, having two teaspoons with your morning coffee each day -- and no additional amounts in other foods -- doesn't strike me as particularly alarming.

Keep in mind that obesity rates and ridiculously high sugar intakes in the United States are not coming from people stirring a teaspoon of sugar in their latte every morning.

Rather, they are the result of the cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, flavored lattes, and monstruous ice cream sundaes that are constantly available to us.

Your overall goal should be decrease your sugar consumption to roughly 30 - 40 grams a day (one pack of sugar contains four), not to replace high sugar intake with high artificial sweetener consumption.

1 comment:

mary wright said...

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Resveratrol Supplements can help you control your weight naturally
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