Friday, February 1, 2008

IS Splenda really SPLENDID?

Okay, so we’ve all heard the saying, “It’s made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar!”

The first time I heard of Splenda was over 10 years ago on an Atkins website. This website promotes less carbohydrates and of course, no sugar!

Splenda was mentioned on the Atkins’ website as a new sugar substitute available in Canada. How we anxiously waited for the FDA to approve this for the United States! In 1998, Splenda started appearing on our shelves.

7 years later, on March 10, 2005, I was invited to meet the scientists and marketing team of the Johnson & Johnson, McNeal laboratories.

I was excited – after all, Splenda was made from sugar, right?

Early that Thursday morning, I pulled my car up to the Driskill hotel in Austin Texas and handed my car keys to the valet. Taking the elevator up to the top floor, I met several other women who were invited to join the marketing research group. We all came from various backgrounds—housewives, lawyers, business owners, secretaries… We were graciously introduced to our hosts, the research team and ushered into a lavish room with various tables laden with tons of food products – fresh fruit, boxes of cereals, candy bars, jars of food, soda pops, etc. We soon learned this was for our INSPIRATION!

At the far end of the room was a long convention style table that was displayed (sort of like the last supper) with a place setting of drinking glasses, plates, treats, and notepads and pencils.

There we were all seated and the introductions began. The research team had flown in from all over – the UK, New York and so on.

I want to stop right here and say that these people were incredibly nice, gracious and very upbeat about their product. But due to the confidentiality sheets I had signed, I am only able to disclose so much about what I had experienced. Diagonally across from me sat the scientist/inventor of Splenda. Right from the get-go, he corrected our comments that Splenda was “made from sugar”…

Splenda is technically 3/4th’s chlorine! Splenda is 1 atom of sugar and 3 parts industrial chlorine. To replace most of the sugar to create Splenda, one has to use the chemicals---benzene, lithium chloride, formaldehyde, and acetone to force chlorine into sugar! In all honesty, Splenda is chemically mutilated sugar! With this food for thought, one might as well be drinking from their swimming pool!

Sour over pickled Splenda.

"Sweetened" is unsweet.

On that Thursday morning, I was not privy to all this information. I was just excited to be a part of this research group. It is a heady experience to be paid $250.00 for one’s opinions--to have every word written down, and people leaning forward to listen to all of one’s ideas. We were wined and dine and treated like royalty for 8 hours. In a crystal goblet, I poured a packet of Splenda into my iced tea and toasted the events of the day.

The last part of our session, we broke off into small groups. I was selected for the group that would focus on marketing strategies for families with children.

I was all excited about Splenda until we reached this point. For some reason that I cannot explain, I felt apprehension. The marketing strategy was to target our youth into consuming more Splenda. This didn’t set right with me. If you stop and think about it, the sugar substitute industry is a multimillion dollar industry that has literally seeped into most every shelf and cup of America. Many products carry these substitutes, and one has to really read the fine lines to discern what we are ingesting.

America has been reducing their sugar intake by taking these “chemical additives” yet, diabetes has become an epidemic!

MANY of the products I see on the shelves today, has been discussed in our research group. Due to confidentiality, I am unable to disclose what marketing strategies they had used, but I will say that Splenda wants to be used in EVERY WAY possible.

Read the labels! Splenda is now in some of your vitamins, medications, and (unbelievable) toothpaste!

There has been much discussion that these artificial sweeteners are the culprit to our epidemic of diabetes and I am inclined to agree with this. Our bodies are being tricked with this fake nutrition, not to mention the chemical havoc we are wreaking on our health. Considering the fact that we are made of sugars and proteins (DNA) I’m also inclined to believe that sugar substitutes DOES adversely affect our DNA! Not to mention, metabolism.

Admittedly, for many years I continued to pour a packet of Splenda into my coffee and tea. Yet, when my own daughter reached for a packet, something deep down tugged at my conscience. This just isn’t right.

What? Your child’s been vomiting and has diarrhea and you give them chlorine?

Yesterday I was making dessert for my family. Traditionally we have both boys over at least once a week (since they’ve moved out) to join the family for dinner and to catch up on our week’s events. I had purchased 2 packages of instant pudding – chocolate and vanilla.

I had planned to pour a layer of chocolate pudding into each individual dessert cup, and to top with the vanilla pudding. To my dismay, I realized that I had accidentally purchased the sugar free vanilla.

What the heck, it’s just 1 box of Jell-o sugar free pudding and it’s not like we eat this all the time… Right? I ripped open the package and stopped.

Wait a second.

I’m poisoning my family.

Honestly, it’s been proven that saccharine is carcinogenic to lab mice.

My appetite for vanilla escaped and I tossed the pudding into the trash. That night I served my family a rich chocolate pudding dessert made from whole milk and topped with whipped cream.

This morning I had a cup of coffee with a teaspoon of real sugar and cream.

And you know what? Splenda might be 600 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), twice as sweet as saccharin, and four times as sweet as aspartame, but I tell you what...

My cup of coffee with real sugar not only tasted better, but just knowing that I’m no longer poisoning my family, is SWEET enough!



Posh said...

This has been so interesting.. do you mind if I mention it on my blog tomorrow with a link to this?

Helen said...

Be my guest! =)

Pippy said... now I have a choice to make. Will I continue to use splenda in my coffee or will I skip the chemicals for sugar?
This my family has decided to get back to basics...we're growing our own foods, and embracing a more clean eating (or cave man) diet. It seems silly for me to continue poisoning myself with stupid splenda!
Thanks for the great info! :)