It’s a fact that we live in a world where sweet products are all around us. These sweets consist not just of food products made with sugar, but with a number of artificial sweeteners that are supposed to be better than sugar.
The latest new artificial sweetener goes by the name of Splenda. According to all the hype, it is made from sugar and because of that it is safer. But is it?
Personally, I’ve always been very wary of artificial sweeteners. To be honest, they scare me to death.
I don’t trust them because I can remember as a kid how different artificial sweeteners over the years ended up being deemed unsafe after the fact.
I also dislike how the FDA has a tendency to ignore critical information when they approve artificial sweeteners as safe for human consumption. Artificial sweeteners are not subject to the same trials of study that new drugs are.
For example, the FDA knew that aspartame, the main ingredient in Nutrasweet, had caused horrible side effects in rodents (including brain tumors), but they went ahead and approved it anyway. Now, years later, we know that some of those same side effects have shown up in humans.
A Safer Alternative?
Since we all know that too much sugar is at the crux of many of our modern health problems, as it contributes to obesity, heart problems and diabetes — to name a few. Now, many people are looking for substitutes that will still allow them to eat sweets without worrying about these health issues.
Unfortunately, from what I can see, there really are no safe artificial substitutes, including the much touted Splenda.
What’s So Bad About Splenda?
The scary thing about Splenda, from my viewpoint is that it has more in common with DDT (a popular pesticide) than it does a food stuff.
The main ingredient in Splenda is called sucralose, and it was discovered in 1976 when British scientists stumbled upon it while working on creating a new pesticide. The biochemical make-up of sucralose is sucrose — which is sugar — but instead of the 3 hydroxyl atoms around it, as with normal sugar, these have been replaced by 3 chlorine atoms.
Now we all know how dangerous chlorine is, don’t we? Do you really want to put this into your or your children’s bodies? I know I don’t. According to researchers, the bonds that hold the sucrose and chlorine atoms together are not similar to table salt as the FDA and others would have you believe, but rather are more similar to a chlorocarbon such as would be found in pesticides.
There are also a number of known side effects and related health problems that can happen for those who use Splenda to sweeten their foods, or purchase products that contain Splenda.
Eating products made with Splenda can cause:
- panic attacks
- muscle aches
- intestinal cramping
- bladder problems
- stomach pain
These are all very extreme, and generally speaking they show up at the end of the spectrum with people who have an allergy to Splenda. But still, even having one of these side effects in a mild form would be enough to make me choose not to ever eat products with Splenda again.
I did try some soda sweetened with Splenda once, and my biggest problem was that the soda tasted way to sweet, as though someone had saturated the soda with sugar. I didn’t have any of these side effects but the taste alone was enough to turn me off, and I refuse to buy any products with Splenda in them.
So, to answer the question “Is Splenda a better alternative than sugar?” I would have to say no.
Healthy Alternatives To Sugar And Splenda
Now, I’m not suggesting that ingesting a lot of sugar is a good idea either, but there are other ways to sweeten your foods or satisfy that sweet tooth that are much more healthy.
One of those ways is to eat fruit when you have a sweet tooth. The sugar in fruit is natural, and there are other things in fruit that are good for you as well — such as fiber, for example.
Another is to make your own baked goods rather than buying them. Then, sweeten them with fruit and or fruit juices rather than straight sugar. You can also try honey, agave nectar, date sugar (finely ground dates), and xylitol (which is birch sugar and 100% natural) — to name just a few other sweeteners you could use.
In addition, just reducing your soda intake will get rid of a lot of the unnecessary sugar in your diet.
The fact is, what is found in nature is always going to be better for us than anything that can be created in a lab. So, going back to nature as much as is possible is the best way to eliminate unnecessary sugar from your diet and still get to eat some sweets.
More About Splenda & Sweeteners
Some of my favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with living green, saving money, pregnancy, weddings, and dogs. When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.