Splenda is a zero calorie sugar alternative in those little yellow packets that's been manufactured since the 1990s. Splenda is made from a chemical process that is created from the chlorination of normal sugar. Splenda is a sugar that has been chemically adapted. Splenda has enjoyed a great rise in popularity, and many dieters and diabetics find it has less of an aftertaste than any other artificial sweetener.
Between 2000 and 2004, the number of US households using Splenda jumped from 3 to 20 percent. Splenda sales surpassed $177 million in a recent year during which there were only $62 million in sales for the aspartame-based sweetener Equal and $52 million in sales for the saccharin-based Sweet 'N Low.
The company that makes Splenda, McNeil Nutritionals, says that Splenda has endured some of the most demanding food trials on record for any food additive. McNeil says that over 100 such studies have been conducted on Splenda. Most of these studies have involved animals, which throws into doubt the safety report for humans.
At issue in the concern over the safety of Splenda is it's possible toxicity in the body. Our foods today are laden with artificial ingredients and chemical enhancers. Toxicity in the body leads to disease, illness, premature aging, weight gain, malnutrition, and even mental health problems. Splenda is, indeed, an artificial product. The degree to which it acts as a toxin or poison in one's body has not yet been determined. The likely truth is that it produces some amount of toxicity, the severity of which will vary from person to person. The accumulation of toxins in the body is a very real part of life on planet earth in the 21st century. Most every person would benefit from learning about what is and is not toxic to the body and make an effort to reduce or eliminate your expposure to toxins and periodically do a body cleanse detox program.
Is Splenda REALLY Sugar?
The chemical name of the Splenda molecule is sucralose. While sucralose starts off as a sugar molecule, it is the process by which it's made that raises concern. Sucralose is a purely synthetic chemical that is produced in a five-step patented process. During this process, three chlorine molecules are added to a simple sugar molecule. The initial, natural sugar molecule is a disaccharide made up of two single sugars bound together; fructose and glucose.
The chemical process to make sucralose modifies the chemical composition of the sugar so much that it is converted into a molecule that does not normally occur in nature. Because this artificial molecule is not naturally occurring, the body does not know how to process it. According to the manufacturers of Splenda, this is the very reason why Splenda is calorie neutral -- it is not metabolized or digested in the body. Splenda simply makes its way through the digestive track without depositing any calories.
This is deceptive, however, as Splenda's zero calorie status would only apply if the body did have the capacity to metabolize it. More troubling, the fact that Splenda is an artificial ingredient evokes questions about its safety, especially if used in unsparing amounts over a long period of time. There is the additional problem of insulin reaction. While research reports are still inconclusive, the medical community widely speculates that Splenda triggers an increase in insulin levels, which, whether or not calories are present, will tell the body to hold on to fat reserves or even store more fat.
One research finding nullifies the notion that Splenda is not absorbed by the body. In this study (conducted on humans), one in eight participants did not eliminate any sucralose after three days of ingesting Splenda. Another study (conducted on animals) found that 15% of ingested sucralose is absorbed into the digestive system and is thenstored in the body.
Splenda Under the Microscope
Nutritional and medical reseachers have studied Splenda and make these observations:
- Splenda is a chlorocarbon, which has a history of producing organ impairment, genetic mutation and reproductive problems.
- Splenda can impair the thymus gland, which plays an essential role in healthy immune system function.
- Splenda can create swelling of the liver and kidney stones or calcification of the kidneys.
- The studies promoted by the makers Splenda only report cherry-picked results and do not show an accurate picture of the actual health impact of Splenda.
- The chlorine that is used in the process of producing Splenda is a carcinogen, according to the OSHA Hazardous Waste Handbook.
- Sucralose is not as dangerous as Aspartame. If you had to choose between the two, choose Splenda. Saccharin is the only artificial sweetener that is in any way acceptable. But it is best to use a natural form of sweetener.
- The extra sweetness of sucralose (Splenda is rumored as being 600 times sweeter than sugar) only creates greater addiction to the taste of sweetness.
- Unless digestion is hampered, any food or substance you ingest will be absorbed. If we feed the body a wholly indigestible material (such as margarine), it will travel through the body undigested, if it doesn't get bound in the gall bladder. If Splenda is really indigestible, that is a bigger problem than the matter of assimilation.
- The only benefit to using Splenda is the earnings the manufacturer gains.
Splenda Reaction Symptoms
- Skin welts, blisters or other irritation
- Allergic response
- Abdominal cramps
- Mood swings
- Lack of focus
- Feelings of panic
How to Detect if Splenda is Harming You
The best way to determine if sucralose is impacting your health is to perform this simple test. First, eliminate sucralose completely from your diet for a period of two weeks (this goes for all other artificial sweeteners). After two weeks, eat three to five servings of Splenda for up to three days. Do not take any other variety of artificial sweetener during this time. Observe very carefully how your body responds. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, there is reason to believe that you have a sucralose intolerance. If you have strong reactions, especially on day one, this is a very strong sign that Splenda has an adverse effect on your body. You will do well to avoid Splenda completely, and you will benefit from a body detox program. This self-test can be done with any of the artificial sweeteners.
Regardless of any Splenda reaction you may experience, it is a good idea to sweeten your foods with healthy, natural sweeteners. There are many healthy sweeteners to chose from, some you may never have heard of, and most of which will not produce toxicity or digestive side effects for you.