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Splenda: Sweet Smoke and Mirrors

splenda In a recent email, my dear friend Pat said, “I am curious to know what your opinion of Splenda may be? It is the only non-caloric sweetener that doesn’t make me feel like I have to brush my teeth after ingesting it. Will it kill me slowly?”

Well Pat, a couple of years ago, one of my favorite magazines, The Ecologist, wrote an in-depth article on Splenda. Its manufacturer McNeil Nutritionals claims that Splenda is “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar,” however, according to the Ecologist article, things just aren’t that simple.

Yes, Splenda is made from sugar (sucrose), however during the manufacturing process, a bunch of other things are added as well. One of them, is a chemical warfare agent, phosgene.

While I’m no scientist, this doesn’t sound all that appetizing.

The manufacturers of Splenda claim that their product is a chlorocarbohydrate, nothing to brag about, as this puts it in the category of chlorocarbons which also contain such notorious poisons as PCBs. Of course, they also claim that Splenda remains virtually intact as it passes through your digestive system and that it is not metabolized by the body. The manufacturer states that this has been proven in numerous studies. Who did those studies? Yes, the manufacturer itself!

Given such factoids, I can’t recommend Splenda. I do suggest agave nectar, or for a non-caloric sweetener, stevia.


posted on March 13, 2007

  1. Grant

    Before I start this post I would like to say I have no link with Splenda whatsoever and don’t use it myself. It could be called “fake sugar” for all I care. But. I am a scientist and would like to point out a few things if you’d be so kind as to let me :)

    Firstly you can’t lump Splenda in the same category as PCBs. An analogy is that humans are in the same mammal group as cows. However apart from the mammal likenesses we’re as different as chalk and cheese!

    Splenda is made by removing 3 hydroxyl groups on sugar and replacing them with chloride. This makes it 600 times sweeter than sugar so requiring much much less to sweeten foods.

    Most people will complain about chloride/chlorine as being toxic/bad for you, however, you receive hundreds more times the dose of chlorides from table salt than Splenda.

    Out of the artificial sweetener group splenda has NO scientific studies showing any harmful results. Agave nectar is a simple carbohydrate, it doesnt matter where a simple carb originates from (natural or otherwise) it WILL cause insulin spikes and insulin resistance if continually consumed, hence type 2 diabetes.
    If we can agree on one thing, aspartame is pretty much the most evil artificial sweetener out there…

    I look forward to your reply :)

  2. laura Harris

    I just wanted to make a comment regarding Stevia and Aspartame. Unless you eliminate the “fake sugar ‘s in your diet i think it is difficut to really get used to using stevia…which i now love, i finally decided to go off of all aspartame products and use Stevia it took a couple of days but Since June I havn’t gone back… the most amazing ,amazing result of this …My chronic migrain headaches that I have suffered for my entire life have STOPPED. I have not had a migraine Since June and i am thrilled. Hope this encourages other readers to eliminate the bad stuff from their diet and try Stevia. Thanks for the receipes

  3. Edwin

    Elana,

    Very informative site. Quite an accomplishment. Kol HaKavod!

    My question is did you try using unblanched almond meal at any point? I assume it could work in something like the Hamantashen recipe, but maybe not as well in the simple bread one?

    I don’t know if you consider this a substitution question. I’m curious as to whether you ever tried the unblanched and what you thought of the result if you did.

    Thanks — Happy Purim!

    Edwin

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