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Interesting Facts On Splenda And Why To Minimize It In Your Diet

In just about every Lean Code Method Nutrition For Fat Loss Seminar I hold, invariably there will be a question about artificial sweeteners. In general I’m not a big fan of artificial sweeteners because they’re well…artificial.

I understand however that no matter how much I’d like people to switch to black coffee and unsweetened tea, I don’t want to split hairs with the big picture on fat loss and health in general.

Is one packet of Splenda in your morning coffee going to make a difference? Probably not. But then again if you’re using numerous packets a day, you may be doing more harm than you think. I want you to step outside of the box and look at things from a perspective other than calories.

We’re obsessed with thinking calories are the only thing that matters when the truth is far from that. Sure calories DO matter but there’s also the impact that the quality of food has on your body. This is a highly debatable subject but one where I firmly believe the quality of calories do matter.

From a sweetener standpoint sure I’d much rather you use Splenda than artificial sweeteners containing aspartame or saccharin. My first choice would be Stevia or the Truvia product, but I understand that’s not typically available when dining out. With that being said, let’s dig more into Splenda specifically.

Some little known facts about Splenda…

For starters, it’s misleading that this product is marketed as a “zero calorie” sweetener. Don’t be mislead into thinking Splenda is STRAIGHT sucralose. Here’s the thing…sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar. If it was sold all by itself they wouldn’t be able to package it, each packet would contain just a couple of grains. So what’s the work-around?

They’ve added a bulking agent, in this case maltodextrin, which is sugar! Since the amount of “sugar” in each packet is less than one gram, the manufacturer of Splenda can get away with marketing it as a “zero calorie” product due to a loophole in food labeling laws.

This is just the beginning…

Sucralose in case you didn’t know is a synthetic chemical created in a laboratory. Not to bore you with the details, but this is done with a five-step patented process where three chlorine molecules are added to one sucrose (sugar) molecule.

The end product is something the manufacturer promotes won’t be metabolized by your body and is essentially non-caloric. It’s true that the human body doesn’t have the enyzmes necessary to break down this synthetically bound chloride, but there’s a bigger issue at hand here…

While I haven’t been able to find much research on humans (no surprises who’s going to pay for it?), there are some interesting animal studies.

In a study published in “The Journal Of Toxicology and Environmental Health,” Splenda was found to have the following impacts:

  • Reduced the amount of good intestinal bacteria (gut micro-flora) by 50%
  • Increased the intestinal pH level

Journal Of Toxicology And Environmental Health – 2008:71(21):1415-29

This is a cause for concern. Once again not if you’re using the product in relatively small amounts, but certainly if you’re consuming several packets day in and day out.

Anytime a substance has the impact of destroying healthy intestinal bacteria you open yourself up to the “not so friendly” yeast and bacteria in your gut. Can anybody say “candida” and bloating and inflammation in the gut?

Recommendations on Splenda use…

Look I’m not trying to be a fear monger by implying that Splenda is going to give you cancer or wreck your health all by itself. The point is that you don’t want to assume this a “neutral” food product you can use without regard to quantity.

My advice is if you have a sugar addiction, bloating, inflammation in your GI tract, or any issues with candida to remove Splenda from your diet. Don’t think just because it’s not “table sugar” that it’s an acceptable alternative.

For healthy individuals I’m not going to split hairs like I said if you want to consume a packet or two of Splenda daily in your coffee or tea. Just don’t over-do it. I’d much rather you use Stevia, but Splenda is certainly a better call than table sugar or chemically based sweeteners.

In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to convince you to switch to black coffee and unsweetened tea. If you find drinking straight water to be bland all the time, try things like water pitchers with fruit infusion. These are water pitchers where you can cut up fresh fruit and put in a sleeve that goes down the center of the pitcher. This in essence “infuses” the water with the fruit flavor.

You can pick these up a places like Target. I’ve got one for the house and absolutely love it. Gives water a nice flavor of fruit without being a juice loaded with sugars.

So there you have it, a few tid-bits on Splenda you may not have known. Granted you’re not going to pack on the pounds by including it in your diet, but if your consuming quite a bit of it on a regular basis you won’t be helping your weight loss efforts either.

Shane Doll is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Fitness Training Studios. If you’re looking for a personal trainer in Charleston, you can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation without risking a dime. Over 1000 Charleston area residents have transformed their bodies following our unique burst training workouts and simplified nutrition programs. Experience the Shaping Concepts difference today.

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Category: Nutrition.