Sunday, March 28, 2010

To Splenda or not to Splenda?

Splenda Logo Vs.

That was the question posed at breakfast a few Sundays ago by a close friend of mine and Greg's.  I had ordered coffee and immediately opened a packet of Splenda to add to it.  When Chris asked me why I used Splenda, I hesitated and said, "because I hardly have to use any in order to get the sweet taste I desire in my morning coffee".  Embarrassingly I hadn't comprehended the fact that I had opened and used a packet of artificial sweetener in front of a sugar beat farmer.  That is like making mashed potatoes from a box in front of my potato farming husband!  NOT a good plan...

I had always wondered how Spenda was made and if it truly was safe but had consciously decided to be ignorant and not look it up.  I truthfully didn't want to know because I liked the taste and the fact that it was 600 times sweeter than sugar.  I had consciously decided to be an uneducated consumer who bought into the marketing effects of Splenda.

Chris later went on to tell me that he had learned that Splenda was created by washing sugar in a bath of chlorine.  Of course I was shocked by his claim, but decided that it was finally time to do my own research on the product that had claimed it was made from sugar.  Here is what I found.

I went to impartial websites and to Splenda's website to do my research.  In conclusion I discovered that Splenda is made "through a patented, multi-step process that starts with sugar and converts it to a no calorie, non-carbohydrate sweetener. The process selectively replaces three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms."   I further read that "Chlorine is a natural part of salt, which is found in many foods, like lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, melons, and peanut butter, and chlorine is added to most public water supplies. Chlorine is also a part of more complex molecules found in such things as lentils, peas, and potatoes. It is a part of daily life. In the case of sucralose, its addition converts sucrose to sucralose, which is essentially inert. The result is an exceptionally stable sweetener that tastes like sugar, but without sugar's calories. Sucralose isn’t broken down for energy, and is not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate".  

In conclusion, I have decided that, although it has been deemed safe and not harmful to any functioning systems in the body, I don't like the idea of putting something in my body that it doesn't recognize.  (not to mention there are only 15 calories per teaspoon in sugar) That is my own personal decision and I do not judge anyone that does use Splenda.  In fact, I still have a lot of packets in my household and will try to use them up slowly over time.  A little in my coffee for a sweet treat some days or I could use it on cooked carrots with a little butter like my mother-in-law does.  One of my brother-in-laws calls this carrot dish "carrot crack" because it is so tasty.  

I feel good about the research I did and about becoming an informed consumer.  My question to you is this, "is there anything in your life that you are being ignorant about because you just don't want to know the truth or are too scared?"

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