Monday, June 23, 2008

Dr. Andrew Weil's Take on Splenda

"Splenda (sucralose) is the best selling artificial sweetener. It is made by substituting three chlorine molecules for three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule. This changes sugar into an artificial sweetener that can't be metabolized, meaning our bodies can't digest it or derive energy from it.

The safety of Splenda has been controversial for some time. Citizens for Health, a nonprofit group, maintains that adverse effects ranging from stomach pains to headaches and skin rashes have been reported by users. In April 2007, the group petitioned the FDA to withdraw approval until more is known about the sweetener's safety. To the best of my knowledge, studies on Splenda – those attesting to its safety and those warning of dangers – have all been done in animals. I can find no human data demonstrating that Splenda can cause any health problems; nor can I find human data proving its safety. I would follow the precautionary principle here and avoid it.

If you use artificial sweeteners, there's no proof that I've been able to locate that these products will actually help you lose weight. In fact, circumstantial evidence suggests that they may make matters worse: the number of Americans consuming artificially sweetened food and drink rose from 70 million in 1987 to 160 million in 2000. During that same period, obesity rates rose dramatically."


Lee said...

I've gotta say, this blog has definitely influenced my current eating habits. Although I haven't been quite as drastic as you, I've been much more conscious of my processed sugar consumption.

I've dropped two pants sizes since. Wahoo!

My Year Without said...

That's so awesome and encouraging! I'm glad that what I am doing is not all in vain.

That being said, I recently have come to the conclusion that I have just barely scratched the surface of the sugar "rabbit hole". There is so much behind-the-scenes goings on and information that is NOT public knowledge. Like WHY sugar is in everything and WHY sugary snacks are being marketed to the young and old alike. All I can say at this point is that the sugar advertisers are NOT advertising because they have a healthy product that people need....

Naomi Devlin said...

There are studies (I'll have to try and find them now) that show and insulin response in the body to all sweet things - even artificial sweeteners. See we are so much more complex than mere chemical interactions. We respond to stress by producing chemicals, so why not artificial sweeteners?

Even good old stevia, everyone's miracle herb, can have this effect because we are programmed to react this way to anything that tastes sweet.

Apparently an insulin spike can be observed in junk food fans after looking at cream cakes or a juicy ham burger - just looking, not eating!

The uncomfortable truth for most people is that there is no way to cheat nature with artificial foods. We just have to learn to eat much less food that is sweet. Even dried fruit should be consumed in limited amounts.

The key is to think about how often these foods would be available to us if we cultivated them ourselves? A small bag of raisins - is really a huge bunch of grapes with all the sugars concentrated into those tiny nuggets of sweetness.

I really admire what you're doing here with this blog and wholeheartedly support any consciousness raising about the insidious nature of refined sugar and its presence in nearly every processed food available.

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