The Downside of Splenda

February 18, 2010

I was reading a comment left on my previous post by Bridget, and she brought up a good point.

Is the revamping of the ketchup package just another way that American portions are getting bigger and bigger?

As much as it pains me to say this, it’s true. Between huge orders of fries and Big Macs, we now have even more ketchup to slop onto our meals.

I never said I’m not ok with this. Then again, I never indulge in a Big Gulp and Big Mac combo. But for the people who do, the last thing you need is more ketchup (read: sugar) added to your meal.

Which brings me to my Scary Fact of the Day.

Years ago, I started using Splenda in place of sugar in my morning coffee. It’s pretty much the only thing I add sweetener to throughout the day, but I figured it was a good way to make my coffee a little healthier, since giving it up entirely is completely out of the question.

On my flight down to Jamaica, I was reading an issue of Cosmo and ran across this little gem of information:

Splenda it is 600 times sweeter than sugar.

600???? Holy sh*t!

Some people will argue that since it’s sweeter, you use less of it, say 2 or 3 packets, as opposed to 6 or 7 spoonfuls of sugar. Less is better, right?

But there’s a downside. The trick is being able to explain it in a way it makes sense.

Since Splenda is so sweet, it makes sugar taste not so sweet. This, in turn, makes it harder to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Basically what happens, if I understood correctly, is by consuming Splenda, your cravings for sweets get even stronger. Desserts, unless made with Splenda, become not sweet enough, so it takes more of them to satisfy you.

So, unless you’ve got the will power of She-Ra, you end up eating more.

I should’ve known Splenda was too good to be true.

Kinda makes you reevaluate the meaning of healthy vs. unhealthy and natural foods vs. “healthier alternatives”, doesn’t it?

The American Heart Association just announced it’s recommendation to reduce the intake of added sugars most people consume in their diet. According to the new recommendations, women shouldn’t consume more than 100 calories (about 25 grams) of added sugars a day; men, 150. This averages out to about 6 teaspoons for women, and 9 teaspoons for men.

To give you a little perspective, a statement from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 2001-2004 found the average intake of added sugars among Americans was 22.2 teaspoons (355 calories) a day.

Ouch.

Check it out, and as always, be healthy 🙂