All the rage in the diet and low-carb worlds, Splenda is the brand name for sucralose, a sugar derivative, which is made through a process that converts natural sugar cane to a no-calorie, non-carb sweetener. And it is doing a great job of kicking aspartame (NutraSweet) and Saccharin (Sweet N Low) to the curb in recent years. Here’s why: the body doesn’t recognize Splenda as sugar or carbohydrate and doesn’t metabolize it, making it calorie-free. Yet, it tastes much more like sugar than any of the other sugar replacements out there, according to some. Splenda is contained in more than 3,000 products, is 600 times as sweet as sucrose (table sugar), twice as sweet as saccharin, and 3.3 times as sweet as aspartame. It can be used in baking and baked goods and in combination with sugar in baked goods for a more even taste.
But here is what many do not know about Splenda and probably should: a recent Duke University study found evidence that high doses of Splenda (up to 1000 mg/kg) reduced the amount of good bacteria in the intestines of rats by up to 50%, increases the pH level in the intestines, contributes to increases in body weight and affects the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in the body in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected. Increases in body weight? Yep, that’s what you read. Another report suggests sucralose is a possible trigger for some migraine patients and yet another study linked doses of sucralose equivalent to 11,450 packets per day in a person to DNA damage in mice. Maybe Splenda is not so splendid? You be the judge.
One more thing: though allergic reactions to sucralose have not been documented, individuals sensitive to maltodextrin or dextrose should consult a doctor about using any sweeteners containing these fillers. Critics of sucralose often favor natural alternatives, including xylitol, maltitol, isomalt, & stevia which you may want to consider if you are now skeptical of Splenda.
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