Monday, November 25, 2013

Splenda's Dirty Little Secret: It's Terrible for the Environment


Every morning, I drink at least three cups of coffee. In the late afternoon, I often have a plain Greek yogurt for a snack. My evening treat of choice is a microwaved mug of almond milk, flavored with vanilla and cinnamon.

Boy, if that wasn't the most thrilling intro I've ever written, I don't know what is. I do have a point in detailing the components of my daily menu, and it's this: I add an unholy amount of sucralose to each of those foods. That's not even counting the foods I enjoy on a regular basis that already have artificial sweetener in them: flavored creamers, sugar-free Jell-o, protein powder, and more.

It's not like I'm unaware of controversy surrounding my beloved yellow Splenda packets. A 1998 report from the Food and Drug Administration stated that sucralose caused minor genetic damage in mouse cells. More recently, Splenda made headlines in June 2013 when the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit watchdog group, downgraded its safety rating of sucralose from "safe" to "caution," meaning that the additive "may pose a risk and needs to be better tested."

Some believe the human body may react to too much Splenda the same way it reacts to too much sugar, leading over time to diabetes. People have reported symptoms ranging from headaches to seizures as a result of using Splenda. Additionally, it's theorized that sucralose's turbocharged taste—600 times sweeter than table sugar—can boost appetite and reinforce cravings, ultimately erasing its touted calorie-cutting benefits.

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