As an ever growing percentage of the American population fights obesity, so too grows the number of products lining our grocery store shelves boasting reduced fat, reduced carbs and reduced calories. Laboratories seem hell bent on replacing 'real' food with empty substitutes that promises to help make us thinner, healthier and happier. Our food supply has been broken down from whole foods to the separated sum of its parts and more attention is now placed on the individual nutrients, minerals and calories than on the food as a whole.
Chemical compounds now replace nutrient rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains and food science has become a powerhouse industry in and of itself. Sugar is often singled out as enemy number one and in an effort to appeal to our healthy sensibilities we can now find any number of chemical sugar substitutes in attractive and brightly colored packets strategically placed on our restaurant tables. But there was a problem with our good friends Equal and Nutra-Sweet. The tiny print on the charming pink and blue packets indicated that the ingredients were known to cause cancer in laboratory animals, making us question the sensibility of replacing whole, naturally occurring sugar with something mixed in a petri dish. And then came Splenda.
Splenda was the answer to our sugar replacement dilemma. Six-hundred times the strength of natural sugar, Splenda was touted as the best in its class in terms of taste and safety. It's slogan, "Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar," led us to believe that we were consuming something more natural, more stable and more safe than its chemical companions. We were eager and ready for the latest and greatest scientific breakthrough in calorie free food replacement and, in that regard, Splenda answered our prayers. But what was it really? No one really knew. No one really wanted to know. It was 'made from sugar, so it must be ok, right? Not so much.
Approved by the FDA with no long term studies to support its safety, Splenda is not a natural product. In fact, there are some preliminary studies linking Splenda to weight gain, disruption of sleep patterns, sexual dysfunction, increase in cancer, MS, Lupus, diabetes, and a list of epidemic degenerative diseases. Although Splenda is packaged as a 'natural' product, you can rest assured that there is nothing natural about it at all. The manufacturers are only able to assert this claim because the FDA conveniently lacks a definition for the term 'natural'. A synthetic compound of sucrose and chlorine, Splenda has more in common with a garden pesticide than a food. To add insult to injury, the number of animal lives that were spent in the production of Splenda exceeds a staggering twelve thousand, making Splenda decidedly not vegan.
Thirty -two beagles were reportedly locked in metal cages for a year. Four beagle puppies were allegedly starved and then fed a sucralose mixture for the purpose of blood sampling. Rabbits, rats, mice and monkeys were also used in the testing process, all of whom were terminated when they were no longer useful. Was it really necessary to spill all of this blood for the purpose of creating a chemical sweetener that was never proven to be any safer than the ones we already had? The answers to these questions lays in the lining of the pockets of manufacturer Johnson and Johnson.
Splenda is not sugar. It is not even a food. Splenda is a chlorocarbon; a chemical compound intended to take over the artificial sweetener industry with reported claims of being 'natural' and 'made from sugar'. These definitions are loose at best. It is high time that we started paying attention to the details. No magic bullet or chemical concoction is going to miraculously replace or improve that which mother nature has laid at our disposal; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, sugars and spices. Wake up America and stop poisoning yourselves for the sake of vanity.