Fact vs. Fiction
With access to the Internet on our phones, tablets, and laptops, an answer to almost any question we can think of is just a click away. Yet, with all of this information at our finger tips, it can sometimes be even harder to separate myths from reality. SPLENDA LIVING™ Blog is here to help by culling through the myths and bringing the science front and center to answer some of those burning questions. Check out our latest posts below!
Nutritionist Keri Gans has partnered with SPLENDA® Brand to shed light on common myths associated with sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products.
Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners are one of those food items that get an awfully bad rap without conclusive scientific evidence to back it up. I think too many opinions get woven into statements about them and, professionally speaking, I go where the hard facts take me. Lately, there has been a lot of hyped-up chatter in the media about sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products, in regards to cancer and gut microflora.
So, here’s the real deal.
The topic of sugar substitutes and their function is one that has been discussed for decades by doctors, registered dietitians, scientists, researchers, and consumers. Yet, despite many empirically sound findings, still to this day, the use of sugar substitutes seems to be a concern in the minds of many people. There are a lot of opinions and theories out there, many of which we can explore and consider, however, on the whole, the sugar substitute category can be a tad-confusing. Having said that, I would like to explore a few theories where more knowledge might be most important for you to form an opinion, based on the science regarding sugar substitutes.
Let’s start by mentioning that sugar substitutes have been around since 1879 and are used all around the world. I still remember the first time I tasted a sugar substitute in a beverage –I was immediately captivated! As someone who appreciates and enjoys a sweet drink, it’s a relief to know that I can have a low calorie sweetened beverage without worrying about going over my daily calorie limit.
We have the opportunity to enjoy low-calorie sweeteners because food safety and health regulatory agencies have concluded that they are safe. This safety conclusion has also considered what I think are three of the most frequently asked questions about low-calorie sweetener safety, which I discuss below. I hope that after reading this information, it will help ease some of your own concerns.
As a dietitian and diabetes educator who counsels people who want to lose weight (and keep it off), I often hear concerns about whether using so-called artificial sweeteners cause the side effect of weight gain. Understandably, there’s been plenty of media hype and headlines touting this notion.
Before delving into the research, let me briefly respond to this concern with an emphatic no! Here’s the bottom line: if you use low-calorie sweeteners, whether it’s SPLENDA® Sweetener Products or others, along with carefully counting your calories, selecting healthier foods, slowly changing your eating habits and exercising regularly, using artificial sweeteners can, especially for people with a sweet tooth, offer you an extra edge to lose weight and keep it off.
But, and this is an important but, artificial sweeteners are not a magic bullet for weight loss. You can’t have a large piece of sugar-sweetened cake along with a cup of coffee sweetened with low-calorie sweetener, or a diet beverage, and think your extra pounds will melt away. Not going to happen!
Have you had your daily dose of the latest controversial nutrition headlines? Some days I feel as though I’ve had more than my share. When that happens, I like to step back and remind myself that even the news has to be consumed in moderation for me to remain healthy and sane!
One of the more surprising items I read recently had to do with a new paper (about an old study), in which mice were given diets containing sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products and other foods. The research group that performed the study is a small institute in Italy with a history of publishing research that has been found to be unreliable in making safety assessments of food ingredients.
I was surprised to see this study published because...
If all you ever hear is “diets don’t work,” it’s easy to become discouraged about trying to lose weight. You even may have tried a few fad diets yourself and gained first-hand experience with their long-term ineffectiveness. But that doesn’t mean there is no hope in controlling your weight. What it may mean is you’re ready to forget about fad diets and turn to the research on what does work for weight management. Here’s a short recap of some of the latest findings that can help.
When I was growing up I was told that if you swallowed a watermelon seed a watermelon could grow in your stomach. One way my friends and I made sure that didn’t happen was to eat our watermelon outside on summer afternoons so we could spit them out – providing us with a great excuse to have spitting contests with the seedsJ. The myth of growing watermelons from swallowing seeds quickly faded when we realized we were swallowing cucumber seeds without becoming a garden bed for cucumbers. Not all food myths, however, go away so easily, especially when the topic has to do with safety.
Having been involved with food and food science issues for decades, I frequently shake my head in disbelief when I come across opinionated individuals who think they know all about food. Thanks to the flood of information on the Internet, many individuals can come across as an “expert.” You probably know friends or family who think they have all of the facts and freely espouse their opinions about food issues when given the chance.
Every spring I look forward to seeing the first new leaf buds on the bare tree branches in my yard. They are a happy reminder that green leaves will soon provide shade from the summer sun and a sheltered place for birds to nest. The downside of this seasonal event is that I will have to rake the colorful remains of those leaves from my lawn in the fall, but that is the cycle of nature.
Another cycle I follow is the one that revolves around the question, “What is the best sugar substitute?” As predictable as the falling leaves, there are regular “debates” about aspartame or sucralose, stevia or sucralose, etc.
Since that question is surfacing again, I thought I’d correct some misinformation about sugar substitutes and put the facts in order – at least for another year!
Many things in our lives are now easier thanks to the Internet. We can book our own flights for a vacation, check what the weather will be when we arrive and order new clothes before we leave. But finding good health advice online is not an easy task.
If you’ve ever tried to get an answer to a health question you’ve probably ended up more confused - or even frightened – about your condition, after scanning all of the possibilities. That is especially true when it comes to alleged (or suspected) side effects of artificial sweeteners (commonly known as “sugar substitutes” or what I call “low-calorie sweeteners”).
I’m asked all the time is, “What is the best sugar substitute?” Many people do not understand the unique features of the available no-calorie sweeteners, I like to refer them to my blog, “Sucralose, Stevia, Aspartame, What’s the Difference?” to find the information needed to compare them.
Maybe you’ve heard stevia is a healthier sugar substitute than sucralose, the sweetener in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products, because it is a “natural” sweetener compared to sucralose. I covered that question in a previous blog, “What Does Natural Mean?” There is also no official definition for the term “natural” for ingredients used in prepared foods. If you really want to compare stevia vs sucralose, here are the facts you need to see how they stack up.