This past weekend, my son set up a Cotton Candy stand during our neighborhood block party. Cotton Candy, of course, is spun sugar with food coloring. And I don’t have a problem with “sugar.”
Yeah, you heard me right: I don’t have a problem with eating sugar!
I don’t mean we should have all sugar, all the time. Certainly not! Everything in moderation, and sweets are best eaten after a healthy meal to minimize the glycemic rush. But when it comes to choices of sweeteners, I don’t have much of a problem with cane sugar. It’s the other stuff, the sugar substitutes, that will kill ya’.
I arrived late to the party to hear the report that, while the Cotton Candy machine instructions claimed you could make your own sugar base for cotton candy with sugar and some powdered drink mix for flavoring/color, the mixture did not produce the sticky webs of candy as promised. I surmised that the problem was the drink mix: the container screamed that it contained “1/2 the sugar” as the regular mix.
Aaaahhhh… the well-meaning adult who chose this type of drink mix in the mistaken belief that less-sugar must equal better-for-you. We have all been hoodwinked by the artificial sweetener industry, and we should be outraged.
The marketing promises of “Less sugar!”, “Zero calories!”, and “Sugar free!” send me running scared down supermarket aisles. Think about it: They are telling you that they removed the sugar, yet you are still expecting the product to be sweet-tasting. Translation: The product is artificially sweetened using a chemically-created sweetener such as Nutrasweet/Aspartame, Saccharine, or Splenda, for example.
In fact, our drink mix listed sucralose. And it didn’t spin like sugar.
Yep, the claim that Splenda (sucralose) is derived from sugar, and therefore is as safe for human consumption as sugar, is so off-base that the sugar industry is suing Splenda for deceptive marketing practices (I have not been able to determine the current status, but they went to court in January of this year).
Splenda’s core ingredient is a nonnutritive sweetener that does not grow in sugar fields or appear elsewhere naturally. Rather, the core ingredient, sucralose, is manufactured in laboratories as a synthetic compound. Despite its similar-sounding name, sucralose is not the same thing as sucrose, the technical name for pure table sugar.
Guess who markets Splenda? Johnson & Johnson, the subject of another recent post of mine concerning toxic chemicals in baby shampoo. Interesting how J&J want to position themselves as a family-friendly company, yet the more we learn the more they resemble the evil Monsanto in terms of spreading toxins.
Sucralose belongs to a class of compounds known as organochlorides (or chlorocarbons). Some organochlorides are toxic to plants or animals, including humans.
Rushed to market, the FDA approved Splenda for human consumption based on a number of animal studies and only a couple, very short-term (days-long) studies involving humans. There is no way yet that scientists can know what the long-term effects of Splenda are on the human body, but we should know enough by now to assume that they aren’t beneficial or life-giving. In fact, Splenda is chemically more similar to DDT than to sugar.
A 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. (Abou-Donia MB, El-Masry EM, Abdel-Rahman AA, McLendon RE, Schiffman SS (2008). “Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats”. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health Part A 71 (21): 1415–29. doi:10.1080/15287390802328630. PMID 18800291.)
I bolded the line above to highlight that Splenda and other artificial sweeteners actually contribute to weight gain rather than accelerate weight loss. See the extent of our brainwashing?
Give me real sugar over a sugar substitute any day. Even better, make it organic, raw cane sugar.