Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Truth About Splenda

Fiction: Splenda is natural sugar without calories.
Fact: Johnson & Johnson claims that "Splenda is made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar".

Johnson & Johnson wants consumers to think that it is natural sugar without calories. The truth is that Splenda is not natural and does not taste like sugar. The sweetness of Splenda derives from a chlorocarbon chemical that contains three atoms of chlorine in every one of its molecules. The manufacturer of this chlorinated compound named it sucralose. The improper use of “ose” in the name creates the illusion that sucralose is natural like sucrose which is the precise name for table sugar. Johnson & Johnson wants consumers to believe that the taste of Splenda is due solely to natural sugar, that is, due to sucrose. However, the manufacturer has patented several chemical processes for making the chlorinated chemical compound it calls sucralose. The patent literature illustrates that sucralose can be chemically manufactured from starting materials that do not require natural sugar. In one patent, for example, the manufacturer constructs sucralose from raffinose by substituting atoms of chlorine for hydroxyl groups in raffinose. Raffinose is a molecule found naturally in beans, and onions and other plants, but unlike natural sucrose, it has very little taste. In another patented process three atoms of chlorine are substituted for three hydroxyl groups in sucrose. The end product of both of these manufacturing processes is an entirely new chlorocarbon chemical called sucralose. Each molecule of sucralose contains three atoms of chlorine which makes it 600 times sweeter than a natural molecule of sugar which contains no chlorine. Splenda has it’s own artificial taste which is due to this chlorinated compound.

Fiction: Splenda is safe to eat, even for children.
Fact: There are no conclusive tests that support this statement. Again, there have been no long-term human studies conducted to determine the potential health effects of Splenda on humans, including children

Until long-term human studies are conducted, no one will know for sure whether Splenda is really safe or unsafe for humans to eat.

Fiction: Splenda has been thoroughly tested.
Fact: There has not been a single long-term human study to determine the potential health effects of Splenda on people.

The FDA relied on a few short-term tests when it reviewed the safety of Splenda for human consumption. Worse, these human tests were all conducted by the manufacturer of Splenda, hardly an unbiased source. The vast majority of tests reviewed by the FDA to determine whether Splenda was safe for human consumption were conducted on animals, including rats and rabbits.

Fiction: Products made with Splenda do not need warning labels.
Fact: Splenda is found in nearly 3,500 food products and amazingly, not all of these products list Splenda as an ingredient, and none of them say the product contains chlorine.

Furthermore, none of the regulatory agencies or scientific review bodies that have confirmed the safety of sucralose require any warning information to be placed on the labels of products sweetened with sucralose.

Consumers have a right to know exactly what is contained in the food products they buy for themselves and, particularly, for their children. Consumers should be provided with information that allows them to make educated choices about the food products they include in their diets. This is especially true for products that contain Splenda, a chemical substance made with chlorine that has not been the subject of any long-term human studies to determine its health effects on the human body.

Fiction: Once eaten, Splenda simply passes through the body.
Fact: This is what the manufacturer of Splenda claims, and consumers who realize they are actually eating chlorine may hope it is true, but the FDA determined that as much as 27% of sucralose can be absorbed by the body. This is particularly alarming for a chemical substance containing chlorine. Clearly the makers of Splenda are not being entirely forthcoming about their product's influence in the body.

Fiction: The chlorine found in Splenda is similar to that found in other foods we eat.
The manufacturer of Splenda claims that chlorine is naturally present in such foods as lettuce, mushrooms and table salt, but they never directly state that eating Splenda is the same as eating these foods. Remember, Splenda is not a natural substance, it is an artificial chemical sweetener manufactured by adding three chlorine atoms to a sugar molecule. And again, because there have been no long-term human studies on Splenda to determine the potential health effects on people, no one can say with certainty that the substance is safe to eat.

Fiction: Consumers have every reason to believe what they see and hear in Splenda’s advertisements.
In an effort to convince consumers that “Splenda is made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar” and to encourage them to “Think sugar, say Splenda”, the giant drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson is running a multi-million dollar advertising campaign encouraging the misperception that their artificial sweetener is equivalent to all-natural sugar. Splenda is not sugar and is not natural.

Splenda’s advertisements that read “The Dance of the Splenda Plum Fairy,” “Splenda and Spice and Everything Nice,” and “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Splenda is Sweet and So Are You” have been characterized by one marketing ethics reporter as nothing but “sleight-of-hand marketing.” Despite all the slick Madison Avenue advertising, the fact remains that Splenda is actually a chemical compound that contains chlorine. The more chlorine atoms, the sweeter the taste. Consumers deserve to know the truth about the food products they are purchasing for themselves and their families.

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