Thursday, February 24, 2011

Splenda is Getting into Pediatrics!

Last week a friend at work told me about a friend who was just in her pediatrician's office. This friend has been reading The Table of Promise practically since inception! (Thank you!) When she went into her Ped's office, she noticed a flyer regarding childhood obesity, a growing problem of grave concern. The flyer said "More and more children are gaining an unhealthy amount of weight. Children who gain too much weight are more likely to have health problems when they get older. They are also more likely to be overweight as adults. What's the goal for overweight children? The goal is for overweight children to slow down the rate of weight gain. This gives their bodies a chance to catch up with their weight as the grow. Doctors want children to get to and maintain a healthy weight."

Apparently, the flyer says that parents can make two simple changes, cut 100 calories from your child's daily diet and add 2,000 steps. I am all for adding steps. But food is the biggest factor in wieght gain, no matter how much you excercise. And the flyer suggests that part of the way one can reduce calories is to replace sugar with splenda. Me, I say preposterous. The flyer also directs patients to go to the splenda website, which I of course did. They have a whole section on simple changes. I am also all for reducing calories. But isn't it easier to switch to plain yogurt rather than one sweetened with splenda? Or ELIMINATE a snack rather than choosing a lower calorie one?

I am not in favor of fake sweeteners and sugar substitutes. There is significant evidence that they trick the body. The sweet taste prepares the digestive system into believing that it will be soon working on digesting lots of calories. Then like an out of work union, when no calories arrive in your tummy your digestive system lobbies for more work. Your body demands that you eat more since you gyped it out of once promised calories. Not to mention the problems with aspartame, and the problems with a new sweetner neotame. I don't see the same smoking guns for splenda (sucralose) or xylitol based off what I have googled on the internet, but they are chemicals none the less, and I don't to eat them. And the tricks they play on our body are the same.

But the idea that splenda is now infiltrating pediatricians' office in the hopes of plugging their product to overweight kids and desperate parents across the country. I say WRONG WRONG WRONG! Doctors should be prescribing real food to their patients, period. And we parents need to stand up to our kids. We are in charge. If you don't want your kid to eat crap, don't give it to them.

This post is entered in Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays and Real Food Whole Health's Blog Carnival!


  1. I totally agree! A few years ago, when Splenda first came on the market, I started using it in my coffee, baked goods, iced tea, etc. and loved it's mild taste and easy dissolvability. However, I was always a little supsicious of the company's claim that it was a "natural, made from sugar, calorie-free substitute". I noticed that over time, I developed a tolerance for the sweetness that forced me to use more and more splenda to achieve the desired level of sweet in my foods/beverages. I noticed this in my best friend as well, and it finally hit me when I saw her rip over SIX packets of splenda for a grande iced coffee...she caught me staring at the fistful of sweetener in her hand and balked, saying "usually I do this in private so know one knows how much Splenda I really use." Addictive much? I am now officially Splenda-free, and have pretty much cut my general sugar consumption to a quarter of what it used to be. I eat plain yogurt, abstain from sweets other than for special occasions, and use only Cocunut Palm sugar in my coffee (I just can't drink sweet-free coffee). People get very defensive when I bring up anything negative about Splenda, and my best friend is still a closeted Splenda-holic.

  2. Thanks Liz. I think your comment has motivated me to do a larger post about sucralose. People do think it is a blameless sweetner and I have not heard bad things about it like apsartame and neotame. So most folks think it is pretty safe. But what is it? And what aren't they telling us?
    I am going to look into it.

  3. I'm eager to hear what you come up with, because I did a pretty extensive search (in attempts to convince people that Splenda isn't a miracle food) and I found a few references to rat studies that link Splenda to some not-so-pleasant side effects. It would probably not surprise most natural-foodies that the maker of Splenda, McNeal Nutrionals, strongly objects to the results of any animal study that may affect the sale and marketing of their product. Which just makes me even more suspicious and less likely to spend money on a product that needs corporate bodyguards. FYI, I have a BS in Nutrition from a reputable university, and we all (not just my addict best friend) used Splenda like it was the best invention since flushable toilets. Including using it in various food science and diabetes related research projects. Our professors were all council members for the American Dietetic Association, and they promoted the use of Splenda heavily. It was not until after I graduated that I began to question everything that was taught to me (fat bad, Splenda good, etc).

    Here's two links you may find useful in your search:

  4. I have a cousin who just got a degree to be a diatician and guess what they teach? Eat low fat, eat splenda, etc. The medical field promotes this crap, so people think it's okay. Our bodies are organic and thus we should only be eating real food (as you already know :)).

  5. Wow! That is terrible. The sad thing is that some parents will think they are doing a good thing for their child by giving them these fake, chemical sweeteners. I totally agree with every point you made - thanks for the great post! - LeAnne

  6. I had a rather long line of thought on this. One full of much ranting and a little bird walking, but that was a few hours ago. Now that the kids are napping and I can comment it boils down to this...It seems to me that the hardest thing for the medical community to do is go backwards, to think that something done for hundreds of years could possibly work again. We didn't always have such a large (no pun intended) problem with obesity, and it wasn't because of these chemicals and pills that are supposedly going to save us from being overweight. If we could only go back to what was working (smaller portions, whole foods, outside time) we might see results! Why are we making this so hard? /sighs and shakes head in frustration