This is the question of the week. It seems like everyone wants to know: What about Splenda?
I mentioned Splenda in my post about Natural Sweeteners. Since there is so much controversy on the sweetener, there is an over-abundance of information to wade through. I found the most thorough and supported information on Splenda at Mercola.com. (Keep in mind, while I find a lot of really great information at Mercola.com, I can't support it all!)
It all boils down to the fact that sucralose (Splenda) is a chemical and not a food. It has been shown to reduce healthy bacteria in the digestive tract by 50%. It has also been shown to increase the pH of the body, which in turn leaves room for more harmful bacteria (like Candida) to flourish. In addition, it contributes to an increased body weight... interesting since it is found in so many "diet" foods. I guess 0-calorie isn't all it's hyped up to be.
Other side effects reported by http://www.truthaboutsplenda.com/ are:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Migraines Seizures
- Blurred vision
- Allergic reactions
- Blood sugar increases
- Weight gain
Here is the rest of the story for those interested in more reading. Be sure to check out the other links Mercola lists.
Second Question: What about Xylitol?
For those of you who haven't heard about Xylitol yet, it is a sweetener derived from natural sources, most commonly birch trees. It is also found in raspberries and plums. It tastes as sweet as sugar but has 40% fewer calories. Xylitol it is not absorbed into the bloodstream as other sugar products are. Consequently, it has very little effect on our blood sugar levels. It simply tastes sweet and then passes through our system.
Xylitol has also been shown to be effective in cavity-prevention. It is in our toothpaste and in our favorite children's vitamins. European studies have demonstrated its ability to reduce ear infections as well. This is due to Xylitol's anti-bacterial properties.
Although Xylitol is marketed in health food stores, I have not tried it in my kitchen. It seems to be a bit pricey, as is Stevia. If any of you have used Xylitol in your home, please comment to let us know what you used it in and how you liked it!