Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Devil in a Sunny Yellow Package

I was going to include Splenda in my sorta recent "Awful Things" post, but I consider Splenda/sucralose to be in an awful category of its own and therefore worthy of a dedicated rant. Also, I don't know much (and you can replace "much" with "jack squat" here, really) about slander/libel law and I love my blog, so let me preface this by saying that the following is only my opinion. And in my opinion, Splenda is the Great Satan of artificial sweeteners.

 Oh sure, this seems innocent enough...

As most of you know and some of you have seen firsthand, I have numerous vices and sometimes do things that are not so good for my body. I have a love of french fries. And vodka. And red wine. Food is not really a vice - usually - but I just stuffed myself with an obscene amount of Chipotle. And all those whippets I did back in high school almost certainly killed off quite a few brain cells. But I avoid Splenda/sucralose as if my life depends on it. Actually, I think my mental health does depend on it.

Back when Splenda first came out, I bought into the hype and tried it. It was awesome! You could bake with it! It tasted just like sugar! It was MADE from sugar, so it was just like sugar, but better (it's actually some sort of chlorinated sugar)! I even got Mr. Snarky to try it, and he hates all the "next great things" I try to foist on him (often with good reason - thank goodness one of us is a skeptic). And he liked it, too! We weren't using a ton of it - mostly just replacing sugar in our coffee and tea, along with sugar-free gum and the occasional diet soda. Aaaaand then things got weird. We fought. A lot. We were really moody and inexplicably emotional. There was a lot of crying and door slamming for no good reason and we both thought we were losing our minds.



After researching some of our symptoms online, I found people with similar stories about how sucralose had the same effect on them (along with a host of other complaints). Yes, I know, I could probably find a website that says rainbows are dangerous and kittens cause cancer, but if you use Splenda (or feed it to your kids/family) and feel a bit wonky sometimes, cut it out of your diet for a week or a few weeks and see what happens. I'm sure that many people can tolerate sucralose just fine, but I'll bet there are probably some people out there like me who used it and and went a little bonkers. This post is for you.

This has been a Twitarded public service announcement. And don't look for those deceptively happy-looking little yellow packets in the sugar caddies in the Twitardia Diner, twatwaffles. You'll get agave nectar and you'll like it.

42 comments:

  1. If I remember correctly from Forks, your Chipotle love might just be rivaled by your insane cupcake love ;)
    Oh, and artificial sweeteners are the devil. Fo reals.

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  2. The cupcake love that night in Forks might have been fueled by one of the aforementioned other vices...

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    1. ...that and the fact that I had not eaten flour or eggs or butter for weeks and weeks (allergies) and they are all JUST SO FUCKING GOOD when you wrap them up in one pretty little package and put icing on them. Nom nom nom...

      : )

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  3. This is totally going to be TMI, but artificial sweeteners are crafted in Hades. I did some research years back, after I stopped having periods completely, I had horrible migraines almost constantly, my mood swings were giving me whiplash, and I was vomiting several times a day. I read something about artificial sweeteners jacking with your cycles & I cut it out of my diet completely. After 3 days all of my health problems disappeared.

    Artificial sweeteners are in tons of packaged foods & drinks--not just diet ones. You have to be super diligent about reading labels. If I even have a tiny bit of that devil food, I immediately get a rash and start puking. Who wants to party with me?!

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    1. It might be TMI, but I really appreciate you both sharing. I didn't realize people had real symptoms from that crap. I refuse to eat fake sugar and look at all labels that say "less sugar". They're even putting that crap in those little fruit bowls you buy for your kids. It should be illegal or something!

      Now if I just had a quick fix like cutting artificial sweeteners from my diet for my mood swings...

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  4. I'm freaked out, thank you! I will rise to the challenge and remove my daily intake of fake sugar. Maybe that IS what's making me so emotional.....will let you know. I'm usually a 2 packet per day girl. Now I have a reason to use the GOOD stuff

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  5. Ick. Fake sugar. I always think of the head of the theater department at my high school. According to him, he started gaining weight so he switched to diet coke. 7 years later and a true biz addiction to DC later, he porked out another 60lbs and couldn't stop drinking the shit. Now I know it wasn't just the artificial sweeteners in DC, but shitdamn, it scared me. Haven't touched the stuff.

    High five on the agave nectar! Super NOM!

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  6. I don't consume a lot of fake stuff to begin with - I have a bag of Splenda but I've had it for years and just can't bring myself to bake with it. My thought on food is that it sounds too good to be true (zero calorie sugar?) then it probably is.

    Now, if you want to freak the f*** out, go read up on domestic meat production. You can't unsee that stuff. I am trying to reduce my animal product consumption and recently switched to almond milk - YUUUUUM. Mmm, now I want to get out of bed and get another glass.

    The Twitarded cafeteria? Is LKW going to serve us jello made from the bone marrow of freezer victims?

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    1. Cullenary CurserMay 17, 2012 at 1:24 AM

      Oh almond milk. We have a dark chocolate milk that is to DIE for. Tastes so much better than milk and doesn't sit like a lead weight in my stomach.

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    2. FLOVE dark chocolate almond milk! Great on cereal, too (although I'll admit it *looks* like a bowl of poo).

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    3. That dark chocolate stuff is my new indulgence. I can drink a half gallon every day or two with ZERO guilt. Love it. I haven't tried it on cereal but I might have to now!

      Something about actually producing milk makes me feel all weird about drinking another animal's breastmilk. Nursing has kinda ruined it for me.

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    4. My naturopath told me to make my own. Much cheaper, yet I'm lazy. Dark chocolate milk sounds yum!

      I'm the lightest out of 3 obese offspring, and am the only one who doesn't have a 6 pack/day DC habit. I love the fact that you posted this!

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    5. Peanut Butter Panda Puffs + dark choco almond milk = HEAVEN. And I agree that animal milk is really weird when you think about it. I don't think humans need milk - it's just one more industry that foisted itself on us and everyone bought in...

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  7. Cullenary CurserMay 17, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    I'm a big fan of the "if your great-great grandparents wouldn't have identified it as food don't eat it" kinda of mentality. Obviously there are exceptions (I think my Scottish ancestors would have been very confused by an avocado, hell I have Scottish family that still looks funny at anything green.) I don't strictly follow this rule (see current skittles addiction) but it does generally apply.

    I say if you're going to eat something sweet, fatty, etc just do it right. Cool Whip? Just fucking make some whip cream, it's not hard and it's not a petroleum product. Margarine, just fucking have some butter and don't use as much. Need to use sugar, try honey, stevia or agave if you can or use the real shit and just don't consume as much of it. Don't even get me started on the grossness of deli 'meat' (seriously, meat should not have a wet texture) or processed cheese.

    I think it's better for you to just eat the real fucking thing in moderation then trying to substitute something that's been made up in a lab.

    Should we do a Twitarded viewing of Food inc? :P

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    1. *slow clap* Wait until your son starts eating solid food & the other moms think you're a freak for not making Kraft Mac & cheese for every meal. Powdered cheese product? Do we live on a space station?

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    2. I agree whole-heartedly with your mentality!! Now, if I could only put it into practice...

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  8. Why mess with good old sugar? It's perfect just the way it is.

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  9. I love you ladies! All my friends think a am a such a loon for getting up on my soapbox about artificial sweeteners and hormone laden food, but they are the devil. In my late 20's I started having a bunch of health problems and was at doctors all the time. I was only when I started cutting the crap out of my diet that I got better. It was a little like going off crack (I don't know this from first hand experience, but I have seen Trainspotting), but after a few months I didn't miss it at all. I am actually enjoying finding new foods and I especially enjoy the headache, stomachache and jitter free days.

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  10. Equal is also of the devil. My mom is addicted to tea, which is not a big deal but for about a year she used equal to sweeten it. She was constantly forgetting things and was working on her doctorate, in all other ways she was very sharp there was no explanation for her absurd forgetfulness. I clearly remember that for 5 straight days she "forgot" that her sunglasses were on her head, first two days it was kind of funny, day 5 was worrisome. Somewhere I read a blurb saying Equal causes memory problems. I suggested she cut it out for 2 weeks just to see if it worked. Sure enough, she stopped panicking about her keys, sunglasses, hair dryer, where she was going, etc. Suffice it to say, she has not come back and she'll slap your hand if you reach for it at a restaurant and tell you all about how she drove to school in her nightgown, without her materials and couldn't remember how she got there.

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    1. Wow - I have heard a lot of scary things about NutraSweet/aspartame, too - on the Mercola website they wrote one time that (aside from fruit & the like) if you put something in your mouth and it tastes sweet, you should probably spit it out because it's likely bad for you lol... I am going to have to try to cut out my occasional diet soda (down from a 2-liter-a-day habit in college) and make sure I only chew xylitol-sweetened sugar-free gum.

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  11. I read an article about sweeteners a few months ago and have since cut it out of my diet completely. It seriously scared the shit out of me and reading all the comments has definitely secured it for me. Anti-sweetener all the way here! While getting coffee this morning at Dunkin Donuts, a man ahead of me ordered a large coffee with SIX splendas. I almost vomitted all over him... DISGUSTING.

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  12. I think processed *shit* and flashy depression commercials have ruined people! I try not to eat it because I have seen what it does to you insides if hand, but they put it in everything! I make all my own baked good with real butter and sugar and the calories are still half of the manufactured ones.
    A great back up to white sugar in coffee is brown sugar. I bet that dark chocolate almond milk would be amazing in coffee...mmmm. Going to the store now.

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    1. It just KILLS me when I see this stuff marketed as a great substitute to use in treats for kids - like kids today don't already have enough problems lol...

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    2. It's probably WHY kids today have problems.

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    3. Trouble, I've been under the impression that all the processed shit/antibiotics/horrifying other stuff that goes into our food most likely plays at least a somewhat large role in the issues kids have today. When I was growing up, I was the only kid in my neighborhood with allergies. Now it seems like every kid has allergies.

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  13. Another good sugar substitute in baking is unsweetened apple sauce. You can substitute it in some breads if you reduce the amount of the other liquids. It's my secret ingredient in all veggie & fruit breads. Yum!

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    1. Agreed - it worked like a charm in my recent GF pumpkin bread and I cut way down on the sugar the recipe called for - didn't miss it a bit!

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    2. Cullenary CurserMay 17, 2012 at 7:57 PM

      Instead of apple sauce I'll stew some prunes in water and then puree them with the hand blender. Same effect but with more fiber!

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    3. Oooo, I do that to. You can actually substitute it 1 for 1 for oil in any baked product that isn't chocolate (like yellow cake, lemon cake etc) and reduce the sweetener by at least 25%. The same french culinary school friend who told me that trick would also substitute baby-food prunes 1 for 1 for the oil in chocolate baked goods, but I couldn't go that far and haven't tried it myself.

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  14. I am a real sugar, real butter, real meat kinda girl and as of late, am trying to curb the sugars and flour...white is the devil. Thanks for taking the time to make us all stop and rethink our consumption of really bad things.
    ps. I miss bacon jsyk *sigh bacon*

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    1. I won't ever give up bacon. There must be a better way...

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  15. I am with STY....Agave Nectar is the way to go. Also Stevia is a natural plant sweetener that is quite good. I have never consumed artificial sweeteners on a regular basis...this is why I am so svelt. Ha!

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    1. I like agave for tea but would probably use stevia if I drank coffee. Fake sweeteners might taste better than stevia, but stevia won't land me in a padded room.

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  16. For realsies, artificial anything is probably not good for you. When I was getting my tests done for gluten allegies, they asked if I use artificial sweetners. I told them "hell no!" (in nicer words) and they said that I NEVER should. It really bugs me when I see people using it instead of sugar, thinking they are being healthy. No no no!

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  17. In January, I went on a pretty strict diet that cut out pretty much everything. Dairy, pre-packaged food, white flour, white sugar, meat...I swear it was harder for me that it was to quit smoking.

    Now, 40 lbs lighter and a whole lot healthier, I realize that my diet food consumption was actually adding to the problem. No wonder I couldn't lose weight.

    Thanks for publishing this.

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  18. Although I eat some bad things, I don't use or allow my kids to use artificial sweeteners. Know how hard it is finding gum without it?? I am also trying to cut out white flour and use whole wheat pasta. Thanks for the symptoms. That is terrible. If parents cut out sugars for some kids, think how many less ADD/ADHD medicine users there would be.

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    1. Try "Zellies" - the flavor doesn't last long but it's xylitol-sweetened and I think is supposed to be good for your teeth. Peelu gum is another option, I think. Look it up online! : )

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  19. I may not eat the best things all the time but artificial sugar is just one I can't do. 11 yearsa ago when I had to go gluten free in order to get healthy I never really thought about how what you eat can affect you in so many different ways. It isn't just about calories it is about how it interacts with your systems and cells - I really wish I could just eat healthy but I am sure I am addicted to somethings now that I would have to work harder than ever to get away from them. I really think we need JennyJerkface (as in Jenny Craig) part of this blog - we can all post our ideas for healthy options over our current one, we can share exercise tips, etc.

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  20. Admittedly, my diet lingers somewhere around the "awful" part of the dietary spectrum. Raw vegetables make me go fetal but I can house a Big Mac and fries in about a minute and a half. I try to eat healthy and in small portions but... I'm a sucker for candy and chips.

    HOWEVER, no fucking way will I use that fake shit. I love my sugar. And corn syrup. I have a feeling that's for a different post though.

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  21. Great post, and I really enjoyed the comments as well. I've always avoided artificial sweeteners, and most other unnatural products, but it's good to have a reminder of just how scary that shit really is!

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    1. Thanks! I've also enjoyed reading the comments...

      If anyone wants to do some further scaring-the-bejeebus-out-of-themselves, I'd suggest this for a good starting point -

      http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2000/12/03/sucralose-testimonials.aspx

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