The Fit Life, LLC

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why I think Splenda (Sucralose) is Evil

Many, many people swear by Splenda. It is their magic sweetener that allows them to lose weight and still eat delicious, sweet treats. And I know many people--especially those following a low-carb diet--do not want to let it go.

So I would like to share my experiences with Splenda. Maybe it will change just one person's mind about using Splenda.

My first encounter with Splenda was several years ago--before Splenda was so popular. I was working at a women's gym in California. I was really poor. A sales rep. had dropped off a huge batch of free samples of sugar-free fruit tea. Since I could barely afford to feed myself, I appreciated anything free. So I was drinking two or three of these teas per day.

After about a week, I developed a red, itchy rash all over my body. I couldn't figure out what it was from (and I couldn't afford health insurance--so I didn't go to the doctor). When I started thinking about what new things had been introduced to my life in the last few weeks, I narrowed it down to the tea. I stopped drinking it immediately. Within about a week the itchy rash was gone.

After that, I avoided anything with Splenda in it.

Then a few years ago I was desperate to drop some weight. Exercise alone wasn't working. After taking a very critical look at my diet, I realized I had a carb problem! I decided to try the low-carb route. But I had an addiction I was having trouble kicking--Starbuck's Iced Mochas. And I was having them several times a week. Going cold turkey on my mochas was going to be tough. So I didn't.

Even though I knew I had issues with Splenda (and I knew that was the sweetener Starbuck's used), my craving for coffee and chocolate was incorrigible. And I had cut soooooo many other things out of my diet trying to be a low-carb and healthy. So I started getting their sugar-free iced mochas.

Guess what? No rash! I thought perhaps my sensitivity to Splenda was a thing of the past! Meanwhile, I was having some digestive issues. It happens to all of us now and then. I just chalked it up to a little stomach bug or maybe my body adjusting to the low-carb diet. But after about two weeks of having regular sugar-free iced mochas, my stomach was a mess. Everything I ate was going right through me. I was having stomach cramps constantly, and quite frankly, I was constantly gassy!

It finally hit me. Maybe it was the darn Splenda again! So I started "Googling" side effects of Splenda. Guess what I found? Numerous reports of people having intestinal issues, rashes, headaches and various other problems after consuming Splenda.

So you would think that this is where my story ends, right? Well, it should. But, Leos are stubborn. And my craving for those damn iced mochas still exists. For awhile, I was just allowing myself one regular (with sugar) mocha a week. But just a little while back, I was once again kind of desperate to shed a few pounds. So I was going to try the low-carb route again. Again, my craving for the iced mocha reared its ugly head. "Come on, J.J. If you have just one sugar-free, iced mocha you'll be fine. Just drink one to get rid of the craving."

Well..............................................................................I did. I know, I know. I'm suppose to be a nutritional/health role model. But we all have our weaknesses! But this time it didn't take a few weeks of Splenda build-up to start reacting. Within about two hours of drinking the mocha, the intestinal cramps started. But this time I had some more severe side effects. I felt a migraine coming on (I am a migraine sufferer, so I didn't attribute this to the mocha right away). And worse yet, I was at the house of one of my canine clients. The pup and I had just returned from a walk. Toward the end of the walk I started sweating profusely and my heart rate was up way too high. As I walked into their air conditioned house, I got very clammy and the room started to spin. I was so dizzy I had to sit down on their floor for a good twenty minutes before the horrible feeling started to subside.

At first I was really worried because I suffered a concussion a few months ago, and I was afraid my symptoms were coming back. But as I once again started to "Google" Splenda and its side effects, other people listed every single reaction I had had.

So, I think I have finally learned my lesson. (Plus, I just cut dairy out of my diet, so iced mochas are totally out now). I will just make my own iced mocha at home--with almond milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and perhaps a little honey for sweetness.

I've taken so many steps to become a healthy person, I'm not going to let Splenda get the better of me. It is definitely not worth the health risk. I truly believe you are better off just splurging on real sugar occasionally, or sticking with all natural alternatives like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar (much lower glycemic index than cane sugar), date sugar or if you must, Stevia (which I've grown in my garden). You can actually order Stevia as the actual plant ground up to a powder (you'll know because it's kind of green instead of white like sugar).

Stay away from the artificial sweeteners. By using them, you are not doing your health any favors! (Don't take as long as I did to learn this lesson)!

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About Me

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I am the owner of The Fit Life, LLC. The Fit Life, LLC offers fitness instruction and nutrition counseling in a holistic way. I focus on personal training using mainly your own body strength--very little equipment. I also hold a certification in holistic nutrition. Because nutrition counseling regulations are very strict in Ohio, I'm still working on what nutrition services I can provide to my clients; however, I'm happy to provide general nutrition information. I enjoy teaching TRX, Indoor Cycling, and Boot Camps.