April 23, 2007

Splenda and Equal: Toxic Terrors or Tasty Treats?

There's a lot of controversy about the safety of artificial sweeteners, particularly in the blogosphere. (In real life, where most people aren't paying attention and are happy to eat total crap all day long, no one seems to care much. Those who can stand the taste use it to cut calories, and those who can't, don't).

But in the Internet world, these artificial sweeteners are indeed a Very Big Deal. To admit, particularly on a health and fitness site, that you use the stuff is like announcing you eat babies for breakfast. Lots of strong feelings on the subject.

Crabby came late to the whole debate, because she never thought either of them tastes "just like sugar." But eventually she got used to them and discovered that while in some foods they still taste metallic and nasty, in others they work just fine.

The FDA recently weighed in on Equal again, saying don't worry at all about cancer, but they weren't entirely convincing since it sounds like they didn't get all the data they needed but just went ahead and said it anyway.

Crabby does not pretend to have carefully analyzed all the studies. She tried to do some actual research but there are just too many vested interests and conspiracy nutballs out there cluttering up the debate to get a straight answer about Aspartame (Equal) or Sucralose (Splenda). Of the two, Splenda seems less controversial than Equal, at least among mainstream scientists.

People tend to find the articles that support what they already think, and Crabby is no exception. The Mayo Clinic and The American Diabetes Association say "no problem, keep dumping it in your coffee" (not an exact quote). But countless others say "cut that out, you'll die!" (Just google, you'll see a million of them).

It seems quite sensible to avoid consuming artificial sweeteners if it doesn't feel like a hardship.

Tomorrow, Crabby will explain why she uses Splenda anyway. (After putting this post up, she realizes it's running way too long so she's taking part of it out for now). Stay tuned!


  1. Oh my dog! I am at this very moment drinking coffee with two tabs of Equal in it. I'm straight off to track down those tell-all posts - except I'm feeling poorly. I'm sweating, palpitations, double vision ...

    (weak little voice) I bequeath you my computer, Crabby.

  2. Dawn,
    I want to say something witty in reply but you made me too giggly to concentrate. Either that or it's another damn Splenda overdose.

  3. Alas, I'm an artificial sweetener-a-holic, LOL! I use Sweet 'n' Low in my coffee 'cause it seems to get my coffee the sweetest, and I like coffee as sweet as I can get it without having to resort to the calories in sugar.

    And I often eat ice cream sandwiches sweetened with Splenda. Can't beat a 100 calorie ice cream treat for dessert. ;-D

    Wanted to let you know, too, I tagged you for a rather interesting meme: the Blog Apocolypse. Have you heard of memes? If you don't know what a meme is yet, I'll be happy to explain. :) Anyhow, see my blog for details!

  4. I'm a really weird one, because I like diet soda but I want sugar in my tea. Honestly, I just can't drink regular soda. I don't know why, except that I'm addicted to aspartame.

    But then, why don't I want it in my tea? I've asked myself this a thousand times and I still don't know the answer.

    Coffee's a different story, because I don't want anything in that ...


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)