Workout of the Day:
10-15 minutes of technique work
Clean x Jerk
(keep the loads light, work on speed and technique);
and then,
For Max Reps and Calories:
Three minutes of Hang Power Cleans (135/95 lbs.)
Three minutes of Rest
Three minutes of Russian Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)
Three minutes of Rest
Three minutes of Rowing (for calories)
Bitter Truth About Splenda by CrossFit Invictus San Diego

The Bitter Truth About Splenda
Written by Calvin Sun
(Originally published here on January 12 & 13, 2009.)

Sucralose, better known by its brand name Splenda, has become one of the most popular sugar substitutes in our country. You can find it in several places, ranging from baked goods to diet sodas and even on the counter at your local coffee shop. I was recently having coffee when I overheard two ladies debating the use of Splenda sweetener as part of their nutritional regime. Apparently one of them had recently adopted a “points based” weight loss program that promoted use of artificial sweeteners. She argued that Splenda was a choice product because of its null caloric content and she claimed it was safe because it was an “all-natural” product. I frequently hear similar sentiments whenever I consult clients on their nutrition:

“It has no calories, so it will help me lose fat”

Not exactly, in fact it does the exact opposite. Several studies conducted in recent years have found that consumption of artificial sweeteners can actually contribute to weight gain, metabolic syndrome, and increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. Purdue University conducted a study that found that consumption of artificial sweetener actually led to greater weight gain than those who consumed regular sugar (Journal of Behavioral Neuroscience). While Splenda contains no calories it can still elicit the same insulinogenic response triggered by sugar. When a sweet-tasting substance hits your tongue, a physiological response triggers the pancreas to release insulin into the blood stream for the expected increase in blood sugar. Without the calories the body expects, you remain hungry and become predisposed to overeating at your next meal.

“It’s made from sugar so its better for you…right?”
Sucrose ComponentsSucralose Components

Crack is made from cocaine but that doesn’t mean it’s better for you either. Splenda’s tag line is “Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar.” It’s a true albeit misleading statement. Sucralose is manufactured from sucrose. Hydroxyl groups (OH) are replaced with chlorine atoms (Cl) changing the chemical structure so much that your body no longer recognizes it as food. Splenda has no calories because your body can’t digest the foreign substance.

Splenda usage can also result in a variety of other complications within the gastrointestinal tract. A comprehensive study conducted by Duke University found that “Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50%, increases the pH level in the intestines, contributes to increases in body weight and affects the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in the body in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected” (Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health).

Just something to consider the next time you reach for a diet soda or a cup of coffee.

  • Mark Riebel

    Whoa, whoa, whoa…have there been any studies directly comparing crack to cocaine? Maybe it really is better for you.

  • Cheddies

    Read this as I was drinking my coffee this morning with… Splenda. Reading this honestly made me dump my coffee and fill up a new cup, Splenda-free. I have been a long time Splenda user resisting giving it up, although I knew I should. This post was just what I needed to break my addiction. Thanks Calvin!

  • Nathan

    Good heads up for everyone, Calvin. Tip of the iceberg though.
    First question is always: how much?
    In coffee, doubtful enough of an effect. However in juices, that’s different, and even more it is used behind the scenes in other foods.
    All besides the bigger issue:

    Splenda originated out of a chemical insecticide lab in 1975 (out of research for a more toxic insecticide) by adding sulfuryl chloride to sugar.
    Chlorine is a Class 1 carcinogen. It is not natural, and is highly toxic. Living things that don’t drown in our swimming pools are killed by the same chlorine.

    Dr. J.Mercola wrote a book about artificial sweeteners: “Sweet Deception”.
    In it, a list is given of other organic-chlorines (natural occurring things that were able to be force-bonded to chlorine).
    Some items from that list:

    *DDT – banned as insecticide in the USA. Too toxic to humans to use (but it was widely usd in the USA at one time, until they discovered it’s effect on people)

    *Mustard Gas – chemical warfare weapon

    *PCBs banned in most countries because their toxic props don’t break down. they remain deadly in water, ground, waste treatment, etc. (but it was widely used at one time, until they discovered it’s effect on people).

    *SPLENDA (Splenda is closer in molecular structure to chemical warfare weapons than is normal food)

    I wonder if Splenda will be banned, as hindsight catches up. Until Splenda, no other object distributed for human consumption was bonded to chlorine.

    How much? I dunno…ask yourself: how much poison is too much poison?

    Reminds me of Fluoride, used in our water supply, with a claim of “it’s good for teeth”.
    Same thing. One munincipality in Alaska has already banned fluoride from their water supply.

  • Mark Riebel

    Allright, easy on the paranoia. Sucralose may not be all it’s cracked up to be, but there nothing to suggest it should be grouped into the same category as something like DDT just because it contains chlorine and the author really wants to sell you her book. Every time you reach for the salt shaker to add some flavor to your steak, guess what, you’re pouring a mixture of an explosive metal and a toxic gas onto your food. JUST BECAUSE IT HAS CHLORINE IN IT DOES NOT MAKE IT TOXIC. Chemical properties of elements change depending on what form they’re in; some are harmful, some are not.

    And unless you have some sort of adverse reaction to the stuff (Wink), a little bit in your coffee isn’t going to kill you if you like the taste. As an example, look at Sweet ‘N Low. Right there on the package it says that saccharin has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals. Does that mean you’ll get it? Well, I suppose if you scaled up your saccharin consumption to that of the rats you’d be eating 8-10 pounds of the stuff every day. Do the math, and that’s a lot of little pink packets that no one in their right minds would ever eat. The devil is in the details on any study, and human studies in particular (whether the results jive with your beliefs or not) are very poorly controlled in general because you can’t control humans like rats and there’s a billion variables that you just can’t control.

    Maybe it will turn out to be that this stuff is a little harmful, but until there’s some more hard evidence of it, don’t feel like if you touch this stuff you’ll burst into flames or anything.

  • Lars

    Hello CF Invictus,

    I’m very impressed with your website and programming. Nice work.

    On the topic, I gave up the splenda a few months ago and haven’t look back. I add a bit more milk to coffee and avoid any sweeteners. For folks who can’t, I recommend the Agave Sweetner.

    I’ll be in the area this week for work; hopefully I’ll have time to stop by.

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