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Like you I've seen some miracles of modern science turn into nightmares when testing wasn't adequate, when results were fudged, when coverups went on. So questions exist about all artificial sweeteners. Splenda may be less dangerous than Aspartame (which I sure wouldn't recommend to anyone). Long-term and independent studies are lacking. And here's real kicker:
***** From Consumers' Research Magazine "There is no clear-cut evidence that sugar substitutes are useful in weight reduction. On contrary, there is some evidence that these substances may stimulate appetite."
Now that just tears it. Risk your health using one of these chemicals and then end up eating more because it stimulates your appetite. Terrific.
So what alternatives are there? Surprisingly there are quite a few. One interesting alternative is a South American plant called Stevia. Apparently once considered a potential threat to sugar industry, it seems to have been deep-sixed early in twentieth century. It has been used as a sweetener for centuries by South American natives. In U.S., it seems (somehow) to have been kept from being available as an "additive" and FDA has said not enough studies have been done. Yet it's widely used by diabetics and in countries such as Japan and Brazil. Stevia is available at health stores as a supplement (though without any indication that it could be used as a sweetener). It's a fascinating story which you can read here: http://www.stevia.net/ - The Stevia Story
More information on alternative sweeteners is in our article: http://www.carb.werkz.org/healthier-sweeteners.php - "Healthier Alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners."
Our health is challenged on all sides these days. New chemicals, new additives, genetically engineered foods, highly processed foods, empty calories, stress and pollution all pose threats to our bodies. I've come to conclusion that fewer highly processed, chemically enhanced, questionably assessed, factory created products we ingest, better off we will probably be.
Our bodies evolved as a part of natural world and though we are changing world radically (which is only natural, it is what people do after all), our bodies do not evolve and adapt at rate technology changes. And for scientific, political and economic reasons, quality and thoroughness of evaluations done on newly created products don't match up to our industrial creativity.
Finally, balancing need to lose weight (or maintain an optimum weight) against potential risks creates difficult choices. It's up to you to make best choice you can for your specific situation -- just remember, that old saw still holds - Let buyer beware.
http://www.Carb.Werkz.org is an informational site providing recipes, articles, news and diet resources. Since many recipes are designed to use Splenda, please take a look at http://www.Carb.Werkz.org/healthier-sweeteners.php and http://www.Carb.Werkz.org/how-to-use-splenda.php for additional information.