Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Confessions of a Splenda-holic.

Since I was but a tiny lass, I've been under the impression that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, birth defects, and malevolence in general. I steered clear of all things 'diet,' and everything that even hinted at containing less than enough sugar to give me cavities. But somehow, the impressionable young adult in me fell into a torrid love affair with Splenda. The bright yellow packaging just spews happiness from it's consumer-friendly pores, along with the claim that is made from sugar, and is therefore, just as refined and awesome. I began to use Splenda like it was going out of style. Like the world was on fire, and Splenda was some sort of extinguisher. I found myself stashing emergency Splenda in my purse, the glove compartment of my car, snatching those few extra packets from Starbucks and hoping the baristas wouldn't catch on. I became an addict, but the worst part was, I had come to accept my addiction as a norm. That was, until today. The New York Times has burst my Splenda-sweetened bubble once and for all.

According to a study at Duke University (I choose to ignore the fact that it was financed by the Sugar Association...and yes, that is a real lobbying group for the natural-sugar industry), Splenda contributes to obesity, destroys 'good' intestinal bacteria and prevents prescription drugs from being absorbed.

McNeil Nutritionals, the company behind Splenda, cited that these findings were unsupported by the data presented, arguing that the sweetener will not cause weight gain and can indeed be included as part of a healthy diet.

Since 1999, Splenda has taken over almost two-thirds of the artificial sweetener market, pushing down table sugar’s market share, and making a worthy adversary for the Sugar Association.

The battle between Splenda, sugar, and it's artificial sweetener competitors has basically been a long list of lawsuits, settlements, accusations and rebuttals. Very boring, and very trivial. Personally, it all boils down to the age-old saying that if it's too good to be true, it probably is. And thus, I have chosen to go cold turkey, and sever the metaphorical ambilical cord that has joined Splenda and I for the past 3 years.

I literally handed my entire remaining supply of those delicious little white crystals of joy, to an unbiased party. I instructed said party to hide this supply where I would never find it, preferably in a place I can't reach (much like hiding cookies from a 5-year-old). My only fear is of a flashlight shining in my face at four in the morning as I lay sprawled on the bathroom floor, surrounded by empty yellow packets, eyes rolled into the back of my head as I cough up granules of fake sugar. I'm just hoping to avoid this dreadful relapse, I might have to start going to meetings and find myself a sponsor. But I plan to be Splenda-free from this day forward. The following, is an open letter:

Dear Splenda,

It's nothing personal, I really love you as a product, and I think that you're a great friend. It's not you, it's me. I have serious sugar issues that I need to address, and I'd rather not drag you into my toxic environment. Thank you for the good times. For the lattes, the iced teas, the Kool-Aid. Thank you for the smoothies and the Publix-brand sodas. But most of all, thank you for your love; and for giving me a little yellow happiness (that isn't my own urine) every single day. I will miss you, and you can never be replaced. I can only hope to one day make high-fructose corn syrup as happy as you have made me. Goodbye, Splenda. And good luck!

Your dearest friend,

L. Smith, Esq.

P.S. *tears and sadness*

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