If you are what you eat, make sure you're eating enough!

Following the Latest Eating Trends Might Be Bad for Your Health!

This post was originally written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com, so you can also read it here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

I once saw a magazine cover showing a man’s head made up of an assortment of fruits and vegetables. The caption read, “You are what you eat.” It was a simple, but effective, way to illustrate how the food we put into our bodies can affect the way we look and feel.

That picture would look much different today.

The theme for many of our current eating trends is, “You are what you don’t eat.” This includes many fads, such as detox cleanses, not eating anything that cavemen didn’t eat and going gluten free, lactose free or GMO-free.

What people may not realize when they adopt one of these fads is that there are sometimes unintended consequences. For example, eliminating some types of foods from the diet can also result in eliminating certain valuable nutrients that the body needs; or the omitted foods might be replaced with ones that are no better, or even worse.

MODERATION IS THE KEY

Practically every food you can think of has been on a “Do Not Eat” list at some point in time. Red meat, butter and eggs have been there and so have white bread, potatoes and sugar. Even ingredients we consume in tiny amounts that have undergone rigorous safety reviews by experts from around the world, like low calorie sweeteners, have come under criticism without justification. (Read more about the safety of the low calorie sweetener, sucralose, in my previous blog, “Is SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (Sucralose) Safe? Authorities We Can Trust.”

Fortunately, once all the excitement created by the headlines dies down, people often realize that fads are often not based in good science, and that they do not have to give up the foods they love to be healthy. Any food can be included in a balanced diet as long as it is eaten in moderation. And even though there are rigorous processes in place to ensure that ingredients used in food are safe, no food or beverage can be consumed in unlimited quantities and still be good for you.

NUTRITION KNOWLEDGE IS EXPANDING

The study of human nutrition is a relatively young science so we don’t have all the answers yet, but we know much more today than we did 50 years ago. As our understanding of the way in which nutrients affect our health expands, we should be prepared to make adjustments in what and how much we eat to incorporate the new knowledge. But this is a gradual process and rarely requires the complete removal of any food from our diets.

That is why I have always advised my clients not to eliminate anything they normally eat unless it is a medical necessity. Instead, the goal is to keep as much variety in our meal plans as possible to benefit from all that we do not yet know. By doing that, the image of “you are what you eat” will change over time as more and more foods get added to the picture. By not doing that, the image might disappear!

For more information, readStaying Away from Fad Dietsby the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Research shows side effects from using surcalose

Is SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener Bad for You? Top Myths about Sucralose Side Effects

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Can a freshly roasted turkey make you sneeze? If you had asked a friend of mine a few years ago you would have heard a resounding “Yes!” He then would have offered as evidence that he always started to sneeze the minute he sat down for his family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

The problem with his “evidence” was that it was anecdotal. That means it was a personal account of something that happened to him that was not based on research and was not necessarily true. In this case, his sneezing had nothing to do with the turkey. As he later learned, he had an allergy to sunflowers and his sneezing was triggered by the floral centerpiece that graced their dining room table every Thanksgiving!

Unfortunately, there is a lot of other anecdotal, or self-reported, information out there that gets passed off as evidence of a problem when scientific research indicates the “problem” is not, in fact, a real one. Many symptoms, like sneezing, are so common, almost anything can be the cause. But when the wrong connection is made between something and a personal response, it can set in motion a myth, like my friend’s mistaken turkey-and-sneezing connection.

Low-calorie sweeteners is a topic that has been particularly subject to misinformation that has led to myths. This is worrisome, because some people still ask: “Is sucralose bad for you?”, and “Are there sucralose side effects?”, even though the total body of evidence shows they are safe and without side effects. Since these myths are nothing to sneeze at, I’d like to set the record straight here!

Top Side Effect Myths Related to Sucralose

1.Gastrointestinal Discomfort and Bloating

If you eat and drink a varied diet you may occasionally experience gas, bloating and changes in your bowel habits. That’s normal digestion at work. Even if you eat the same thing every day, changes in your emotions can impact how well you digest your food. Given the high-stress lives many people lead today, it’s important to remember that, before blaming something you’ve eaten for your stomach rumblings.

The good news is sucralose has not been found to cause digestive problems (see Fact vs Fiction: Sucralose Dangers and Side Effects). Data from over 100 studies show sucralose has no side effects, but that news may not have reached all of us who are trying to eat wisely. Instead, we tend to hear more alarming news about studies whose results contradict the available research. For example, some of the digestive health myths about sucralose stem from a small study in rats done in 2009 that was actually found to be unreliable by experts.

2. Allergies or Allergic Reactions

One of the most common allergy-related myths associated with SPLENDA® Sweetener Products has to do with corn allergies, since dextrose and maltodextrin are used as bulking ingredients in SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Packets and Granulated. People with a diagnosed allergy to corn should be able to use SPLENDA® Sweetener Products without any problem. It is the protein in certain foods that usually triggers allergic reactions, and all of the corn-derived ingredients in SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Products come from the starch fraction of corn. Since it is highly purified it should not contain any appreciable amount of protein. If there is concern, a good option is the SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Minis, which do not contain any corn-derived ingredients.

As for other allergies or food intolerances, anyone who has a medical condition making it necessary to avoid certain ingredients in the food supply must be vigilant about reading labels. Fortunately all of the ingredients in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products are ones that research does not associate with allergic response, and they are all listed on the packaging. You can also call the SPLENDA® Consumer Care Center at 1-800-777-5363, or visit SPLENDA.com for more information.

3. Headaches

If you do an Internet search for “causes of headaches” you’ll get nearly 30 million hits! Counting them all would give anyone a headache, but I’m sure there are people scanning those lists eager to find the cause for their misery. Yet with so many possibilities, it’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusion, especially when anecdotal information is involved (see point #1 above).

If you believe sucralose can cause headaches, relief is on the way. Scientists have conducted numerous studies to determine if sucralose causes side effects and concluded it does not. Research shows that sucralose has no side effects, and is not linked to any known triggers of headaches. Of course, other ingredients people may be sensitive to might be found in a food or drink sweetened with sucralose, so individuals should carefully evaluate everything in their diet when considering possible causes for headaches. It’s also important to remember that headaches are one of those common complaints that can be caused by non-dietary factors, like stress, worrying, and changes in our environment, which can be frustrating for those who suffer from headaches.

It’s good to know the best scientific evidence available tells us there are no side effects from sucralose, so if you hear rumors about them, don’t be misled by anecdotal information. Instead, check out the facts on Snopes.com (make sure you read the Snopes.com response, past the “example” provided) – and lay the myths to rest!

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

References:

 

 

Getting motivated to lose weight takes more than money

Weight Loss Motivation – Can Low Calorie Sweeteners Help?

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

If motivation could be sold as a pill, we would all eat right every day and get plenty of exercise. The fact that we don’t always do those things isn’t because we don’t understand the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity for good health; we just have a hard time staying on track day in and day out. That’s why figuring out what motivates you is a prescription worth filling!

Do you think being paid to lose weight would motivate you? Studies are beginning to show that money is an incentive for weight loss, but there’s more to the payoff than you might think.

A recent study done at the Mayo Clinic found participants who knew they would receive $20 each month if they reached their weight loss goals lost more weight than those who received the same education and behavior modification program but had no financial incentive. The interesting thing about money is that it not only motivated the subjects when they were earning it for losing weight, but also when they had to pay a $20 penalty any month they did not meet their goals. At the end of the program, those who paid penalties actually lost more weight than those who had no money at stake!

Another study based on an employee-sponsored weight loss program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found competing for a bigger financial reward was a better motivator than working toward individual goals. In this case the subjects were divided into two groups. Half of them had a chance to earn $100 a month if they met or exceeded their individual weight loss goals. The remaining participants were randomly assigned to teams with five people in each, but they were not told who their teammates were. What they were told is that only the people who met or exceeded their monthly goals would have a share of their group’s $500. This meant that if only two people achieved their goals one month, they would get $250 each. After six months the team participants lost more weight than those who had the chance to earn $1000 a month by reaching their individual goals. One reason for the success of team members is that they remained more motivated over the six months than those who did not have a chance at the bigger rewards.

While it is easy to conclude from these studies that all we need to do to get people to lose weight is offer them a financial incentive, that notion misses a very important piece of the puzzle. The money only serves as a motivation to do the work that leads to weight loss. For example, maybe some of the subjects in these studies set their alarm an hour earlier so they could go to the gym before work. Maybe they planned their weekly menus before food shopping or started keeping track of everything they ate. Maybe they started other calorie-lowering strategies like substituting a no calorie sweetener, like SPLENDA® Sweeteners, for sugar. So, while money was likely an incentive, what may have really helped people over time was the chance to form new eating and exercise habits. And once those new habits were in place, they became their own rich reward.

That’s what we have learned from members of the National Weight Control Registry who have successfully lost weight and kept it off for more than five years. Success comes to those who make changes they can live with. Using a low calorie sweetener, such as SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener is just one strategy, and it may be one you live with to help you reach your goals, too.

For further info. on this topic, read my previous blog post on this topic: “How Counting Calories is Like Saving Money.”

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.
References:

  • Driver SL, Hensrud D. Financial Incentives for Weight Loss: A One-Year Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. J Am Coll Cardiol.2013;61(10S):Moderated Poster Session
  • Kullgren JT et. al.(8). Individual versus group based financial incentives for weight loss. A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(7):505-514

 

Learn the habits of those who are successful at managing their weight

Weight Loss Success: Lessons Learned from Successful Losers

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This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows the work isn’t over once the pounds are off. Keeping them off can be an even bigger challenge. That’s because so many people still think all they have to do to lose weight is go “on a diet,” and once they lose weight they can get “off the diet.” Sadly, it’s often just a matter of time before their weight is right back where they started, or even higher.

If this sounds familiar, there’s a group I want to tell you about who have beat that system. They are members of The National Weight Control Registry and they have all lost weight and kept it off – and for most of them, for more than five years!

Whenever I read about this amazing group of successful “weight losers,” one of the first things that always stands out is how few of them credit their success to having gone “on a diet.” Instead, what most of them have done is adopt a new lifestyle. And as we all know, diets have many stops and starts, but lifestyles just keep plugging along.

How to Successfully Lose Weight & Keep it Off

This lifestyle approach is reflected in most common traits used by the Registry members to maintain their weight loss. For example, 78% report they eat breakfast every day of the week and the majority of them follow the same meal pattern on weekends and holidays as they do any other day of the year. Eating meals on a consistent schedule is just an everyday occurrence. They also monitor their weight on a regular basis and deal with any weight gain quickly so it doesn’t get out of control. Stepping on a scale once a day is all it takes. Another routine they’ve built into their daily lives is getting some physical activity, which they apparently have the time to do because they watch less than 10 hours of television per week.

When it comes to what they eat, keeping tabs on the caloric and fat content of their diets is a winning strategy for Registry members. Of course this involves reading food labels, being aware of portion sizes and not eating out too often, but that’s just a way of life for them.

A recent study on the use of low-calorie sweeteners (such as SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener) and fat-modified foods by weight loss maintainers (WLM) found these are helpful tools. When compared to normal weight (NW) subjects who reported consuming a low calorie, low fat diet, WLM used more low fat strategies, such as reduced fat dairy products, spreads and sauces, than NW, and they drank more sugar-free beverages and water than those who had never been overweight.

This may come as a surprise to those who have heard about the studies reporting an association between low-calorie sweeteners and increased weight, but it wasn’t a surprise to these researchers. They said their results are consistent with those found in several other randomized clinical trials on obese individuals that found greater weight loss among users of low-calorie sweeteners than non-users. In fact, the authors concluded that the use of sugar-free beverages may actually assist the weight loss maintainers in adhering to their reduced calorie diets when faced with the many triggers to overeat that are all around us.

If you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off, take a look at the successful people in the National Weight Control Registry for inspiration. What you’ll see is it takes more than a diet, and that the use of low-calorie sweeteners, like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, can be a helpful part of your new healthy lifestyle.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

References:

  • Wyatt HR, et. al (5). Long-term weight loss and breakfast in subjects in the National Weight Control Registry. Obes Res.2002;10(2):78-82
  • Phelan S, et. al (3). Use of artificial sweeteners and fat-modified foods in weight loss maintainers and always normal weight individuals. Int J Obes. 2009;33(10):1183-1190
  • Wing R, Phelan S. Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;82(1):2225-2255
Hunger and appetite are not the same

Hunger versus Appetite: Learning the Difference is Key to Weight Management

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

When I hear people say they don’t use low calorie sweeteners because they believe they’ll lead to food cravings, I’m always surprised. When I want something sweet and chocolaty I just reach for a dish of sugar free chocolate pudding or cup of no added sugar hot cocoa because they always satisfy me, and with far fewer calories than if I went for the full sugar version!

I have used a number of different no and low calorie sweeteners in my life, and continue to use them, and have never experienced anything close to a craving when eating a food or drink containing them. My experience is confirmed by studies that show people did not report increased appetite when given food and beverages sweetened with sugar substitutes.

All of the discussion over whether these sweeteners can really make us eat more, or want to eat more, got me thinking about just how complex our eating behavior really is. After reading this brief summary I think you’ll agree there are more triggers to food cravings than sweeteners.

Learning to Eat

Human beings come into the world with two basic drives that control when we eat: hunger and satiety. Hunger makes us seek food and satiety keeps us from thinking about it again until we are hungry again. You can see these innate mechanisms at work in any healthy newborn baby.

We do not start out life knowing what to eat. We must be taught what is edible and how to feed ourselves. These lessons are shaped by many things. Think about how your own food choices have been influenced by your family food traditions, religious dietary practices, health beliefs, food labeling, cost, advertising, peer pressure and serving sizes, just to name a few. Our exposure to the many factors that shape our own eating behavior begins at birth and continues throughout our lives. These influences are part of every food decision we make.

Separating Our Wants from Our Needs

Now let’s get back to those internal signals, hunger and satiety. When a wide variety of good tasting food is readily available virtually all of the time, external forces can easily override the internal signals that tell us when to eat and how much. If that happens often enough we soon have a difficult time telling the difference between our hunger (a physiological need for food) and our appetite (a psychological desire to eat). If you’ve ever ordered a delicious dessert right after eating a three course meal then you know how your appetite can get the best of you!

Ignoring our internal signals of hunger and satiety can also explain why some people think drinking a diet soda can make them overeat. Here’s what may really be happening: if someone is hungry and grabs a can of diet soda instead of getting something to eat, they will still be hungry soon after they finish the soda. Since a serving of diet soda has little or no calories, it’s like drinking a glass of water. The longer they ignore the feeling of hunger the greater the likelihood that they will overeat when they finally get some food because by then they are really hungry. But that is not the fault of the diet soda; it was hunger all along!

These are just some of the examples that illustrate how complex human eating behavior is compared to other animals. Our individual eating behavior is also unique when compared to other people, whether family members, friends or folks we’ve never met around the world. You could say no two people eat in exactly the same way.

That is why I do not believe low calorie sweeteners, such as SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose), can make us eat more or crave sweets. But it’s reassuring to know there’s plenty of scientific evidence that shows low calorie sweeteners do not stimulate appetite or food intake and don’t cause weight gain. In fact, millions of people use them every day to help with weight management, but when people overeat, there are a million other reasons why.

 

Swap sugar for Splenda to reduce calories and weight

Cutting Calories Every Day with SPLENDA® Sweetener Products

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

When I was a little girl I always stopped to pick up a penny in the street if I saw one. Back then it bought me a piece of bubble gum. If I saved ten of those pennies I could buy a comic book. Eventually I was collecting the pennies I found in a jar with all my other loose change to help fund more expensive things, like my college tuition. I still pick up pennies in the street because I know they can add up.

Reducing the added sugar in my diet one teaspoon at a time works on the same principle. Every teaspoon of sugar I don’t eat by using a low-calorie sweetener like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener can add up to cups of sugar over time. And, for me, that adds up to thousands of saved calories.

It’s easy to replace sugar with a low-calorie sweetener in your morning coffee and to order a diet soda with lunch to save some calories. Using SPLENDA® Sweetener Products to make your favorite dessert recipes is another simple way to enjoy something sweet without all the calories of sugar. Speaking of desserts, here’s a great one to share with your friends and guests on the Fourth of July, especially since fresh berries are in season.

Many ideas for recipes using SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener have been shared in other blogs on SPLENDA LIVING™. But are you taking advantage of all the less obvious ways you can save a few teaspoons of added sugar in your meals? Let me show you how.

Some places to be aware of added sugars are in salad dressings and sauces. For example, if you enjoy Cucumber–Onion Salad as much as I do (especially when cucumbers are plentiful in my garden), using this recipe can save you calories from added sugar. Another favorite of mine is the Asian-infused dressing on this Layered Chicken Salad that helps make this dish high in flavor. And if you like to put a sweet and tangy glaze on your baked ham, this Rosemary-Mustard Glazed Ham does just that, with less added sugar. Remember, every ½ cup of sugar you omit from a recipe removes nearly 400 calories!

The other part of the menu where I always find sugar that can be replaced with SPLENDA® Sweetener Products is in side dishes. Two of my favorites are this Noodle Kugel, which uses SPLENDA® Sugar Blend with only half the calories of full sugar, and Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, where either SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, 1 Gram of Fiber or SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener can be used. The kugel incorporates several lower fat ingredients as well. Once you’ve tried it I’m sure you won’t want to wait for a special occasion to serve it again!

Another way to eliminate some unwanted sugar from your meals is by using a low-calorie sweetener in your home-made tomato-based sauces. Some commercial sauces rely on sugar or other caloric sweeteners, but you can use SPLENDA® Sweeteners. This Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bowl uses ¼ cup of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated for a pasta sauce that anyone would be proud to serve.

For more ideas on how to make SPLENDA® Sweeteners part of your everyday cooking, visit Splenda® Recipes – and be sure to share your own special creations with me here!

save cash by cutting calories

How Counting Calories is Like Saving Money

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

How much money would you be willing to lose in order to avoid gaining 20 pounds? According to a survey of Consumer Attitudes Towards Food Safety, Nutrition & Health, more than half of Americans (56%) “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed with the statement, “I would rather lose $1,000 than gain 20 pounds.”

Fortunately, there is no one coming to collect this $50 a pound if you happen to gain a few, but there is a way to make a connection to money here. Just think about what it costs to buy larger clothes and pay for a weight loss program if you do gain weight. Now consider the fact that by not gaining weight you can save all that money. And when you include the savings from the improved health you’ll have by not gaining weight, your savings can quickly add up to much more than $1000!

The Dollars and Cents of Counting Calories

An easy way to put this concept to work is to view your Daily Caloric Allowance like a financial payment for a job you are doing. Getting the most out of your calories (or money) is the goal, without exceeding your allotted budget. That means you must shop around for good deals and plan ahead so you can afford what you want while still being able to balance your calorie (or bank) account at the end of the week.

The good news is there are many lower calorie foods and beverages available to help you do just that. Products that are labeled fat-free, low-fat and reduced-fat are almost always lower in calories than their full-fat versions (check the Nutrition Facts to be sure). Those labeled sugar-free are often made with a low-calorie sweetener, such as SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, in place of sugar, and that saves you calories, too.

Just check the Nutrition Facts Label and compare the caloric content and serving size of the foods you buy to similar items in order to see how you can save calories while controlling your weight.

Here’s a couple of excellent sources explaining how to interpret the Nutrition Facts Panel:

Here’s an example of how you can save almost 750 calories in this 2000 calorie menu:

Calories Saved SPLENDALiving(3)

Note: Calorie savings are approximate, based on standard serving sizes and an average of similar products. They are not only the result of the SPLENDA® Sweetener substitution for sugar; other ingredients may provide calorie savings as well.

 

 

Ingredients in low calorie sweeteners are approved by experts.

How Are Low-Calorie Sweetener Ingredients Approved?

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

WHO CAN WE TRUST TO KNOW IF SPLENDA® BRAND SWEETENER IS SAFE?

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA®Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

As a food and nutrition expert, one of the questions I’m asked more than any other is, “How do you know low-calorie sweeteners are safe?” Since I’m a regular user of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products and other low-calorie sweeteners, the answer to that question is as important to me as it is to my family, friends and clients.

SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (also known as the ingredient sucralose) was approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998 based on the data provided in hundreds of studies.

These data were reviewed and evaluated by the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, which provides expert assessment of the available research on a wide range of subjects, such as biology, food science, nutrition and food technology. Their job is to analyze all of the complex scientific studies with the specific goal of determining any impact on public health.

Food regulatory agencies in other countries around the world are also charged with deciding if ingredients, such as those found in low-cal sweeteners, are safe. SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener has been approved in over 80 countries by agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada, National Food Authority of Australia/New Zealand, and the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization.

I’m confident in the decisions reached by these experts not just because they are highly respected in their relative fields – which they are – but because they and their families eat the same foods the rest of us do. To me, it’s like trusting the competence of the pilot once I board a plane. It helps knowing we’re all in this together.

In fact, the more consensus there is in the scientific community, the better I feel, and the more likely I am to incorporate the prevailing professional opinions into my personal life and practice as a registered dietitian.

That’s why I have no doubt about the safety of the SPLENDA® Products I use to sweeten my Earl Grey tea each morning, and other products I enjoy throughout the week made with low-cal sweeteners. The blog posts and website crusades that try to discredit low-cal sweeteners do not sway me. They are based on opinions, not a rigorous review of the data. And a single study that seems to contradict the hundreds of others that support the safety of a sweetener does not change my mind, no matter how loud the media coverage may be.

I will continue to review the emerging research about low-cal sweeteners, but the currently available science tells us they are safe. The experts have given them thumbs up so there’s no debate for me. Low-cal sweeteners are a welcome addition to my balanced diet.

For more information, visit:

 

Fact or Fiction: Is sucralose safe?

Fact vs. Fiction: Sucralose Dangers and Side Effects

This post was written as a guest blog for Splenda Living. You can read the original post here

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

We’ve all been told at one time or another that there’s no such thing as a silly question. If you’re a parent or a teacher you’ve probably even made that remark yourself. Asking for more information when you don’t understand something is the key to learning.

I have to keep this truism in mind whenever I am asked about the safety of low-calorie sweeteners, such as sucralose (the no-calorie sweetener used, for example, in SPLENDA® Sweetener products). That’s because to me, the answer is simple. I know that low-calorie sweeteners are among the most thoroughly tested, and continually tested, ingredients in the food supply, but everyone else doesn’t know this. And based on all of the available research, they are approved in the US by the FDA for people of all ages.

Since I still get questions from people about whether there are any dangers or side effects from using SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose), I decided to answer them here for the benefit of all of my readers – especially those who may have thought it was a silly question to ask.

Does Sucralose Cause Digestive Problems?

Digestive problems such as bloating and gas are often due to undigested material passing through the gut, which is then fermented by the friendly bacteria residing there. This does not happen with sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. Just as sucralose is not fermented by the bacteria in the mouth (so it does not contribute to tooth decay), it is not fermented by the bacteria in the gut either, so it won’t produce gas and bloating.

People who do experience discomfort after eating foods or drinks sweetened with sucralose are advised to check the food label to see if other ingredients might be the cause. Sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol and mannitol (which are not found in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products), can be a trigger if too much is eaten; the same applies to synthetic fibers, such as inulin and chicory root.

What Happens to Sucralose after It Enters Our Bodies?

Sucralose is water soluble and it does not accumulate in the body and is not broken down for energy – so it has no calories. About 85% of the sucralose we consume is excreted in our stool unchanged, while the remaining 15% is passively absorbed then excreted quickly in the urine. It is eliminated rapidly from the body with no tendency for increased plasma concentrations with continued consumption (or use). More on how the body processes sucralose:https://blog.splenda.com/how-splenda-no-calorie-sweetener-can-be-calorie-free.

How is Sucralose Used by the Body?

Sucralose is not metabolized for energy in mammals, so it provides us with no calories. It also is not recognized as a carbohydrate, so does not affect our blood glucose levels or insulin requirements. In studies where high doses were given to people with and without diabetes, it did not affect glucose control both when subjects were fasted or following a meal. And when given repeatedly over time, it did not raise A1C levels (a longer term measure of average blood glucose). The primary effect sucralose has on us is the experience of a sweet taste when we eat or drink something sweetened with it.

Enjoy SPLENDA® Sweeteners as Part of a Balanced Diet

Foods sweetened with sucralose can be a great addition to a balanced healthy diet. If you have a problem after eating or drinking something sweetened with it, it’s important to not jump to conclusions. By taking a look at the entire situation you may realize something else is responsible for the way you feel. Maybe you ate too fast or had too much to eat and drink or didn’t have a well-balanced meal. Making some changes in your usual eating habits may be all that is needed to help you feel better.

When people eat the right variety of foods in the right amounts to meet their nutritional needs, and get enough physical activity to maintain a healthy body weight, they tend to feel great! It all comes down to maintaining a healthy lifestyle so you can look and feel your best. Foods sweetened with sucralose are one tool to help you manage your calories from sugar, which might be an important tool for some of us on the road to better eating.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating again.

For more information:

 

sugar substitutes replace unwanted calories from added sugar

Low Calorie Sweeteners and Weight Loss: There Are No Magic Bullets

This post was written as a guest blog for Splenda Living and published on April 1, 2014. You can read the original blog here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

In my 30+ years as a registered dietitian I can no longer recall the number of times I’ve had to remind a client, “I am a dietitian, not a magician.” That was my way of steering them away from magical thinking about weight loss and helping them focus on the lifestyle changes they needed to make to get the results they wanted, and to maintain them.

The continued popularity of fad diet foods and programs is evidence that this magical thinking about weight loss is still going strong. This concerns me because there are unintended consequences every time another quick fix scheme fails to deliver what it promises. Instead of becoming discouraged, people tend to blame the product or plan that let them down while holding out hope that the next one to come along will do the trick.

Consequently, many healthy foods and ingredients are left on the battlefield in this quest to find an easy way to lose weight. For example, back in the 1990s there was a notion that fat made us fat. Soon everyone believed they could eat whatever they wanted as long as their diet didn’t contain fat. Anyone who knows anything about calories knows that didn’t work, yet fat remains a villain in the minds of many.

We’ve also seen our share of weight loss super foods come and go. Remember the Grapefruit Diet and the Cabbage Soup Diet? It saddens me to think there are people who no longer enjoy eating a sectioned grapefruit because it didn’t melt their fat away when they were eating it by the pound.

In 2013, we saw gluten, low-calorie sweeteners, and raspberry ketones come under the weight loss spotlight. Are there some lessons to be learned here? I think so.

Making Every Calorie Count

Losing weight and keeping it off is not about only eating certain foods and never eating others. It’s about eating foods that you like and can readily get that will provide you with all of the nutrients your body needs while not supplying more calories than you can use. That’s not necessarily an easy order to fill, but there are endless possibilities on how to do it.

The linchpin to the whole concept is our daily caloric allowance. Once we know that number, we have the freedom to choose foods and beverages to meet our nutritional requirements as long as we stay within our caloric allowance. That’s where low-calorie sweeteners, like SPLENDA® Sweetener Products can help.

Every time you use a packet of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener in your oatmeal in place of 2 teaspoons of sugar, you save 28 calories. You can also add SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener to a cup of plain yogurt instead of getting a presweetened one and save even more calories. Want an iced tea with lunch but need to sweeten it a bit? Using a low-calorie sweetener lets you have the sweet taste you prefer, but without all the calories. Each of these options leaves us with more calories in our calorie “budget” for the other foods we’ll be eating to meet our nutritional goals for the day, and that’s a win-win combination.

It helps to know that several major health and medical groups support the use of low-calorie sweeteners as substitutes for sugar when used properly. For example, the American Heart Association has stated that foods and beverages containing low-calorie sweeteners can be included in a healthy diet as long as the calories they save are not replaced by adding more foods to the diet that will take you over your daily limit.

This reinforces something I’ve said many times in my practice: “Low-calorie sweeteners are not a magic bullet.” That means using them in place of sugar will not magically lead to weight loss. You’ve got to make the right food choices and get enough exercise to see results. But the good news is, that works, and low-cal sweeteners can be part of your success.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating again.

For more information, please visit:

International Food Information Council, “Low-Calorie Sweeteners: Their Role in Healthful Eating”
American Heart Association, “Non-Nutritive Sweeteners (Artificial Sweeteners)”