Body for LIFE Tracker
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This Month's Scoop: Splend-Aid

The Scoop:

If you're like me, one of your biggest obstacles to sticking with any kind of calorie restricted diet is beverages. I have been known on occasion to consume more calories in soda than in food -- and then I wonder why I need to lose some weight!

Cutting out caloried beverages is one of the simplest and easiest ways to start losing weight immediately, and if the caloried beverages you're cutting out are sugar-based (Sweet Tea, sodas, etc) then you're gaining a great health advantage as well by lowering your long term risk of developing Diabetes or (like me) getting a blood report showing elevated Trigylcerides -- an early warning of future Diabetes or and insulin resistance.

Unfortunately, if you're also like me, you can't stand most non-caloried drinks and can't stand the aftertaste from Nutrasweet & Aspartame based diet drinks. Overconsumption of nutrasweet and aspartame may also have long term health consequences as well, although that subject is still being debated.

Luckily for all of us looking to change our evil sugar drinking ways there's a new form of Sugar called Splenda. Most of the new low-carb products coming out use Splenda to help naturally sweeten their products without adding those pesky empty sugar carbohydrates.

I have personally managed to kick my soda habits thanks to Splenda-Aid, although I'll admit I occasionally enjoy a Dr. Pepper occasionally when I'm out or for a reward. A thought occured to me when consuming my Splenda-Aid that perhaps Splenda is not a zero calorie sweetener. It is a little known fact that food manufacturers are able to make certain stipulations regarding 'zero' or 'less than 1g' in their nutritional labels. I emailed the makers of Splenda to find out what the actual calorie content of Splenda is in larger amounts and got a pretty quick reply. Here it is:

"The caloric and carbohydrate content for SPLENDA(R) Brand Sweetener is as follows:

SPLENDA(R) Granular
1 tsp = 0.5 gm carb = 2 calories
one half cup = 12 gm carb = 48 calories
1 cup = 24 gm carb = 96 calories

*1 tsp. = 1 serving

Packet of SPLENDA(R)
1 packet = .9 gm of carb = 4 calories

*1 packet has the sweetness of 2 tsp of sugar

Note: Per U.S. labeling laws, anything with less than 5 calories per serving, is properly labeled as "zero" or no-calorie.

The caloric and carbohydrate content for sugar is as follows:

Sugar
1 tsp = 4 gm of carb= 16 calories
one half cup = 96 gm of carb= 385 calories
1 cup = 192 gm of carb = 770 calories

Note: The calories and carbohydrates in SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener come from dextrose and/or maltodextrin, which are added for bulk. Sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA(R) Brand Sweetener, has no calories and is not a carbohydrate.

Granular - sucralose, maltodextrin (0.5 gram per serving) Packets - sucralose, maltodextrin and dextrose (less than 1 gram per packet)

SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener (sucralose) has no known side effects. Sucralose can be used by everyone; including people with diabetes, pregnant and nursing mothers, and children. The safety of SPLENDA(R) Brand Sweetener has been demonstrated as part of our clearance process with the FDA as well as other regulatory agencies around the world. There are no warning labels on the product to exclude anyone from enjoying SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener."

If I were to make the same Kool-Aid using normal sugar, it would contain 2,310 calories. I can take down a pitcher of Kool-Aid in a day. This is BAD! A pitcher of Splend-Aid (1 gallon) contains 288 calories. This is GOOD! It is definitely an issue to consider, especially for women, that even though Splenda is very low in calories, it does have some. For example if you're trying to keep under 1500 calories per day, 288 is a lot of those calories! I usually only drink about a pitcher every 2 days though and I have family help sometimes so unless you go overboard, you should be ok with Splend-Aid.

I have not found it to cause any excess cravings and it is definitely part of what has helped me lose an additional 10 lbs or so solely through diet. I can't wait to find out what my next blood lab results are as well since I am eating a relatively low sugar and well balanced diet these days. Thank you Splenda!

The downside of Splenda is that it is more expensive than sugar. Our local Wal-Marts carry large bags which is how I recommend purchasing it as it is most cost effective. They have a smaller box that is available in most grocery stores in the sweetener section. They have boxes containing packets as well, but I do not recommend these unless you like to mix drinks individually. I do find the packets of splenda are GREAT for sweetening cereals. I like Grape Nuts with 2 packets of Splenda on top. The Splenda combines with the milk in a very sweet and interesting flavor. All in all, it's less expensive than buying sodas or other sugar containing foods/drinks and much healthier! Hopefully as more people begin to use Splenda the cost will come down as well.

Now if they would only come out with a diet Dr. Pepper that used Splenda instead of Nutrasweet. Diet Rite and RC Cola so far are the only drink manufacturers to adopt splenda for their sodas so far. Let's hope more do in the future. I personally wrote the makers of Dr. Pepper to recommend they do this but got a form letter back. Perhaps if enough of us contact the makers of our favorite beverages demanding Splenda versions eventually they will respond. Until then, I'll have my Splend-Aid and I hope it helps some of you too! My personal favorite flavor is Cherry.

If you haven't tried Splenda as a replacement sweetener you really should. It does not have the aftertaste of nutrasweet/aspartame. It will not work as a replacement in all situations, but it will in most.

Recipe:

What You'll Need

  • 1 gallon pitcher
  • 2-3 packets of non-sweetened Kool-Aid or other similar non-sweetened drink flavoring
  • 2-3 cups Splenda
  • Fresh Water

Directions

  • 2 packets and cups of Splenda are the 'recommended' amount, but I like mine better with 3 packets and 3 cups per gallon. It's a matter of personal preference.
  • Put the three cups of Splenda and Kool-Aid or other sweetener into the pitcher.
  • Fill pitcher half to two-thirds of the way with water, attempting to soak the Splenda/flavoring as you fill the pitcher.
  • Stir thoroughly - some Splenda 'flakes' may remain since the pitcher is not full -- ignore these.
  • Finish filling the pitcher up to 2-3" inches below the top of the pitcher and stir again.
  • Enjoy a VERY LOW CALORIE beverage with no bad aftertaste or potentially hazardous substances.

Nutritional Info: Calories - 288 per gallon for 3 cups splenda, 192 per gallon for 2 cups.

By comparison, a 12 oz can of soda generally contains about 160 calories and a 20 oz bottle 250 calories.