I’m Sweet on Splenda

One of my problems with dieting has to do with the lack of sweetness. Sugar is the mortal enemy of any dieter – and sugar is our major source of sweet. That much is obvious.

In my pre-dietetic days I put sugar in my coffee, and while at Dunkin’ Donuts, let them do it for me. Letting the counter person at Dunkin’ Donuts dole out the sugar is defacto cheating, because they put more sugar than any conscientious person would ever put in his own drink.

Over time I have started drinking coffee without sugar. It’s not the same. In fact, it’s pretty awful (which by itself probably establishes my coffee addiction).

I had been introduced to artificial sweeteners but had never used them. Sure I had tried a few times, but the results were always the same. Either it wasn’t good tasting to begin with, or was good tasting until an awful aftertaste kicked in.

For years my mom has said&#185, “It tastes exactly the same,” for any artificially sweetened product she happened to be serving. She meant well, but no one was buying that. There is Coke and Diet Coke because Diet Coke sucks compared to Coke… my mother not withstanding.

This vicious cycle has gone on until recently when I discovered Splenda. Splenda is “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar,” though the company that makes the artificial sweetener Equal filed a false advertising lawsuit claiming Splenda, isn’t really made from sugar, as its packaging claims.

Thanks. I’m thrilled. You can actually read the chemistry within in the photo of the package in the upper left corner.

Splenda comes from McNeil Nutritionals, a unit of Johnson & Johnson. So, we’ve got a company without the word food in its name, actually owned by a drug company, ‘sweet’ talking me!

It doesn’t make any difference. I really like this stuff.

From a taste standpoint it has none of the downside of the more traditional artificial sweeteners. From a diet standpoint, it isn’t sugar. It’s very good – not exactly sugar, but good.

Coffee with Splenda has a somewhat smoother taste than sugared coffee, more reminiscent of hot chocolate.

Now that I’m using Splenda I’m surprised to find it’s not universally available. In fact, it might become more scarce with time. At a local diner last night, the waitress told us they didn’t have it because it moved too slowly. That was in direct contradiction with a friend in town who says it’s twice as expensive as the other artificials and if he left it on the tables it would walk out of the restaurant in customer’s pockets. At his place it is only available on request.

On Friday a news story came out saying increased use of Splenda is taxing the factory (chemical plant?) where it’s made. Planned increases in use might have to be shelved, at least temporarily.

At least for me I can now scratch this sweetness itch without the guilt, and gut, that sugar brings. But, for the time being, I will carry some packets in my car… or maybe stuffed in my wallet.

&#185 – As I get older I know I’m going to end up following in my parent’s footsteps. Still, it’s a shame to watch them substitute ‘produced stuff’ for the real, tasty food they used to eat – back when we were all dumb and happy.