Stevia vs. Splenda: which is better?
It's the war of the sweeteners and sugar has been shunned as the kid no one wants to play with. Right now the two main players in this fight are Stevia and Splenda. They both claim health benefits and they both claim to be best thing that ever happened to humanity. But, what's really behind the claims and the pretty packaging? Let's find out...
Splenda came with high hopes and as game changer. Diabetics now could eat sugar and bake goodies that wouldn't be bad for them. Splenda became famous almost instantly. But what really is inside Splenda?
What is Splenda?
Splenda is half real and half synthetic. It is 600 times sweeter than sugar and 3 times sweeter than aspartame. Because it is so sweet, it cannot be sold by itself. Rather, splenda is mixed with maltodextrin and then sold. In a packet of splenda, you will find more maltodextrin than actual splenda.
Which sweetener is more popular?
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The bad side of Splenda
Splenda's chemical name is sucralose. It is chemically similar to sugar, with one huge exception: Splenda has 3 chlorine atoms. I don't about you, but chlorine is not something that I like to include in my diet. Last I checked it was really toxic.
- Splenda has 3 chlorine atoms in its chemical makeup, which can be absorbed by your body and result in some health problems.
- Stevia is a great sweetener is used in its natural form. Stevia extract has been stripped of its natural properties and there isn't enough research to know that long term effects could be.
The ugly side of Splenda
Splenda was supposed to be a good product for many reasons, one of them being that it contained no calories. In theory, because splenda cannot metabolized by the body, it was said that it was non-caloric. But is that completely true?
Turns out our body absorbs about 25% of all the toxic chlorine atoms that make their way into our body. If you consume splenda on a regular basis, those chlorine atoms are flowing into your body like ants to sugar. And the worst part is that 25% of it is being absorbed. Once absorbed, these chlorine atoms can destroy good intestinal bacteria (probiotics) which help the body absorb vitamins and nutrients. So, in fewer words, Splenda = toxic = bad for you.
Other ways in which Splenda could affect your body is by increasing the intestines pH levels which leads to gas, unstable metabolism and serious damage to the colon and the instestinal epithelium.
It can also kill your tastebuds. So far splenda doesn't paint a pretty picture. Let's move on to the other constestant...
Stevia is a plant. A very sweet plant that grows in South America. It's a plant that you could have in your own garden if you're able to find one to plant. Hereis a more detailed description of Stevia, along with its benefits and uses. But in general stevia:
- Does not affect insulin levels
- Reduces bad cholesterol
- It's known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties
- It's a diuretic.
But click here for a more detailed hub on stevia.
Stevia's scientific name is Stevia Rebaudiana and it's made up of a lot things, such as flavonoids and glycosides. But the commercial industry doesn't care about flavonoids. It cares about glycosides which are the sweet compounds that they can sell. And this is where the problem starts.
The problem with Stevia
Stevia would be your perfect sweetener if you used it in its natural form, such as sweetening your food with stevia tea or with its dried leaves.
But most of us take the easy (and most popular) way out and go buy the extract. The problem with the extract is that it has already been chemically processed and stripped of most of its properties.
The good part is that even if Stevia extract does not have all of the Stevia plant properties, at least is not damaging to your body. No chlorine atoms here.
Of course, stevia extract is relatively new so a lot more research would need to be conducted as for the long term effects that stevia could have. For example, some lab studies done on stevia extract indicate that it could have some carcinogenic effects if used long term.
Stevia vs. Splenda: who wins?
So far, stevia is the winner, but maybe further research will reveal a new, healthier player in this war of the sweeteners. You may want to stick with plain, ol' sugar in moderate quantities, but that's just my opinion.
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