Nutrition, Part 1

Two posts from Jazz In Pieces have me wondering about my sugar consumption. Here’s the problem:

I don’t consume sugar.

SplendaWell, I do but not in drinks really. I’m addicted to Splenda.

I’m attracted to Splenda because of all the purported benefits:

  • accepted by several national and international food safety regulatory bodies
  • the only artificial sweetener ranked as “safe” by the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.
  • one can consume 15 mg/kg/day … “on a daily basis over a … lifetime without any adverse effects”.
  • usually contains 95% dextrose, which the body readily metabolizes.
  • safe to ingest as a diabetic sugar substitute

But it’s still considered an artificial sweetener, which means that it’s not “natural” or “unrefined.”

Is unrefined sugar really better? I’m not sure. My mother uses brown sugar because “it’s healthier for you” but after doing a bit of reading, brown sugar can be refined as well. But “natural brown sugar” exists and I wonder if my mother is on to something.

The reason I’m so concerned about refined sugar and artificial sweeteners doesn’t really have so much to do with my mental health as it does to do with my weight. But depending on my weight (namely gain), it affects my mental health so I suppose the two go hand-in-hand.

I’m beginning to watch what I ingest. I do drink coffee (perhaps too much now that I don’t have a full-time job) but have gone from 1% to skim milk. I don’t think coffee has any calories and I use less than 1/4 cup of milk in my coffee — significantly less than the 90-cal 8-oz serving size. I usually also drink about 1/2 to 3/4 of my coffee, no matter what size. Theoretically, I’m not drinking a full 16-oz cup of coffee unless I have about two cups, which these days, usually happens.

For the past two years, I haven’t had regular or diet soda. I’ve cut out Snapple and Arizona Iced Teas. I can’t even drink Crystal Light lemonade on-the-go packets anymore because they’re too sweet for me. Here’s the paradox, however: I use 5 packets of Splenda in a 16-oz coffee cup. Splenda is 600 times sweeter than regular sugar.

Here are the items I drink:

  • water
  • coffee with skim milk and splenda
  • diet lemonade from only Chick-Fil-A occasionally
  • hot tea with splenda (honey and lemon when I’m sick)
  • apple or orange juice (low acid) rarely
  • amaretto sour or piña colada (light on the rum) rarely

I don’t really deviate from that. Hence, I like to think I’m doing OK on the liquids front but, as many studies have pointed out, I’m likely compensating for the low calories here in my food diet.

2 Comments

  1. Prester John said,

    May 21, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    I love bragging about losing pounds in the last year and 40 over the last two years. I did cut way back on the calories. But I was eating enough for somebody in their early-20s and five or six inches taller than me. When I got my caloric intake inline (and I’m sure you know it’s really always about calories ingested vs. those burned) and my exercise ramped up the pounds stated coming off. Not fast. One or two, sometimes three pounds a week. Sometimes I’d even gain a couple but I didn’t sweat it. Just cut out few things like sweet tea and mayonnaise and anythingn with high-fructose corn syrup in it and I was good to go down.

  2. Stephany said,

    May 22, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Splenda is a chemically altered “sugar”, and like nutrasweet, can cause increased cravings for sugar and weight gain! Do a little digging on the Net and you’ll be surprised.
    Also, re: carbs..you’ll lose weight if you don’t combine them in the same meal with protein.
    I do believe the meds mess up metabolism, and cause weight gain,(or inability to lose) somehow, not sure how.


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