If you're like me, you drink a lot of zero-calorie and low-calorie beverages that tend to have artificial sweeteners in them. My preference is always towards those that use sucralose (also marketed as Splenda) because it is generally considered safe.
In case you were wondering, aspartame was recently identified in some studies from Italy as possibly increasing the risk of leukemia, lymphoma and breast cancer (CSPI's Nutrition Action cover story Chemical Cuisine: A Guide To Food Additives, May 2008). The problem is that it's getting harder and harder to find sucralose without another chemical paired with it known as Acesulfame Potassium (a.k.a Ace-K).
So what's the big deal about Acesulfame Potassium? It's been "poorly tested" and those tests from the 1970's showed that it may cause cancer, yet the FDA has refused to require more and better testing according to The Center For Science In The Public Interest, publishers of the excellent non-advertiser supported Nutrition Action's May 2008 issue, and when these guys say something is questionable, as an independent, not-for-profit organization, it gets my attention.
For awhile I tried to tell myself, it's okay if at times I drink something with Acesulfame in it, but when I took a good look at what I was drinking, I realized I was subjecting myself to the chemical a lot more than I thought. So out went the Powerade Zero I was drinking almost daily, all those powdered "flavor on the go" sticks for my bottled water, Lipton Diet Citrus green tea and so on.
At first it was really tough to find low-calorie drinks without aspartame, and with only sucralose without it's unwanted tag along buddy Ace-K, but ultimately I succeeded. I swapped out Glaceau's Smart Water for the Powerade Zero when I work out, and either stick with my home-brewed green tea/herbal tea mix where I add my own Splenda, or drink Snapple's diet Oolong tea or peach green tea which only has sucralose flying solo.
And by the way, watch other food items that are prone to having sucralose paired with acesulfame potassium such as gum, diet soda, desserts and baked goods.
Like in most cases, the way to let the food manufacturers know that you want your zero-calorie and low-calorie drinks with sucralose, is to simply vote with your wallet, just like I did. If enough of us do it, they'll get the message. Let's just hope that sucralose doesn't give us any surprises down the line, because they used to say that aspartame was safe too.
And now I'd like to invite you to get a copy of Have Your Cheeseburger And Keep Your Health Too! and get an invitation to a book customer-only private Q&A Teleseminar to get all your healthy eating and fitness questions answered personally by me live! Simply e-mail me a copy of your receipt using the e-mail address in the book, and you'll be invited to the next event! Go grab your copy today, and get one for a friend or loved one while you're at it who should be eating favorite comfort foods without sacrificing!
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Please note that I do not have an affiliation with any of the companies featured in this post--they are simply products I am personally familiar with. The views expressed are my opinion only and you should decide, along with your healthcare professionals, on the appropriateness for your personal use.
If you are looking for a drink flavoring that tastes sweet and is still low calorie without any artificials of any kind, there is a new product on the market calleld Flavrz Drink Mix. It's a liquid concentrate made from fruits and botanicals and it is sweetened maily with Agave. It has only 30 calories a serving and its sold in little to-go pouches that flavor 12-20 ounces of water.