Like many millions of other people, I buy and use Splenda "no calorie" sweetener. In my case, I buy it in granulated form, to sprinkle on my oatmeal in the morning. You have probably seen these bags in the sugar aisle at your local grocery store:
The product presents itself very clearly in the labeling as a "no calorie sweetener." The fact that it comes in large bags lends itself to the idea that you can just consume it with reckless abandon. Want to make your cereal sweeter? Pour some on! After all, it has no calories, right?
A little research has led me to the truth: Splenda is *not* a "no calorie sweetener." Let's examine the facts, shall we?
According to the Splenda website, 1 teaspoon of granulated Splenda has 0 calories. That's the first lie. A teaspoon of Splenda actually has 2 calories in it. However, the US Government labeling laws state that anything less than 5 calories per serving can actually be marketed as being calorie-free.
But come on. Does anyone really use just 1 teaspoon? Is that a realistic serving? Doubtful. From there, let's do the math: there are 48 teaspoons in a cup. That means one cup of Splenda has 96 calories in it.
96 calories in one cup of Splenda is much less than the 774 calories that is in 1 cup of regular sugar. However, what if you used 2 cups of Splenda thinking it is a "no calorie sweetener" 192 calories is a lot different than zero, isn't it?
So what's the solution?
The US Government should immediately revise its labeling laws to eliminate zero calorie claims. Everything has *some* calories. I will continue to use Splenda, but people shouldn't be misled into thinking it is something it is not. If I am consuming 1/4 cup of Splenda, I need to write down 24 calories in my food journal and account for it, not pretend I didn't eat any calories.
By the way, this reminds me an awful lot of the "fat-free" scam. Think your can of "fat-free" cooking spray is really fat-free? Sorry, it isn't. It's pure fat. However, because the serving size is "1/3 of a second of spray," the serving size is less than a 1/2 a gram of fat and thus qualifies under the US Government rules to be labeled "fat-free." Really. Another lie.
The bottom line: there are only two things in this world that don't have any calories: water and air.
Bryan Ganey is a motivational speaker and author of "Impossible: How I Lost Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.