Thursday, October 20, 2005

Silencing the Critics of Splenda

Most of my readers already know my position on artificial sweeteners - avoid using them if you can.

My reasons are pretty simple - the use of artificial sweeteners in place of natural sweeteners never helps you really break the "sweet habit" so many have developed over the years and there is no way around the fact that artificial sweeteners are not natural in our diet - they are chemical compounds one would not find naturally within their diet without technological advances to create them.

That said, my position has remained somewhat flexible to the extent that if one simply cannot find the power within to simply abandon that sweet tooth altogether, then restrict your intake of artificial sweeteners to no more than 3-servings per day to limit your exposure to the chemicals these products are.

Now there are others who feel differently. That's one of the things that makes our lives so interesting - good people often have differing opinions and life is often riddled with grey areas when it comes to who is "right."

On one side of the artificial sweetener debate are those who are strongly opposed to any use; on the other are those who see no harm in using artificial sweeteners, even a high intake on a daily basis. Both sides seem to have evidence to support their position. Those in favor point to research that shows no negative effects, those opposed point to research that shows negative effects.

So what is the lay person to do?

The answer is often to seek out the information for yourself, evaluate it, look at both sides and come to a decision for yourself whether you feel ingesting artificial sweeteners is safe for you or not.

What happens though when one side of the debate is silenced? What if your access to the negative opinions and/or potentially negative health data from research is restricted? Think it can't happen? Think again!

September's Ecologist Online has a chilling article titled "Life After Aspartame" which details the ongoing effort to silence Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO from providing access to his articles about Splenda to any visitor of his website ( from England.

Details in the article include:

  • Recently, the publisher of the local newspaper the Brighton Argus considered it prudent to publish an apology composed by Tate & Lyle (or their lawyers) or face a legal action for defamation and loss of sales after printing an article suggesting that sucralose was harmful to humans.
  • Tate & Lyle's first high-profile victim, however, was - one of the world's most visited internet health sites. Run by Dr Joseph Mercola, the site has been a vocal critic of sucralose for years. Instead of carrying freely available information on sucralose that might stimulate spirited public debate, it now carries the following message: 'Attorneys acting on behalf of the manufacturers of sucralose, Tate & Lyle Plc, based in London, England, have requested that the information contained on this page not be made available to internet users in England.'
The article ends with some pointed questions...

If sucralose is safe beyond any reasonable doubt, why is there such a fervent need to suppress any criticism of it?

...Whom do such tactics really serve?

Do they serve the consumer and the principles of choice, information, safety and redress?

Or do they serve the corporate machine and its need to keep generating profits without taking responsibility for the human cost of doing so?

My question is - how do you feel about supporting a company, by purchasing its products or products containing their ingredient, when you now know what they're doing behind the scenes to censor public access to negative opinions of their product?

1 comment:

  1. I'm fine with them censoring Mercola, because he has a lot of unfounded biased opinions. Even if he's correct from time to time, it's not for the right reasons.

    He doesn't have an open message board or comment section for his articles. This is integral to establish neutrality for readers. Instead, he seems to have the resources to publish a weekly video, but can't figure out how to put up a phpbb? He's afraid of the truth.