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Old 02-01-2005, 09:56 PM   #1  
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Default Splenda Lawsuit

Lawsuits Over Splenda Marketing Campaign

By Sophie Walker
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson is facing a raft of lawsuits over a marketing campaign related to its artificial sweetener Splenda, which accuse the company of misleading buyers to believe Splenda is a natural product.

Splenda, which has enjoyed rapid sales growth on the back of a boom in low-carbohydrate eating in the last couple of years, is marketed by J&J's McNeil Nutritionals Worldwide division with the line: "Splenda No Calorie Sweetener is made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar."

But the Sugar Association says the marketing pitch does not accurately reflect the end product and is misleading because it gives the impression that Splenda contains natural sugar.

McNeil faces three class-action suits from individuals, one from the Sugar Association and one from Merisant Worldwide Inc, the maker of rival low-calorie sweetener products including Equal and Canderel.

"Johnson & Johnson is misinforming consumers about the reality of the chlorinated product Splenda," said James Murphy, counsel for the Sugar Association, whose lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, a nationwide injunction and corrective advertising.

"We feel the public needs to be aware that Splenda is an artificial chemical sweetener. Splenda is created with chlorine, and the final product does not have sugar in it," he said.

Splenda's Web Site (www.splenda.com) says the product is made "through a patented process that starts with sugar and converts it to a no calorie, noncarbohydrate sweetener. The process selectively replaces three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms."

A spokeswoman for McNeil Nutritional told Reuters that the lawsuits had no merit.

"Consumers are utilizing no-calorie sweeteners versus other sweeteners like sugar, and you would have to draw your own conclusions about why now these efforts are being launched." said Monica Neufang, director of communications for McNeil,

"We have never represented Splenda as being natural," she said.

Splenda has just over 50 percent of the U.S. market for low calorie sweeteners, based on dollar volume, according to data collected by IRI and made available to Reuters by McNeil.

It is used in products which include Kool-Aid Jammers 10 tropical Punch drink, produced by Kraft Foods .

"Obviously, any organization that represents the sugar growers of the world would like to have people know what they are buying when they are buying a sweetener," said Dan Collister, attorney at Squire, Sanders and Dempsey, acting for the Sugar Association.

Separately, the Texas Consumer Association said on Monday it had asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Splenda marketing campaign.

"With consumers across the country concerned about their health and trying to eat more natural foods, it is alarming that McNeil is engaged in an underhanded campaign to confuse consumers into believing Splenda is natural," commented Sandra Haverlah, president of the Texas Consumer Association.

Haverlah said she was working with the Consumer Federation Network and was not associated with the groups bringing suits against Splenda.

No one from Merisant was available for comment.
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Old 02-05-2005, 12:53 PM   #2  
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We feel the public needs to be aware that Splenda is an artificial chemical sweetener. Splenda is created with chlorine, and the final product does not have sugar in it," he said.


The thing that bothers me with any artifical sweetner is the ads with children eating it. That worry's me alot. IMHO unless your child has some medical problem where he/she can not eat sugar, I would keep them away from any of them.

Us adults just have to learn moderation when taking in this stuff. I for one LOVE diet soda's but I try to drink them sparingly (try that is ).
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Old 02-05-2005, 09:36 PM   #3  
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yea I'm hearing and reading this stuff about splenda too. ya know I felt so much better using splenda over the pink or blue stuff, because I believed the ads and thought since it was made from sugar that it was natural. *sigh* when will I have ever learn!

Also, Michelle and I, both have a thyroid problem and chlorinated products are probably not that great for our thyroids.

guess I'm gonna have to use the splenda even more sparingly then I already do. *sigh*


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Old 02-05-2005, 11:42 PM   #4  
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While I do understand that the public needs to be aware, I think for some reason the "consumer watchdogs" feel the need to cause more panic than they do to help inform....of course, you dont want to be eating the stuff by the handfuls, but the tests they do usually consists of testing it in a comparable quantity that a normal human would NEVER use....I think if you feed a lab rat big enough quantities of anything they will have an adverse reaction....I take these kind of things with a grain of salt- of course if I had a serious medical condition I would be even more cautious but if I ran from everything the watchdogs said "might" be harmful, I think I'd have to go back to a pioneering life style...and even then Im sure I'd hear something scary....
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Old 02-06-2005, 07:05 AM   #5  
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I agree Marie, when research tests on rats, they do give them big doses of the product, but they have to see the worst case senerio and its effects. If people drink one diet soda a day, its probably harmless, but if you have artifical sweetners in your coffee, your afternoon tea and your diet soda w/dinner, sugarfree gum, candies (guilty) I would think that, that is the person they are aiming these beware warnings at (people just like ME, I do consume alot).

But I think in this article what they are trying to say is that they are misleading the public into thinking it is a "natural alternative" to "natural sugar." I see ad's with splenda and kids eating the stuff, to me when I see a child doing something I would automatically think hmmmmmmm this must be safe if they are allowing kids to consume it. When in fact its not.

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Old 02-06-2005, 08:25 AM   #6  
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I resonate strongly with the quote in the article: That consumers "...have to draw your own conclusions about why now these efforts are being launched..." It seems clear to me that some folks have vested interests in attacking Splenda. Complaining that the company has represented the product in a manner that is has not (i.e., "natural") is a strong signal to me that there is no merit to the complaint -- especially since there are far, far stronger bases on which to attack Splenda, but bases far less likely to mislead the public into thinking that the company has done anything wrong. It's like an interviewer attacking an aspiring politician with the inquiry, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"
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Old 02-06-2005, 03:40 PM   #7  
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Just an example of the media and advertising industry using rhetoric & fallacy, they can make anything sound horrible, it's all in the wording.
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Old 02-10-2005, 03:18 PM   #8  
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i think it's kind of strange and wrong that they are getting away with misleading the public.
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Old 05-19-2005, 01:53 PM   #9  
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Default Got off artificial sweeteners--here to TESTIFY!

Hi, all--I have been a longtime lurker, sometime poster on this board, and I continue to work on making my diet & life healthy. I just wanted to share with you, particularly those of you who consume a lot of artificial sweeteners like Equal and Splenda, a major eating breakthrough that I have recently had.

I lost 50 pounds over the course of a year about 3.5 years ago. I have really struggled with keeping it off, and within about 18 months of first achieving my goal, had regained 10 pounds that I needed and then 15 pounds that I didn't. I still have those 15 and am always trying to address them. I have a MONSTER sweet tooth, and one of my weight-control strategies (not the best one, as it turned out) was to consume lots and lots of artificially sweetened things. I could easily drink a six-pack of Diet Coke a day--basically chain-drank them, popping another one as soon as I drained the first--and I always had a bowl of sugar-free Jello in the fridge. Regularly, I had diet hot cocoa, plain FF yogurt with Splenda, hot tea and skim milk lattes with sugar-free Torani syrups. I read in the South Beach book, etc., that you are supposed to LIMIT sweetener to just a bit, but I figured that as long as something was zero calories, it didn't really matter, and the benefit of having a treat to satisfy my sweet tooth outweighed the risk of disobeying the instructions.

Last month I read in an article somewhere that some people can experience blood sugar spikes and crashes even from zero-calorie sweeteners--that just the TASTE of sweetness is enough to set off a psycho-somatic reaction in your blood chemistry. Your body expects to get sugar from the taste of a Diet Coke, and when it doesn't get it, you feel hungry again. Combined with my slight anxiety about the health risks of eating so many chemicals, this helped me to decide to experiment with giving up artificial sweetener.

Well, it's been about three weeks, and I am really thrilled with the results. I used to be hungry constantly--would get hungry again 20 minutes after a meal, even when I felt full immediately after eating, and thought about food and snacks literally all the time between meals. Now, though, my sense of satisfaction lasts for 2-4 hours after a meal, and I only get hungry when my stomach is empty--when I actually need more food. I used to think I was always experiencing "emotional hunger" and craving food for comfort--although that may still be true to some extent, I think that it was to a large degree a "brain hunger," an effect of the fake low-blood-sugar feeling created by Diet Coke. That actually makes me feel better--it wasn't my fault that I wanted to eat all the time.

I have tried various things--if I drink a diet soda with a meal, rather than on its own, is the effect not as noticeable? How does Splenda compare to Equal? How does diet soda compare to a sweetened thing I've made myself by adding Splenda? I've found that commercial products with either Splenda or Equal, such as soda or Jello, whether alone or with a meal, make me hungry soon after, but the effect is much less with a plain whole food that I myself add a LITTLE bit of Splenda to--the half a packet that I put in my morning hot tea seems to be OK, although a snack of cottage cheese plus a whole packet of Splenda did seem to set off the munchies.

Meanwhile, I feel like I'm healthily re-calibrating my sense of sweetness--plain lowfat yogurt now tastes sweet enough to me to eat by itself.

Basically, I'm really happy with this, I haven't been tempted to drink diet soda at all, and I get much more done in my day because I'm not distracted by nagging feelings of hunger.

So, I hope most of you aren't as bad sweetener addicts as I was, but I wanted to encourage anyone who was thinking of cutting out diet soda, and/or decreasing the use of sweetener in foods you prepare, to go for it.
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Old 05-19-2005, 04:09 PM   #10  
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Belly Dancer -

Interesting post! Though South Beach and the WOE/WOL seems very simple to some people, to others it can be very confusing. The world market doesnít help this situation at all. Eating whole foods is a VERY important aspect of the SBWOL.

I was reading a Low Carb magazine in the grocery line a few days back and the number one reason people didnít lose with Low Carb diets was because they ate anything and everything ďLow CarbĒ. Low Carb Bagels, Low Carb Bread, etc. Diet chock full of processed foods donít help at all.

As Beachgal stated, diet soda and crystal light have to be processed to get the water out of them. They donít do anything for you nutrionally and really should be taken in moderation.

While on Atkins I strayed from all diet soda because at the time, everything contained aspartame, which is forbidden on Atkins. I felt great, but it didnít last long for me.

Iím no longer a chain diet soda drinker as I once was, but I still enjoy Splenda and dessert at night. I keep it to one-two diet sodas a day.

Thanks for the testimony!
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Old 05-19-2005, 04:15 PM   #11  
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Belly Dancer, that's really inspiring! I can't say that I want to give up all of my artificial sweetener use right now, but I'm definitely going to pay more attention to it. I definitely have found that malitol affects me just as you describe. I immediately feel my blood sugar drop to the point where I am dizzy and feel faint within minutes of consuming one bite of something with it. I have to avoid it, which means I can't eat most frankenfood...especially things that are chocolate flavored. That's probably a blessing in disguise!

Thanks, and congratulation on finding such a great part of your path to health!
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Old 05-19-2005, 04:35 PM   #12  
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Oh yes, I have to be careful also!!! I notice if I eat too much of the sweeteners then it will trigger my cravings BIG TIME!!!

I love my Diet Rite cola and will still enjoy one w/ dinner, but as far as the lovely sounding desserts on the plan, I'm steering clear
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Old 05-19-2005, 06:00 PM   #13  
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Smile Thanks for reading my long post :)--also ideas for cold drinks

Thanks for wading through my long story!

Beachgal, I can't eat anything with sugar alcohol either (for, um, digestive reasons ), which has been paradoxically really good for me in terms of avoiding temptation, since practically all sugar-free ice cream, baked goods, candy, and chocolate-covered protein bars have maltitol, sorbitol, etc.

In the same article that talked about sweeteners and blood chemistry, it also mentioned that the theory that sugar alcohols are not metabolized is actually very controversial and may not be true. So by avoiding maltitol, etc., you are probably avoiding actual, hidden calories and carbs.

Some of my substitutes for diet soda have been:

--"lemonade": jug of water with a whole lemon or lime cut up in it, left to steep in fridge for a while; take out big pieces but leave any shreds of pulp in the water. You can also add sliced fresh ginger, or bruised mint leaves, or (with limes) a SMALL splash (like 1/2oz in a 32oz jug) of pure, unsweetened cranberry juice.

--fruit-flavored iced tea: I especially like Celestial Seasonings' blueberry green tea and Moroccan pomegranate red tea; also Bigelow makes a caramel-flavored black tea. 3-4 teabags in a 32oz jar of boiling water. These have "natural flavorings," but no sweetener, yet they taste a bit sweet, particularly if you are careful not to steep them too long (more than a few minutes steeping makes tea bitter).

--flavored seltzer: there are lots of flavors that have no sweetener. Helps with missing the fizziness of soda, and more interesting than water.
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Old 05-19-2005, 06:01 PM   #14  
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For the past few days, while not officially back on the Beach, I've been consuming water only all day. Not on purpose mind you, just don't have the cash to grab a soda right now

I must say that after reading this post, it *is* true -- I feel fuller after meals.

For instance, I had breakfast today (eggs and turkey bacon) and a cup of java with one equal (rather than a diet soda), 32 oz of water, a salad with beans and peppers and egg and tuna with vinegar with 32 oz of water (instead of another soda) and tonite who knows what's for dinner but better be sure I'll be drinking water or seltzer with it!!!

All day I haven't felt the urge to snack. Interesting...makes me think so THANKS!
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Old 05-19-2005, 07:29 PM   #15  
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Bellydancer, I am a huge diet coke drinker, I had gave it totally given it up for about a 1 1/2 months and was starting to feel great and then fell off the wagon. I have been drinking it steadily for since grade 10. I gave it up before when I was in grade 12 and both times I have given it up and found that my belly was flatter. I am a huge drinker. but for some reason not water I really don't enjoy it. But I am very obsessive about what I drink. If I start the day off with tea then I can drink 2 to 3 pots easily. I just wish I could do water that way. Thanks for the info it has inspired me to try to give it up again.
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