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A Cranky Crab Confesses: Yes, I Use Splenda!

A Letter from Crabby McSlacker

Crabby McSlacker, who hosts Cranky Fitness [1], is a great admirer of Mark’s Daily Apple. There is so much nutritional information, so much sensible advice, so much to learn here! And she finds herself strangely drawn to the Fuming Fuji [2], who seems so adorable even when raging, raving, and ranting [2].

And yet, as much as she admires this site and all its bright and engaged and healthy readers… Crabby admits that she is sometimes afraid to visit. She arrives and leaves again shaking her head, muttering to herself in amazement.

Who are these people? They seem so happy to eat nothing but salads and healthy proteins! They drink their glasses of ice water or sip from their cups of unsweetened green tea and never seem to miss their Cokes, diet or otherwise, let alone their milkshakes or their margaritas! And where, oh where, are the cupcakes?

While Crabby is in complete agreement that the average American diet is unhealthy and toxic; that people eat way too many refined and processed and artificial food; and that generally, “natural” is better; she still can’t believe that you folks can eliminate all that stuff and claim to be completely happy about it!

Perhaps you are a special subspecies of Human.

Crabby eats healthy like you folks about 90% of the time. Most people she knows find this very annoying and consider her a “health freak” because of it. But 10% of the time she eats Complete Crap! She loves cupcakes and ice-cream and beer-battered onion rings and juicy, grease-dripping cheeseburgers. She can also happily enjoy fakey low-fat ice creams and Splenda-sweetened cookies and preservative-packed low calorie whole wheat breads and a whole host of “compromise” products.

How can she possibly justify this?

Here are two main philosophical differences she detects between Cranky Crabs and Green Apples, and she wonders if this is part of the reason for their varied eating habits. Because Crabby believes:

Life Is Too Short Not To Be Sweet!

Sure, fresh ripe berries are sweet. But they’re not sweet like hot fudge sundaes. And as much as Crabby loves fresh fruit and sautéed vegetables and crunchy almonds and grilled prawns, she thinks a warm plate of Toll House cookies with a cold glass of milk on the side tastes about a hundred times better. (And yes, she knows you do allow yourselves your meager little squares of very bitter dark chocolate that’s 98% cocoa or whatever. That’s fine but it’s not a proper substitute for a Toll House Cookie).

Here’s the thing: Crabby doesn’t even want to become someone who no longer enjoys Toll House Cookies! She doesn’t eat them often – but she derives such a profound pleasure from them they would have to kill her right there on the spot before she would think of giving them up for good. And she feels that way about a bunch of other treats that many of you folks claim you no longer even enjoy.

The additional time Crabby might hypothetically add to her lifespan by becoming a person who never eats a Krispy Kreme donut, as opposed to someone who occasionally eats a Krispy Kreme donut? Be her guest – you can have it.

So here is the second philosophical difference we have. Crabby believes:

“Natural” Is Often, But not Always, Healthier.

For one thing, Crabby thinks it is perfectly natural to crave sugar and bad fat. Cavemen and Cavewomen would have been thrilled to find a Dairy Queen or a McDonald’s out in the woods! They needed as many calories as they could get back then, and Crabby believes we have evolved accordingly to crave and appreciate highly caloric foods.

However, as we all agree, that craving doesn’t suit our lifestyles any longer. Too much saturated fat and trans fat and sugar and refined grains will do all kinds of terrible things to our bodies over time.

So, unless Crabby is willing to give up all her greatest culinary pleasures (she is not; see above), she seeks compromise. A sweetener like Splenda that has survived hundreds of safety tests and is accepted by major health organizations (that many of you don’t trust) like The American Diabetes Association or The Mayo Clinic, seems, while not without possible risks, less scary than a lot of other things. Especially if used in moderation.

For example, Crabby sometimes adds canned pumpkin to her yogurt in the morning to sneak in a breakfast vegetable. By itself, this combination tastes sour and awful. But dump in some pumpkin pie spices, and vanilla, and a bunch of evil Splenda, and suddenly, it tastes like a dessert! To Crabby, this is a sensible use of an artificial sweetener. Would she have the healthy pumpkin without any sweetening? No, she certainly wouldn’t.

And the alternative sweeteners aren’t without risks either. Sugar is very bad for you. And Stevia, as well as many of the other natural alternatives out there, haven’t gone through nearly as much testing as Franken-foods like Splenda to assure us they’re safe either. Are they dangerous? Probably not, but how do we know?

Oh, because a substance is “natural” you don’t think it needs testing? Try eating three or four cloves of nutmeg: that can kill you. For that matter, so can rock climbing, or spending too many years hiking in the “natural” sunshine without “artificial” sunscreens, if you happen to end up with melanoma. And back when cavemen got nasty infections? They got dead. We get a little vial of “artificial” pills and we go out the next day and hit the trail and go for a run.

Has Crabby gotten you all annoyed yet? She really does agree with you all about 90% of the time – she just suspects that this other little 10% could get you all a bit riled. If so, feel free to give her a piece of your extremely healthy, agile, natural minds!

Further reading:

The Fuming Fuji Says No to Breakfast Cereal! [3]

Jabba the Hut Returns? [4]

Mark on “Caveman” and “Cavewoman” [5]

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds [6]