"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. " Since the dawn of time, diet plans have included a list of "free foods" which may be consumed without penalty. The list varies widely from diet to diet. Which brings us to the topic of Splenda.
Splenda is the latest and best in a series of non-nutritive sweeteners. There was saccharin, which I remember in the form of tiny, vile white tablets fizzing around on top of my mother's coffee. Saccharin is still available, mixed with dextrose, in Sweet & Low's pink packets. There were cyclamates, popular but soon banned for being possibly carcinogenic. There was Nutrasweet, aspartame, in the blue packets.
Finally came Splenda. Splenda, sucralose, tastes almost like sugar. The advertising says it tastes like sugar because it's "made from sugar." I can't vouch for the chemistry of that claim, but it's true that the stuff fools me better than all of its predecessors. Next to the coffeemaker at home I keep an 400-packet industrial-size box of Splenda. A litter of shredded yellow packets follows me everywhere.
Why do I need Splenda? Because I don't like the taste of coffee. Why do I need coffee? Because I need to stay awake. Why do I need to stay awake? Because I don't get enough sleep. Why don't I get enough sleep? Because I stay awake. Of all the many vicious circles in which I dance, this is the very viciousest.
I could give up coffee and just take caffeine tablets, but they taste worse than saccharin pills. I could drink Diet Coke, which is fairly palatable, but expensive, and then there's all the aluminum cans on top of the refrigerator.
I'm giving up so many high-calorie foods right now that it hurts to think I should also give up anything from the free list. But I don't think coffee is doing me any good.