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Can I Have Splenda on the HCG Diet?

author image Jenna Cee
Jenna Cee has been writing professionally since 2006. Her articles appear on 2Athletes.com and Women's Fitness Online. She is a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and as a fitness and sports nutritionist through the International Sports Sciences Association. Cee holds a Master of Science in human nutrition from Washington State University.
Can I Have Splenda on the HCG Diet?
Splenda is not allowed on the HCG Diet. Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Splenda, the patented name for sucralose, is an artificial sweetener for foods and beverages. You can find it most grocery stores and coffee shops, available in the "yellow packet." The HCG Diet is a very restrictive weight loss protocol that promises drastic weight loss of up to 3 lbs. per day. Before considering the HCG Diet, you should be familiar with how the diet is structured and the numerous side effects this diet can have. Splenda is not allowed as part of the HCG Diet.

No Splenda Allowed

The original HCG Diet, designed by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons in the early 1950s, forbids you from using Splenda or sucarlose to sweeten any foods and beverages. Dr. Simeons' HCG Diet, as outlined in his manuscript "Pounds and Inches," is the primary protocol for the vast majority of HCG weight loss diets. Some other doctors may have versions of the HCG Diet that allow for Splenda and sucarlose, but the original protocol only allows the artificial sweeteners Stevia and saccharin to be used. Perhaps notably, Dr. Simeons died in 1970, while Splenda was created in 1976. It is unknown whether Dr. Simeons would have allowed dieters to consume Splenda in his diet.

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Sweeteners Allowed

Only stevia and saccharin are allowed on the HCG Diet. Saccharin is available at most grocery stores and coffee shops in the "pink packet," not to be confused with the "blue packet" that contains aspartame. Dr. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. and a clinical nutrition specialist, profiles stevia and saccharin in his book "Living Low Carb." Saccharin has been available since the early 1900s and has been a mainstream calorie-free sweetener in foods and beverages such as diet soda in the United States since 1980. Stevia is a newcomer to the artificial sweetener market, even though it has been used since 1970 in Japan and other countries. It is the only "natural" artificial sweetener because it is made from the stevia plant.

HCG Diet Malnturition

The HCG Diet is dangerous because it is so low in calories. The diet allows for only 500 calories a day, the equivalent to eating just one meal a day for most people. A very low calorie diet, less than 1,000 calories, has an effect identical to starvation, according to the Human Nutrition Center at the University of California - Los Angeles. It is almost certain that you will experience some degree of malnutrition while following the HCG Diet. Symptoms of malnutrition involve extreme muscle loss, fatigue, mood swings, physical weakness, depression and blood clots. The University of Maryland Medical Center, MayoClinic.com and the University of Idaho all heavily discourage you from following this fad diet.

Saccharin and Stevia Safety

Saccharin has a long history as an artificial sweetener in the United States, according to the University of New Mexico. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has considered saccharin to be safe since 1978, even though it was banned the year prior. Dr. Bowden considers saccharin to be reasonably safe despite the 1978 study published in the "Environmental Health Perspective" that concluded that saccharin may cause cancer. Dr. Bowden explains that rats and mice involved in the study that developed cancer were fed "incredibly high amounts" of saccharin that no human could possibly consume in a 24-hour period. Dr. Bowden reports that stevia is free of side effects and is safe for unlimited consumption. Stevia is Bowden's first choice for a calorie-free sweetener.

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