writes: My neighbor says, “Splenda just converts to sugar in
our system.” Can you comment or confirm?
Splenda, also known as “sucralose,” is a no-calorie
sweetener so no, it does not convert to sugar in our system.
But it is made from sugar, which may explain your neighbor’s
confusion. According to the company’s FAQ’s, Splenda is
made through a patented process that starts with sugar and
converts it to a form that the body cannot break down for
energy. That means that — after it is ingested — it pretty
much passes through the body unchanged. That’s why Splenda
tastes like sugar but does not contain calories or raise blood
writes: Each week I read your column and vow to send this
message. I had a small dinner party a couple months ago and
served a Spanish flavored quinoa with saffron, cumin, figs and
roasted carrots. One guest declined saying she was violently
allergic to quinoa. Overnight I had terrible digestive
problems so I went online to investigate quinoa
“allergies.” I was amazed to find out that washing quinoa
thoroughly before use is NOT a suggestion, it is a
REQUIREMENT. Admittedly, I had bought my quinoa from a
supermarket bin and just gave it a slight rinse.
I think a
column on quinoa, bloating and digestive distress would be
very valuable since people who may think they are
“allergic” to this very healthful grain may be able to
enjoy it if it is prepared properly.”
Experts say a
true allergy to quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is rare. That may
be because quinoa is not technically a grain but a grain-like
food from a plant related to beets, Swiss chard and spinach.
In fact, the Food Allergy Research and Education (www.foodallergy.org)
does not list quinoa as a common allergen and even recommends
it as a good substitute for people with wheat allergies.
That said, some
people may experience allergic symptoms to quinoa. Or they
could be sensitive to bitter-tasting substances called
saponins on the outer coating of quinoa. Saponins are also
present in soybeans, chickpeas, amaranth seeds, and legumes
and they aren’t all bad. They help the growing plant ward
off insects and other pests. And some researchers report that
saponins can potentially suppress the release of inflammatory
substances in the body to protect us from conditions such as
diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Much of the
quinoa sold in stores already has the saponin residue removed.
If you’re not sure, soak it much like you do beans and then
rinse it well before cooking.
By the way, a
person who is sensitive to quinoa may also have unpleasant
symptoms to other foods, particularly apples. Always a good
idea to get checked out by an allergist if you suspect a true