Brian posted an article about Splenda. Not Scout’s bike Splenda, but the chemical sweetener in the yellow packets. The website he referenced cites a couple of sources, including a Sugar Industry Sponsored Web Site.
As I wrote on Brian’s bog, when I read these things on the web, one of my first questions is about the motivation of the entity publishing the information.
In this case, TAS comes out and says it’s published by the Sugar Industry, a group that has an obvious and direct financial interest in Splenda’s downfall. Normally it’s not as obvious who’s funding the “research.” Regardless, any reading of the site should be done with your bullshit shields on maximum alert.
This site is rife with marketing tricks and psychology. For example, consider this nugget from the FAQs:
Is the chlorine in Splenda any different than the chlorine used in swimming pools?
No. The same atoms of chlorine that are used in products to disinfect swimming pools are also found in Splenda.
Guess what, ordinary table salt has the same atoms of chlorine that are used in products to disinfect swimming pools. Oh no — it’s a conspiracy by the Brotherhood of Chlorinated Illuminati! The airport shoe terrorists are smuggling sodium chloride in ordinary, table-top dispensers! And it’s in our seawater!
The objection I have with these sources is that they pretend to have your best interests in mind, but in fact are part of a grand marketing scheme, employing numerous techniques to create fear, uncertainty and doubt about their opponent’s product, while at the same time implying their own product is fine.
According to the NY Times:
Equal has a powerful if unlikely ally in its battle against Splenda: the Sugar Association, a trade and lobbying group for the $10 billion American natural sugar industry. The association has separately sued Splenda’s makers over its claims to be related to sugar. […]
Last year, [Splenda] had sales of $212 million, dwarfing Equal’s sales of $49 million.
The truth is consuming mass quantities of Splenda, sugar, table salt, chlorinated pool chemicals, entire swimming pools, or Scout’s bike is certainly not healthy.
For a sample analysis of how public relations and marketing are used to mold public opinion, read Trust Us, We’re Experts and Toxic Sludge is Good for You! by
Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber. (More info: here, or you can find it at the library.)
The next time you see an ad by the “Concerned Citizens for the Preservation of Yatta Yatta,” you’ll be more inclined to question who benefits financially from Yatta Yatta, perhaps concluding that they are actually the entire group of “Concerned Citizens.” Just keep this in mind during the next election.