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What is Splenda®?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 16, 2024
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Splenda® is an artificially manufactured sweeter that is sold in the United States. In the European Union, the same product is known an E955. It is available in a wide range of grocery stores and is located in the same aisle as sugar. Splenda® is not sugar but is a sucralose based product. Sucralose is a chemical that has many of the same properties as sugar but has fewer calories.

Pure surcalose has zero calories but has approximately 600 times the sweetness of sugar. When sold as Splenda®, sucralose is combined with binders, fillers and other agents that add approximately three calories to each teaspoon (5 ml). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules state that any product with less than five calories per service can be labeled as a zero calorie product.

There are three uses for Splenda®: in home baking, in commercially prepared foods and in hot drinks. When used in home baking, substitute one cup (240 ml) of sugar with 3/4-cup (180 ml) Splenda® and ¼-cup (60 ml) sugar. In this proportion, the dessert will have the identical texture and moisture as a dessert made with sugar, but will have lower calories. A one to one replacement of sugar with Splenda® reduces the moisture content of the item and may have a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Splenda® is the most popular artificial sweetener in commercially baked products, as it is stable in high temperatures and can be used to keep the moisture level high to extend the shelf life. This product is used as a sweetener in candy, breakfast bars, soft drinks and canned fruit. It is used instead of high fructose corn syrup additives, which have higher calories.

Each package contains one teaspoon (5 ml) of Splenda®, which has 3.31 calories. The calories are carbohydrate based, due to the bulking agents of dextrose or maltodextrin. Splenda® is sold in individual yellow packages to be added to coffee, tea or sweetened iced tea.

Over 100 scientific studies were done to test the impact on human health to Splenda®. The results of these studies confirm no increased risk of cancer and no reproductive or neurological effects. Splenda® carries a reduced risk of dental carries or cavities and is suitable for daily use by diabetics.

The daily use limit over your lifetime, with no adverse effects, is 0.5 oz/day (14 g/day) of surcalose. Some patients have reported migraine headaches when using Splenda®. For these patients, it is best to avoid artificial sweeteners, and use sugar, which is a natural, well-tolerated product.

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