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SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (Sucralose): Made from, but Different than Sugar

June 25, 2015
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POSTED BY:
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I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Being a Registered Dietitian is sometimes like being a referee. I feel like that whenever someone asks me to tell them which is better, “SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose) or sugar?”

Since eating isn’t a sport where judgment calls have to be made “on-the-fly,” I rely on the science about these two sweeteners to help my clients decide for themselves which one to use. That results in a winning call every time!

How is SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener Made?

Sucralose is the name of the sweetening ingredient found in all SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. It is made using a process that starts with sugar (sucrose) and converts it into a no-calorie, non-carbohydrate sweetener.

The multistep process includes replacing 3 hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sucrose molecule with 3 chlorine atoms (see illustration below). Chlorine is a natural component of salt, and is found in many common foods, such as lettuce, tomatoes, and peanut butter. Chlorine is also part of more complex molecules naturally found in lentils, peas, potatoes and other foods. You can find out more about sucralose and chlorine in this blog by Sue Taylor, “SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose) Fact vs Fiction: Clearing Up Confusion about Chlorine.”

Sucrose or Sucralose

The chlorine atoms in sucralose prevent the molecule from being broken down in the human body for energy, so it doesn’t have any caloric value for us. However, this change does not prevent sucralose from activating the taste buds on our tongues that send a sweet signal to our brains, just like sugar does.

Once we eat or drink something sweetened with SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose), most of the sucralose passes through our bodies and is eliminated. The small amount that is absorbed is excreted in the urine, so none of it accumulates in our bodies.

How is Sugar Made?

Now that you know how sucralose is made, you might also want to know how sugar is made since that is where it all begins. Common table sugar comes from either sugar cane, which is actually a tall grass, or sugar beets. Both plants undergo a process once harvested to make white granulated sugar.

The steps for making sugar from sugar cane start by pressing the canes to extract the liquid, and then boiling the liquid to evaporate some of the water to make a thick syrup. Once the syrup starts to form crystals they are spun in a centrifuge to separate them from any remaining liquid. The crystals are then treated to remove any remaining impurities and decolorize them. These final steps are repeated several times until the crystals are pure white.

SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose) or Sugar; What Will It Be for You?

One of the most important decisions we get to make every day is what foods we will eat for a nutritious and balanced diet. Either SPLENDA® Sweetener Products or sugar can add a little sweetness, but SPLENDA® Sweeteners can provide that sweetness while helping us reduce the amount of added sugar we consume.
 

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

June 25, 2015  |  POSTED BY: Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN  |  IN: Healthy Lifestyle, Sugar Substitutes

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