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Sucralose vs Stevia vs Aspartame vs Splenda

Sucralose, Stevia, Aspartame, What's the Difference?

May 24th, 2017
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Fact vs. Fiction?: All sugar substitutes are the same

The low-calorie sweeteners we have today all come from different sources and different techniques are used to make them.

It’s important to remember that when you hear news about low-calorie sweeteners, they are often discussed as if they’re all the same. They’re not, and the differences can be significant. “Stevia vs Splenda”, “stevia vs aspartame”, “Splenda vs aspartame” – you’ve probably thought about these comparisons yourself.

What’s in a Name?

Several different umbrella terms are used to describe the category I refer to as “low-calorie sweeteners.” They include non-nutritive sweeteners, zero-calorie sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners, intense sweeteners and alternative sweeteners to name a few.

When I see or hear a news report that uses one of these terms, I always pay attention to find out which specific sweetener the story is about. Since they aren’t all the same, the results of a study using one of them won’t necessarily apply to all of them. I've learned that I have to read the entire study rather than rely on the news coverage about sweeteners to determine which one was used. That is especially true with some of the stories on diet sodas that don't make it clear what sweeteners are involved. And many studies involving low-calorie sweeteners aren’t designed to demonstrate cause and effect, but the headlines can make it seem like they are.  

Here are the names of the most common low-calorie sweeteners sold as retail sweeteners or found in prepared foods and beverages:

  • acesulfame potassium (ace-K)
  • aspartame
  • monk fruit extract (luo han guo)
  • saccharin
  • stevia
  • sucralose 

Different Sources for Different Sugar Substitutes

Taking a closer look at the source and/or makeup of each low-calorie sweetener makes it easier to understand why each one should be treated individually. It also helps to explain why they perform differently in different food and beverage applications.

Aspartame is made from two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are commonly found in foods with protein. When these two amino acids are put together in specific ways they are extremely sweet, yet readily released from the sweeteners during digestion and absorbed just like the amino acids found in meat, eggs and other foods.

Saccharin and acesulfame potassium (ace-K) are synthesized from carbon and minerals commonly found in other foods (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and potassium). They, too, are intensely sweet and are excreted soon after ingesting and not stored in the body.

Stevia and monk fruit extract are made by isolating and concentrating the sweet compounds found in certain plant leaves and fruit. And, with regard to “stevia vs Splenda”… did you know the SPLENDA® family of sweeteners now includes a stevia product? SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener has no calories, no added flavors, and no bitter aftertaste.

Sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, is a modified form of sucrose, or sugar. It is changed by removing hydrogen-oxygen groups from certain places on the sucrose molecule and putting chlorine in their place.  It's important to remember that chlorine is also found in many safe components of food. This change makes the sucralose molecule much sweeter than sugar, but with none of the calories. Most of the sucralose we consume passes through our bodies unchanged, and it all leaves the body very quickly without being broken down for energy.

As you can see, some of the low-calorie sweeteners you use at home have unique formulations. All taste sweet and have no calories per serving, but that’s where their similarities end. That’s worth remembering the next time you hear someone trying to lump them all together as if they were the same ingredient in different colored packets.

For more information, please visit:

I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, 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.


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.

May 24th, 2017  |  POSTED BY: Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN  |  IN: Fact vs. Fiction, Sugar Substitutes

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Comments

. ..

What do you recommend in place of brown sugar? I really don't want real brown sugar mixed with artificial.

SPLENDA® Sweeteners ..

Great question! Check out our SPLENDA Brown Sugar Blend. Just use 1/2 cup of SPLENDA Brown Sugar Blend to replace 1 full cup of brown sugar. For more information visit: https://www.splenda.com/products/brown-sugar-blend.

.. ..

I use splenda and find it great tasting. I tried changing it to aspartame, saccharine and stevia but did not like any of them. Stevia gives me a extremely bitter taste. I have been able reduce 50 lbs using them. I have ulcerative colitis and I did not have any side effects. In fact leaving out sugar from my diet has really improved my ulcerative colitis.

SSUNDBY ..

I just want to say,I have been following a weight watchers type program since the first week of July.I have lost 24lbs since then,and that's being fairly relaxed with the regimen (I splurge some)and not yet having added an exercise routine(that will be coming soon,just haven't decided what I want to do yet). For all the anecdotes and accusations about artificial sweetners(I have yet to see any PROOF of the so called dangers),I KNOW I personally could not have gotten this far without them.I need regular tasting normal food that I can afford to make at home and that the rest of my family will eat.Sucralose and aspartame and others make it possible to have food that we enjoy and is lower in calories and carbohydrates.My husband is diabetic and needs to use these also.I make all kinds of my old recipes with just a few healthier changes including substituting Splenda for sugar.No one ever knows.I had bloodwork done after about 1 month after I started this program and at my lipid profile and blood sugar and blood counts and metabolic profile are all perfect! Having good tasting sugar substitutes make it so much easier to stick to a weight loss program.I am glad they are around!

SSUNDBY ..

I use Splenda, and satisfied. Can you send me a conversion chart. Thank you, Wilbur

SSUNDBY ..

We're glad you like it! You can click this link to our site for a conversion chart: http://www.splenda.com/cooking-baking/conversion-charts We hope this will make your baking easier!

Shana S.

I have a son that has diabetics and a daughter that has a bad stomach which she has to have glutin free flour and this is very hard to cook for the both of them. So I am using diabetic sugar and glutin free flours such as rice flour blend glutin free and cocunut flour etc. I have 4 grand kids that live close and I don't know how to bake things sometime. The kids are with one of my daughters(the one that has glutin free diet. I mean if I don't combine the two diets I would be cooking 3 different receipes for one basic one Help please who ever that can.

SPLENDA® Sweeteners ..

We would be happy to help you with some tips! You can certainly use SPLENDA® in your cooking and baking for your children. SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener and all of our products do not contain gluten, which is perfect for your daughter. Your son can also use SPLENDA® and it will not affect his blood glucose levels or insulin. Up to four packets of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener are considered a "free food" by the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association. Feel free to browse our blog for helpful recipes for your family! Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

Anonymous A.

I use a number of artificial sweeteners as I practice a low carbohydrate vegetarian diet. I am happy for the honesty regarding the other sweeteners as I run a weight management group at a mental health clinic and promote the use of all of the sweeteners mentioned here as an alternative to sugar. I usually utilize NIH and FDA website. But it's frightening what many people believe to be the truth. The diets I promote the zone, Atkins, Sugar busters all make use of these sweeteners and I've been on Atkins for 16 years albeit a vegetarian Atkins for the past five & have consumed a great deal of sucrolose and I've been fine.

SSUNDBY ..

an Atkins recipe for vanilla ice cream calls for sugar twin..2 TBS. Can I use Splenda instead and still use 2 TBS?

SPLENDA® SWEETENER ..

Yes, you can us 2 TBS of SPLENDA® in your recipe.

N/A.

I use Splenda to make my tea and Kool-Aid. It does not have an after taste to me, but my sister-in-law swears it will cause cancer and digestive issues. Is Splenda truly safe? I don't like Truvia or Stevia due to the horrible after taste.

SPLENDA® S.

Thanks for reaching out to us. We are aware of the many misleading claims that can be found on the internet, especially related to the safety of SPLENDA®. Safety is extremely important to us—and you can be rest assured that SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose) is safe and doesn’t have any side effects. You can feel confident about this because sucralose has been extensively researched in more than 110 studies conducted over a 20-year period, which have demonstrated its safety. These studies collectively demonstrated no evidence of a health risk with sucralose consumption for any segment of the population. For more information on our safety, we encourage you to visit www.splenda.com/story.

Anonymous A.

Also I am allergic to one of the ingredients in aspartame so I do not use artifical sweetners...I read your break down but still am leery using any artifical sweeteners

SPLENDA® S.

We're happy to share that SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener does not contain aspartame. We hope this helps!

SPLENDA® S.

I have hypoglycemia and hate the after taste of sweeteners...Does splenda have after taste and does it affect blood sugar? Can I cook with it? do you have receipes and substituion chart? Does it have an after taste when you cook with it?

SPLENDA® S.

SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose) is a great sweetener for people with diabetes because it does not affect blood glucose levels, insulin, or HbA1c. It has a clean, sugar-like taste without the bitter aftertaste of some other no-calorie sweeteners. You can definitely cook with SPLENDA®, and here is a conversion chart for you: http://www.splenda.com/cooking-baking/conversion-charts. Thanks for your questions!

. ..

I feel you have been honest I use Splenda as I am a dieabetic. Thanks for the recipes...

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