One Christmas in the early 80's, I purchased a book for my father titled “How Things Are Made.” Although he was not an avid reader of books, he delighted in this one since he was an innovative man who could “construct, grow and make” just about anything (of course there were limits!).
As he had diabetes for decades before he passed away, he would no doubt be very curious today about sucralose and how it could taste so much like sugar. So would my mother who was constantly trying different recipes that did not use sugar. Her attention to what went into the meals she prepared played a major role in helping my father keep his blood sugar in check. But at the time, the selection of no-calorie sweeteners was extremely limited and there were none that could be used in baking. Both of my parents would have been delighted to know about sucralose and how it is so versatile, particularly for individuals and families who need to reduce their sugar intake.
What is Sucralose?
What is sucralose? For me, it is the gold medal winner of the no-calorie sweetener “Olympics.” Simply put, sucralose is an uber-versatile no-calorie sweetener that lets you add sweetness to foods and beverages without adding calories or carbohydrates. It is an amazing replacement for sugar, including for baking!
Sucralose is the sweetening ingredient in the original SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. It has a clean, sugar-like taste without the bitter aftertaste of some other no-calorie sweeteners. The great taste and many uses of sucralose have made a wide range of lower-sugar and lower-calorie food and beverages for healthy meal planning possible.
Sucralose has been used safely by millions of people around the world for more than 20 years, supported by research data from more than 100 studies. Worldwide regulatory authorities, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada and the World Health Organization, have reviewed these studies and confirmed the safety of sucralose. Both the American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics support the use of low-calorie sweeteners such as sucralose as a useful tool in weight management and diabetes.
How is Sucralose Made?
A great resource on “all things sucralose” can be found at the Splenda.com website but please allow me to give you a short-but-sweet (pun intended!) description of how SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose) is made. It is made through a process that starts with sugar and converts it to a no-calorie, non-carbohydrate sweetener (but it’s not sugar). The result is a very stable sweetener that tastes like sugar, but without its calories. Sucralose passes through the body without being broken down for energy, and the body does not recognize it as a carbohydrate.
I love sucralose for the sweetening properties that it offers. It is my go-to no calorie sweetener, but as one who has a food and nutrition background I want to note that sucralose cannot be considered “natural.” It is made from sugar molecules with chlorine atoms added to it, so sucralose is made, and not found in nature. That is why advertising and packaging for sucralose products do not represent the product as “natural.”
Now that you’re more informed about “what is sucralose” and how it’s made, please don’t let the addition of chlorine bother you. Chlorine is a natural part of salt, which is found in many foods, like lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, melons, and peanut butter, and chlorine is added to most public water supplies. Chlorine is also a part of more complex molecules found in such things as lentils, peas, and potatoes. It is a part of daily life. In the case of sucralose, its addition converts sucrose to sucralose, which is essentially inert. Our bodies eliminate sucralose without breaking it down for energy, thus it adds no calories, and it is not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate.
If you read an earlier blog of mine about a college foods course where I experimented with an “artificial” sweetener in baking, you will recall that I had a total disaster on my hands. Although I don’t have a time machine to re-do that project, I can still cherish the ‘A’ I received in that class for proving my thesis: there weren’t any no-calorie sweeteners (at that time) appropriate for baking. Of course my thesis would have been different if sucralose had been available back then!
For better understanding of what is sucralose and how it compares to other no-calorie sweeteners, read these FAQs.
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.
Sue Taylor is a consulting nutritionist with more than 35 years of experience. She is passionate about sharing her nutrition knowledge and fondness for good, healthy food. Sue will put relevant information in consumer terms and provide valuable perspective to clear up misinformation and confusion about nutrition and food safety.