Artificial Sweeteners, A to Z


I’ll admit it: I have a Splenda habit. I’ve tried Stevia, I’ve experimented with agave, but at the end of the day I always find myself back with my little yellow packets. Sucralose = my diabetic addiction.

When Splenda first came out, I remember raving about it to my roommate Max, a very smart guy who tended to know a lot about a lot of things, and he began teasing me for eating what he called “chlorinated sugar.” I didn’t let this stop me — but I always did wonder about the safety (and ingredients) for all these different sweeteners.

Looks like someone at the San Francisco Chronicle had the same questions, because they just ran a break-down of all the major sweeteners, from straight-up sugar to Splenda. (They also did a “cookie-bakeoff” with the sweeteners.) There’s a lot of useful information. Xylitol, for example, was judged as the best sucrose substitute, but “it shouldn’t be eaten in large amounts. Its side effects are gas, bloating and diarrhea. The good news is that it doesn’t cause tooth decay.”

As for my beloved yellow packets? Splenda is “one of only two sweeteners deemed safe by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.” But, the article notes, “It does enjoy some controversy over the fact that it was discovered during the process of developing an insecticide.”

I’m going to mull that last bit over while drinking a cup of sweetened tea.

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Michael Barker
12 years ago

I’m just like you. Splenda rules! I just wish I could find the pure stuff without the additives.

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