Splenda: Friend or Foe?

Topics: Sugar, Sucralose, Sweeteners Pages: 4 (1454 words) Published: December 6, 2005
In 1976 scientists at Tate & Lyle Ltd., a large British sugar refiner, and researchers at the University of London discovered sucralose, a no calorie sweetener also known by its brand name as Splenda. Sucralose is a chlorinated chemical compound that is made in a multiple-step chemical manufacturing process. In the process, three atoms of chlorine are substituted for three hydroxyl groups in the sugar molecule sucrose (white table sugar), creating a tightly bonded, highly stable molecule. The tight bonds that hold the molecule together prevent the body from recognizing sucralose as a sugar, therefore preventing it from being metabolized and causing most of it to pass through the body undigested. Although sucralose has been used outside the United States since 1991, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved sucralose for use in the U.S. in April of 1998. It took two years for sucralose to become more widespread, and it was not until 2000 that sucralose was used in many products and available for consumers in grocery stores, restaurants, and retail outlets in its brand form, Splenda. Today Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Specialty Products Company manufactured Splenda and markets it to companies and the public as a sweetener for baked goods, drinks, and other foods. Over 3,500 products contain Splenda, including Orville Redenbacher Microwavable Kettlekorn, Breyer's ice cream, Tropicana Twister products, Kool-Aid, PowerBar Pria Bars, Diet V8 Splash, Propel Water by Gatorade, and Swiss Miss "No-Sugar Added" Hot Cocoa Mix ("Sucralose U.S. Product List").

Splenda is a good sugar substitute for the main reason that it contains virtually no calories compared to sugar that contains 16 calories per teaspoon. The few, fractional calories that are in Splenda come from the common food ingredients dextrose and maltodextrin which are added for volume, however the amount of those ingredients is so small that Splenda still has an insignificant calorie value per...
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