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What is Splenda? [moved from Home Cooking board]

What is Splenda?

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    1. Processed, chemically-induced sugar.

      1. In general, 0 calorie sugar substitutes are chemicals that trick your brain into thinking it is eating something sweet... my doctor friend refuses to touch those things...

        I generally can not stand the taste but I understand the temptation... :D

        1. I'd call it the Disney Version of sugar: exaggerate this characteristic, imitate that characteristic, and lose all the subtleties and the nuances in between because Hey, nobody pays any attention to that crap anyway.

          After reading about it, and at my wife's urging, I took a coupon to the double-yer-coupons store and bought some. Tried it next morning in my coffee. Managed by heroic effort not to spew coffee all over the dining room, discarded coffee, drank two cups unsweetened just to get the taste out. Mrs. O tried it, liked it, couldn't see what I was fussing about...

          3 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            I can't stop laughing at this description! I feel the same way!

            1. re: Will Owen

              In earlier discussions about Splenda, it seemed as if some people liked the taste, or didn't mind it, and others HATED it ... I wonder if is similar to Cilantro, in that people actually have a different taste experience based on genetics.

              1. re: MMRuth

                This came up in the diet soda thread(s), as true for all the various sweeteners. What drives some people nuts isn't apparent to others.

            2. Some of us who cannot take sugar use this as the lesser of all evils. The fact that you can cook with it makes it that much more welcome. That means now I can have some dessert with my dinner.

              1. Splenda is a chemical and probably has side effects we don't know about yet. At least the brain frying effects of Equal/aspartine are now well known. For those like me who cannot use sugar, I suggest Stevia--found in health food stores and sold as a diet supplement. It comes in liquid and powder. I don't know if you can cook with it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: molly

                  I have not baked with stevia, but have used the liquid and plant for to sweeten ice creams and sorbets for my father in law who is diabetic. I would suspect that it still has some form of plant sugar that affects diabetics, but so little is needed to sweeten things it hasn't been a problem for him.

                  I did try to grow stevia twice, but both times it was devoured by ants within a few days of planting it!

                  Here is a link for more info about stevia:


                  1. re: molly

                    Stevia is just as much a "chemical" as Splenda. "Chemical" is not a dirty word. Stevia, by virtue of being naturally rather than artificially produced, is no less likely to show up with weird side effects. That being said, I very much doubt that either one will kill you, if Stevia's "natural"/virtuous label makes you feel good. And the studies on aspartame involved far higher concentrations in rats than you will ever consume.
                    For research, if you're interested, I suggest the medical journals on pubmed.com.

                  2. For me, it was not so much "flavor" as mouthfeel. Add sugar to a cup of coffee and you get sweet. Add Splenda and you get sweet (often more than you expected) plus ... slimy? oily? I am having trouble coming up with a good word, but it is definitely far more viscous than sugar. I prefer sugar, and even if my doctor told me tomorrow that I needed to give the stuff up, I would rather drink the coffee black and have dessert once every three months than go back to Splenda.

                    1. I have been using xylitol for about a year now to sweeten my coffee and tea, and you can use it in cooking/baking, too (although I haven't tested this extensively, as xylitol is more expensive than sugar by far and I don't really have big problems with baking with sugar). Excessive consumption can cause diarrhea, which is why, I think, you won't find Snackwell's xylitol-sweetened cookies anytime in the near future. Some of it is made from birch bark, and I buy the Now brand crystalline, which is made from corn cobs. It's a sugar that naturally occurs in cauliflower, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables -- and in the human body. It doesn't taste exactly the same as sugar; some find it more sweet and I find it less sweet. It definitely doesn't have any aftertaste or any of the weird mouthfeel described about Splenda. But some like xylitol because its molecular structure makes it discourage bacterial growth, which is why Trident puts it in their gum. It also has a much lower glycemic index so it is a good sugar substitute for diabetics. Google it to find out more if you're interested. I'm amazed there aren't more xylitol mouthwashes and toothpastes out there by now.