Blue stuff v. yellow stuff v. pink stuff
It's been my experience that none of the sugar substitutes tastes much like sugar. Each one has a very different flavor, almost as if they are different parts of the sweetness spectrum.
Health considerations aside, IMHO, on it's own Equal tastes the best, but I get a much better sweet flavor if I combine Equal with Splenda or even Sweet 'n Low. Now you can only do that if you're not cooking whatever it is you are sweetening, but it seems to help. Anyone else noticed that?
I can't remember the source of this info, but there is data to the effect that combining certain artificial sweeteners creates a better sweet taste than any one sweetener on its own.
This has apparently been known for a very long time. The original Sucaryl sweetener combined cyclamate and saccharin. Most of today's Canadian diet pop contains both aspartame and ace-K. The powdered sweeteners contain things like dextrose, partially for their bulking qualities, but also, apparently, for their effect on taste. Stevia, though not artificial, has a noticeable taste and often gets combined with sugar alcohols for similar reasons.
Coke Blak seems to be the extreme case. It can contain 2-3 artificial sweeteners plus sugar or HFCS, depending on where it is made. (And it tastes awful regardless.)
While this doesn't have to do with artificial sweeteners in food, I thought I would share: I did a taste test of Sweet N Low, Equal, Splenda compared to real sugar on their own. The Sweet N Low tastes metallic. Equal is just sweet - there isn't a taste, really. I know I'm going to sound like the commercial, here but Splenda actually tastes like sugar. Of course, they are obviously different products, but there is definitely a sugar tastes that Splenda has that the others don't. (Oh, totally agree with the awful taste of Coke Blak - I really don't understand that stuff)
I did a bunch of research on this stuff, so here's just a few sentences to sum up...
Exposed to heat, Equal turns to carcinogen more rapidly.
Sweet'n'Low doesn't taste sweet and acts on certain neurotransmitters, so that you perceive the taste as sweet; however, some don't respond and those generally either perceive the taste as bitter, or see no change in flavor at all.
Splenda is an altered sugar molecule and resembles chlorine. The body processes it, and absorbs more calories from it than from the other two (I have to find the study that verified this one); however, Splenda is best to use in hot drinks because it doesn't carcinogenify ...
Equal, best in cold
Splenda, best in hot
Sweet'n'Low... if ya like it, taste it, use it...