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Splenda Sweetener Review (In Packets)

Updated Review Date: 06/09/2017
Original Review Date: 04/12/2011

         Splenda brand sweetener from McNeil Nutritionals (a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson) is a sugar substitute that has been on the market for quite some time. It's been quite successful since it tastes great to the majority of people who try it. The sweetness of Splenda comes from sucralose, which has been deemed a safe alternative to table sugar by the USFDA and numerous peer-reviewed, independent studies. Sucralose is essentially just a slightly modified sugar molecule that the body doesn't really recognize as a carbohydrate. If you're interested you can read a short article I posted about the background and safety of sucralose (link opens a new tab/window).
         Splenda is listed on American Diabetes Association's website as an acceptable substitute to sugar, so it's one more choice of sweetener brands that diabetics or anyone that is looking to avoid sugar in their diet can add to thier list. And aside from possibly replacing your table sugar, it also works great for sweetening homemade fruit drinks, coffee, teas and those unsweetened versions of your favorite drink mixes like Kool-Aid. Splenda is commonly available at Amazon in boxes of 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1000 and 1200 packets, whereas most grocery stores carry on a few sizes. Like almost all packeted sweeteners on the market, each packet has the sweetness of two teaspoons of regular table sugar. This review covers the packeted version of Splenda, not the granulated bag version of the product.
         Now let's move on to the nutrition, ingredients and see how Splenda scores...

Nutrition Information for Splenda

Per 1 gram packet, each serving of Splenda contains:

Calories: 4 (the product box lists 0 calories, but there is 4 per packet)
Sodium: 0mg
Sugars: Less than 1g (from dextrose)
Carbohydrates: 0.9g (the product box lists less than 1g)

Ingredients of Splenda

Dextrose, Maltodextrin, Sucralose.

The Scorecard for Splenda Sweetener (In Packets)

Based on the four point rating system, which allows a maximum of one point for each category, here are the results:

Taste: Excellent. Absolutely no aftertaste by itself or when mixed with unsweetened Kool-Aid or fresh squeezed homemade lemonade. It also does just as well in coffee and tea. Neither the two taste testers or I could detect any aftertaste when using Splenda. (+1)

Packaging Waste: The packaging is minimal for all box sizes and all packaging waste from Splenda is 100% recyclable. As noted on the box, the packaging is made from 100% recycled paper fiber, which I do applaud. (+1)

Value: Splenda has dropped significantly in price over the years since the original review was written and is on par with the price of other artificial sweeteners such as Sweet N' Low and is slightly less expensive than Stevia extract based sweeteners. You can find exceptional prices on Splenda when bought in bulk at Amazon versus your local grocery store. No problems with value so it gets a top score here. (+1)

Health Factor: There's nothing strange in the ingredients at all but there is something you should be aware of. There's some nutritive value in Splenda from the maltodextrin and dextrose (both are simple sugars), which are primarily used as bulking and flowing agents for the sucralose and secondly to even out the overall taste. Sounds reasonable enough, but I'd like to see just one bulking/flowing agent used rather than two. Regardless, each packet clocks in at 4 calories and only 0.9 carbs per packet. The Splenda product box does not indicate if the dextrose and maltodextrin are GMO or non-GMO, but the Splenda website does address this question on their FAQ webpage:

"SPLENDA Brand Sweetener, or sucralose, does not come from genetically modified sources and the manufacturing process does not use any ingredients that come from genetically modified sources. While we can't guarantee that the corn used to make the maltodextrin (granulated and packets) and dextrose (packets) in our SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener Products does not come from genetically modified sources, both of these ingredients come from the starch part of the corn, are highly purified, and are not likely to contain any protein or genetic material".

          So more likely than not the dextrose and maltodextrin is going to be going to be free of, or contain hardly any, genetically modified material. While some folks would naturally question the information above because it comes from the manufacturer's website, keep in mind sweetener manufacturers have learned some hard lessons over the years about product information honesty and transparency from various lawsuits that were brought against them or another manufacturer. The Splenda website is very transparent with their product information in my opinion, similar to PureVia's website.
         Because McNeil Nutritionals does address why both dextrose and maltodextrin are used, as well as a whole slew of other intelligent questions on their website, I can't in good judgment mark down for the use of two bulking/flowing and flavor polishing ingredients in the product.
         On a related note you might be wondering: why the does the box list 0 calories? The answer to that is the USFDA allows products that contain less than 5 calories per serving to be labeled as calorie free. Also of note, anything with less than 5 carbohydrates and 20 calories per serving is considered a "free" food in the food exchange system, and Splenda is well below that limit. This is just something to be aware if you're going to use more than a few packets at once for just a single beverage and not something that should sway you away from the benefits of using Splenda in place of real sugar. For the health factor, Splenda does very well and gets a top score here. (+1)

Overall Rating: 4 out of 4. A perfect score for this well-known and long-used sweetener which yields the coveted Golden Cup Award.

Splenda Brand Sweetener - Winner of The Golden Cup Award

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