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Nutrition Section

Sucralose - Artificial Sweetener

Sucralose is the only sweetener that was discovered by accent - and no, that's not a spelling mistake!

Sucralose was discovered in 1989 by scientists from Tate & Lyle, working with researchers Leslie Hough and Shashikant Phadnis at Queen Elizabeth College (now part of King's College London). On a late-summer day, Phadnis was told to test the powder.

Phadnis thought that Hough asked him to taste it, so he did. He found the compound to be exceptionally sweet, not surprising because it is 600 times sweeter than sugar!

There were already several sugar substitutes on the market but sucralose had one advantage over it's competitors - it was stable when heated. Unlike the others, sucralose can be used in cooking and remains stable in acidic and alkaline foods.

Sucralose molecule

The sucralose molecule

Until now, manufacturers had a problem sweetening cooked products for consumers like diabetics, who required foods with low sugar content. Although there was a variety of artificial non-sugar sweeteners on the market, they all broke down with heat. Products like cakes and biscuits were off limits to diabetics because being cooked, they contained sugar for sweetening.

Unlike aspartame and saccharin, sucralose is stable under heat and over a broad range of pH conditions. Therefore, it can be used in baking or in products that require a longer shelf life. The commercial success of sucralose-based products stems from its favourable comparison to other low-calorie sweeteners in terms of taste, stability, and safety.

Sucralose is typically added to foods in very small quantities. Sucralose products manufactured in the US for domestic consumption are commonly formulated by the addition of "bulking" ingredients such as glucose (dextrose) and maltodextrin to give a degree of sweetness per unit volume comparable to sucrose, and to give some products an appearance similar to granular sugar. Some examples of these sweeteners are Splenda, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren, and Nevella.


Sucralose is so sweet it is mixed with bulking agents to give it a similar sweetness per volume, to sugar

Unlike the other sweeteners, sucralose is actually manufactured from sugar by a selective chlorination process. This made it far easier to market, with no opposition from the sugar producers.

Sucralose can be found in more than 4,500 food and beverage products. It is used because it is a no-calorie sweetener, does not promote dental cavities, and is safe for consumption by diabetics. Sucralose is used as a replacement for, or in combination with, other artificial or natural sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium or high-fructose corn syrup. Sucralose is used in products such as candy, breakfast bars and soft drinks. It is also used in canned fruits wherein water and sucralose take the place of much higher calorie corn syrup based additives. Sucralose mixed with maltodextrin or dextrose (both made from corn) as bulking agents is sold internationally by McNeil Nutritionals under the Splenda brand name. In the United States and Canada, this blend is increasingly found in restaurants, including McDonald's, Tim Hortons and Starbucks, in yellow packets, in contrast to the blue packets commonly used by aspartame and the pink packets used by those containing saccharin sweeteners; though in Canada, yellow packets are also associated with the SugarTwin brand of cyclamate sweetener.

Using sucralose in cooking

Sucralose is a highly heat-stable artificial sweetener, allowing it to be used in many recipes instead of sugar or as a partial replacement for sugar. Sucralose is even available in a granulated form that allows for same-volume substitution with sugar. Unlike sucrose which dissolves to a clear state, sucralose suspension in clear liquids such as water results in a cloudy state. For example, gelatin and fruit preserves made with sucrose have a satiny, near jewel-like appearance, whereas the same products made with sucralose (whether cooked or not) appear translucent and marginally glistening.

Sucralose cookies

Because sucralose doesn't melt with cooking, like sugar, baked goods can appear drier in texture. For this reason, often only a portion of the sugar is replaced in some recipes.

While the granulated sucralose provides similar volume-for-volume sweetness as sugar, the texture in baked products may be noticeably different. Sucralose is non-hygroscopic, meaning it does not attract moisture, which can lead to baked goods that are noticeably drier and have a less dense texture than baked products made with sucrose. Unlike sucrose which melts when baked at high temperatures, sucralose maintains its granular structure when subjected to dry, high heat (e.g., in a 350°F or 180°C oven). Thus, in some baking recipes, such as crème brûlée, which require sugar sprinkled on top to partially or fully melt and crystallise, substituting sucralose will not result in the same surface texture, crispness, or crystalline structure. The same can be said for recipes like brandy snaps that rely on sugar to caramelise.

Coconut Palms

Indonesia's Lethal Food
Did you know that at least 1000 people die in Indonesia every year from falling coconuts? Worldwide, they are more lethal than sharks. A coconut can weigh 5kg and a coconut palm can be up to 30 metres tall.


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Is it safe?

Sucralose has been accepted by several national and international food safety regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Joint Food and Agriculture Organization / World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives, The European Union's Scientific Committee on Food Health Protection Branch of Health and Welfare Canada and Food Standards Australia-New Zealand (FSANZ).

Sucralose is one of two artificial sweeteners ranked as "safe" by the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. The other is Neotame. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, the amount of sucralose that can be consumed on a daily basis over a person’s lifetime without any adverse effects is 9mg/kg/day.

In determining the safety of sucralose, the FDA reviewed data from more than 110 studies in humans and animals. Many of the studies were designed to identify possible toxic effects, including carcinogenic, reproductive, and neurological effects. No such effects were found, and FDA's approval is based on the finding that sucralose is safe for human consumption." For example, McNeil Nutritional LLC studies submitted as part of its U.S. FDA Food Additive Petition 7A3987 indicated that "in the 2-year rodent bioassays...there was no evidence of carcinogenic activity for either sucralose or its hydrolysis products".

Cancer Research

Extensive testing has found no harmful effects from sucralose consumption.

Allergic reactions to sucralose have not been documented, but individuals sensitive to either maltodextrin or dextrose should consult a physician about using any sweeteners containing these bulking agents as fillers.

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