When considering sweeteners that mimick the sweet taste of sugar without the addition of calories, it’s important to compare the different popular brands of artificial sweeteners available, and know their chief ingredients and side effects (if any). The safety and differences between the most common artificial sweeteners available; Splenda®, and Stevia, are discussed here.
Splenda Vs Stevia
The debate over choosing Splenda over Stevia has been on the minds of sugar-substitute users for quite some time. One distinguishing attribute between them is the fact that stevia is a naturally occurring sweetener, native to South America, while Splenda is a brand name for artificial sweetener.
Here are some more facts about Splenda and Stevia:
- Splenda- The sweetness of the Splenda granules is formed by its chief constituents; dextrose, maltodextrin, and a small amount of sucralose. Sucralose in itself has been researched to be safe for long-term consumption by diabetics in controlled intake levels. However, Splenda may contain certain other sugars that need individual evaluation to determine their safety for long-term use. The sugar-free non-nutritive sweetener, Splenda, has been subject to controversy owing to sucralose being an artificially created synthetic compound having chlorine atoms attached. While having chlorine atoms does not render Splenda dangerous, as chlorine gets typically added to even drinking water, opponents believe that intake of large amounts of chlorinated Splenda may pose a health risk. Reported Splenda dangers and associated side effects include dizziness, vomiting, and anxiety. However, being almost 600-times sweeter than sugar, stable at high temperatures, and approved by the FDA, Splenda remains a preferred artificial sweetener for many. Splenda recipes can be adapted based on individual preference for various cooking methods, including baking and boiling.
- Stevia – Used for centuries, stevia is a plant with leaves that are 30 to 40 times sweeter than sugar. Its extracts may even be around 300-times sweeter. Stevia is the only natural sweetener on the U.S. market believed to help in insulin reactivation and reducing blood sugar levels. Columbian tribes have been using stevia for treatment of heartburn, obesity, and hypertension. In the U.S., stevia sweetener is marketed as a dietary supplement and food additive. Steviol glycosides like rebaudioside A are used as food additives in carbonated beverages and are considered by the FDA to be safe. There are neither any reported stevia side effects nor are there any studies that substantiate stevia’s health-promoting benefits.
The controversies around Stevia and Splenda continue, but the fact remains that one should use these artificial sweeteners and “sugar-free”-based products only in moderation as a part of a healthy lifestyle.
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