Did you know that the average American consumes about three pounds of sugar per week? Baking with Splenda is one way to cut down on sugar and improve your diet. This artificial sweetener goes well in most recipes and has zero calories.
Splenda, or sucralose, is 600 times sweeter than sugar. A half-cup of this non-caloric sweetener can replace one cup of sugar in most recipes.
What Is Splenda?
Sugar is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. It not only adds inches to your waistline but it may also raise your risk of heart disease, warns Harvard Health Publishing. Furthermore, it might be the reason why you're feeling moody and irritated. As it turns out, high sugar intakes may affect mental health and lead to depression.
Read more: 15 Reasons to Kick Sugar
One way to reduce your sugar intake is to cook at home. Baking with Splenda, for example, can save you a few hundred calories per day. Also known as sucralose, this sugar substitute has no calories and tastes just like the real thing. According to the manufacturer, Splenda is safe for people with diabetes as it doesn't affect insulin and blood glucose levels.
Like most food additives, sucralose is controversial. A November 2013 review published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health states that Splenda may not be as safe as it was once thought.
When consumed in excess, this artificial sweetener may become mutagenic, which means it might be able to alter certain genes in the body. Furthermore, it may accumulate in your tissues and cause toxicity. As the researchers note, Splenda may also increase insulin and blood sugar levels — although its manufacturers claim the opposite.
Baking With Splenda Is Easy
Based on the above findings, it's hard to tell whether or not Splenda is safe. However, it's unlikely to harm your health when consumed in moderation.
According to the FDA, this non-caloric sweetener is approved for use in food and can be used as a sugar substitute in baked goods. Since it's heat-stable, it doesn't lose its flavor during cooking.
Read more: 10 Desserts That Won't Derail Your Diet
Baking with Splenda can make it easier to reduce your sugar and calorie intake. Whether you want to bake cookies, cakes, banana bread or pastries, you can swap sugar for sucralose. In fact, you don't even need to do a browser search of "Splenda to sugar conversion chart." Simply go to the manufacturer's website to see how much sucralose is required to replace 1 teaspoon, half a cup, two-thirds of a cup or 1 cup of sugar in recipes.
For example, one packet of the original Splenda equals 2 teaspoons of sugar. If your recipe calls for half of cup of sugar, use 12 packets of sucralose instead. You will need 24 packets to replace one cup of sugar.
Some of the company's products, such as Splenda Sugar Blend and Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, contain both sucralose and sugar. Therefore, you'll need to use smaller amounts to replace sugar in your recipes. A half teaspoon of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, for instance, equals 1 teaspoon of regular sugar.
When to Use Splenda?
Splenda is about 600 times sweeter than sugar, states the FDA. If you've never used it before, start with small-to-moderate amounts. If your dessert isn't sweet enough, sprinkle some sugar over it. Add more Splenda the next time you cook.
According to the manufacturer, this artificial sweetener can be used in most desserts baked in the oven or the microwave. It's also suitable for frozen desserts, but it may affect their texture. Splenda is a good choice for high-altitude baking, too.
Beware, though, that it doesn't have the same properties as sugar. As the National Center for Home Food Preservation points out, granular Splenda cannot be used as a preservative for long-boil jams, canned or pickled fruits and jellies.
If you're concerned about its safety, there are several alternatives available. Stevia, for instance, is a natural substitute for Splenda. Like sucralose, it's calorie-free and can be used in a multitude of recipes.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Sweeteners
This sweetener comes from the plant with the same name. Although it's generally considered safe, more human studies are needed to confirm its long-term effects, notes the American Council on Exercise. Again, moderation is the key.
- New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services: "How Much Sugar Do You Eat? You May Be Surprised!"
- Harvard.edu: "Eating Too Much Added Sugar Increases the Risk of Dying With Heart Disease"
- Scientific Reports: "Sugar Intake From Sweet Food and Beverages, Common Mental Disorder and Depression: Prospective Findings From the Whitehall II Study"
- Splenda: "Our Story"
- Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health: "Sucralose, A Synthetic Organochlorine Sweetener: Overview of Biological Issues"
- FDA: "Additional Information About High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for Use in Food in the United States"
- Splenda: "Cooking & Baking With SPLENDA® Sweeteners"
- NCHFP: "Frequently Asked General Preservation Questions"
- American Council on Exercise: "The Truth About Stevia — The So-Called "Healthy" Alternative Sweetener"