By Cristin Dillon, SELF magazine
Welcome to our new Tuesday series! It's a food face-off, comparing two products to determine if one wins in nutritional value. Today, we match up two popular no-calorie sweeteners, Truvia (aka stevia) & Splenda (aka sucralose). Please send along any comparisons you are curious about in the comments below!
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With rates of obesity on the rise we are always in search of ways to cut calories. A popular way for many food producers and consumers to do so is to use artificial or alternative sweeteners instead of sugar. There are many choices on the shelf at the grocery store right now and we'll likely continue to see more in the future.
The newest product on the market is Truvia, the first all natural zero-calorie sweetener. Truvia is a product of the stevia plant, which is grown in the ground, then the leaves are harvested and steeped to obtain rebiana, a concentrated form of the leaves' sweet properties. The rebiana is then combined with erythritol (a sugar alcohol) for bulk and sold as a granulated sweetener. One packet of Truvia is 2X as sweet as a teaspoon of sugar.
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Splenda has been on the shelves a bit longer but it's still relatively new to the sweetener market, compared to aspartame (Equal) and saccharin (Sweet N' Low). Splenda was the most "natural" sweetener we had until Truvia came along. It was considered more "natural" because it is a chemical derivative of the sugar molecule itself. Basically, they replace parts of the sugar molecule with chlorine, then add maltodextrin and dextrose - both natural carbohydrate compounds. The end result is a zero-calorie sweetener that is 600 times as sweet as sugar and doesn't have a bitter aftertaste like the high-intensity sweeteners that came before it.
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Both Truvia and Splenda were approved by the FDA as safe to consume. They are zero-calories per serving and both beat sugar in terms of sweetness, so you don't to use as much. Neither will affect your blood sugar levels.
Nutritionally speaking, there is not much difference in these two products, so I can't say which is better. If you prefer something more natural, then you should choose Truvia. If you're looking for one you can use to bake with, go for Splenda's Sugar Blend. Truvia is hoping to develop their own baking-friendly version, too.
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There is no winner of this versus series - your choice comes down to personal taste, health preferences, and usage needs. Good luck!
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