Splenda is advertised as being 'made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar' -- a claim that is currently the subject of a heated legal challenge in the United States. While it is true that sugar, or sucrose, is one of the starting materials for sucralose, its chemical structure is significantly different from that of sucrose.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener known by the trade name Splenda. Sucralose can be found in more than 4,500 food and beverage products. Sucralose is used as a replacement of, or in combination with other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium or high-fructose corn syrup. In the European Union, it is known under the E number (additive code) E955. It was first approved for use in Canada (marketed as Splenda) in 1991. Subsequent approvals came in Australia in 1993, in New Zealand in 1996, in the United States in 1998, and in the European Union in 2004. As of 2006, it has been approved in over 60 countries, including Brazil, China, India and Japan.
It is 500–600 times as sweet as sucrose, making it roughly twice as sweet as saccharin and four times as sweet as aspartame. It is manufactured by the selective chlorination of sucrose, by which three of sucrose's hydroxyl groups are substituted with chlorine atoms to produce 1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-ß-D-fructo-furanosyl 4-chloro-4-deoxy-a-D-galactopyranoside or C12H19Cl3O8. Unlike aspartame, it is stable under heat and over a broad range of pH conditions, and can be used in baking, or in products that require a longer shelf life.
This process produces 1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-beta-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside (also known as trichlorogalactosucrose or sucralose), a new chemical substance that Tate & Lyle calls a 'water-soluble chlorocarbohydrate.' Chlorinated carbohydrates belong to a class of chemicals known as chlorocarbons. This class of chemicals includes a number of notorious human and environmental poisons, including:
Most of the synthetic chlorinated compounds that we ingest, such as the pesticide residues in our food and water, bio-accumulate slowly in the body; and many cause developmental problems in the womb or are carcinogenic. Though the manufacturer states that sucralose is not metabolized - about 20% to 30% of absorbed sucralose is metabolized. Both the metabolites and unchanged absorbed sucralose are excreted in urine. The absorbed sucralose has been found to concentrate in the liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract. According to The Sucralose Toxicity Information Center, sucralose is broken down "into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a chemical which has not been adequtely tested in humans."