Equal and Splenda are artificial sweeteners used by diabetics and weight-watchers as a sugar substitute to control sugar and calorie intake.
Equal contains aspartame, whereas Splenda contains sucralose. Equal is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, and contains 3.6 calories per gram whereas Splenda is 600 times as sweet as regular sugar, and contains 3.3 calories per gram.
Sucralose was discovered by scientists as a collaborate effort between Tate & Lyle and King’s College, London. Its use was approved in Canada in 1991, and then in other countries from 1993 to 2008. The product was finally launched in May, 2008 by Fusion Nutraceuticals.
The discovery of aspartame, the main component of Equal dates back to 1965. It was first marketed by G..D. Searle and Co., and gained full approval in 1981, 7 years after its limited approval for use in food products.
Equal is generally used to sweeten tea, coffee and other beverages. It is, however, avoided in baking, as it becomes bitter when heated. Splenda is a more flexible sweetener, and is used both in beverages and desserts.
edit Packaging and Storage
Equal is sold in powder form packed in individual sachets, or in a dissolving tablet format. Splenda is available in both granulated and tablet form. The granulated sachet form weighs 1g each and is equivalent to two teaspoons of sugar.
Each sachet of Equal contains dextrose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, starch, silicon dioxide, maltodextrin, and flavouring. The tablet form may also contain lactose. Each sachet of Splenda contains maltodextrin, dextrose and sucralose.
Both Equal and Splenda have been clouded in controversies. Though it is used by countries worldwide and approved by FDA, there is still some concern that long term use of Splenda could cause cancer. Splenda has also come under criticism as the chemical that imparts sweetness contains chlorine which is highly unsafe for the body. A small portion of it is also indigestible, and may cause health problems.
edit Health Issues
Equal breaks down into phenylalanine, and people with phenylketonuria are unable to metabolize this amino acid and should avoid the consumption of Equal. Though there is lack of concrete evidence, some reports claim that consuming Equal in a large amount could cause dizziness and headache and even cancer. Studies testing the side effects of Splenda in rats have shown it to be linked with weight gain and reduction of good bacteria in the intestines, and migraine. However, it has not been substantiated and is not seen in humans.