Can you remember when the little yellow sweetener packets started showing up next to the pink and blue packets in your local restaurant? Well, since its commercial introduction in 1999, Splenda has risen in popularity to take over 62% of the U.S. market share for artificial sweeteners.
As for diabetics, Splenda is a sugar substitute option that has been found to have little effect on blood sugar levels. While filling your pantry with specialty diabetic products made from safe alternative sweeteners -- such as Splenda -- is not necessary, considering the use of such products can give you more flexibility when it comes to diabetic meal planning.
Splenda is made from the FDA-approved artificial sweetener, sucralose. The FDA reviewed over 110 human and animal studies on sucralose prior to approving it safe for consumption, (including studies looking for links to cancer, reproductive and nerological issues; none were found).
An individual 1g packet of Splenda technically has 3.3 calories, however, this number is low enough to be considered "calorie-free" under FDA labeling laws. Interestingly, the low caloric content actually comes from bulking agents used in the production of Splenda - not sucralose.
In the United States, Splenda is used as a sweetener in many pre-sweetened beverages and foods. It can be purchased as either individual packets or larger bulk packaged-granuals, and both white and brown sugar baking forms. (If you're having tea across the pond in the UK, however, you could also find Splenda available in tablet form.)
For more sugar-substitute options, visit:
Grotz, V Lee, et al. "Lack of effect of sucralose on glucose homeostasis in subjects with type 2 diabetes". Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2003; 103(12): 1607-12.
Jing Ma, et al. "Effect of the artificial sweetener, sucralose, on gastric emptying and incretin hormone release in healthy subjects". American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal Liver Physiology. 2009; 296(4): G735-739.