Discovered in 1976, sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and does not metabolize to produce energy, thus it does not contain calories. It is the only low calorie sweetener that is made from sugar, which has been changed so passes through the body unchanged and unmetabolized. Substituting for three alcohol groups on the sugar molecule with three chlorine atoms creates sucralose. Sucralose is sold under the Splenda tradmark.
It is heat stable and can be used in cooking and baking or anywhere one would use sugar without losing its sweetness. Sucralose is currently used in more than 30 countries and the FDA approved it in 1998 as a table top sweetener. It has been studied for more than 20 years, and 110 published animal and human safety studies have concluded that sucralose is safe for everyone to consume. Since, chlorine is something we consume every day in our water and other foods we eat, it is safe in this formulation. As a result, sucralose does not require any warning labels. Sucralose - Chime in new window
The drastically increased sweetness of sucralose is due to the structure of molecule. In the case of sucralose, the two chlorine atoms present in the fructose portion of the molecule lead to more hydrophobic properties on the opposite side of the molecule (upper left), which extends over the entire outer region of the fructose portion of the sucralose molecule.
Note: The model receptor site is this author's conception and is based only very loosely on theory and geometry of the molecules. It is only useful for students' initial conceptions of the fit of a molecule into a receptor site.
- Area (AH+): This area has hydrogens available to hydrogen bond to chlorine attached to the glucose bottom portion of the molecule.
- Area (B -): This area has a partially negative oxygen available to hydrogen bond to the partially positive hydrogen of an alcohol group.
- Area (X): This area is more or less perpendicular to the other two areas interacts through hydrophobic or non-polar properties to the fructose portion of the molecule as previously noted.
- Charles Ophardt, Professor Emeritus, Elmhurst College; Virtual Chembook