Ever have the strong desire to bake a batch of cookies, but then hold off simply because you know all of the sugar in them isn’t great for your health or your waist line? Yah… me, too. But the problem is, sometimes that desire to bake doesn’t go away; we still want to experience the fun and joy of baking and sink our teeth into a warm, freshly baked cookie, so, the wheels in our heads start turning. We think to ourselves, “Maybe there’s a way to make ‘healthy’ cookies that I can feel better about eating!” We then peruse the baking aisle for sugar alternatives and suddenly spot the bright yellow bag that seems to be the answer to our prayers…
We see the little packets of Splenda in every sugar caddy in every restaurant these days. They’re offered in every coffee shop and the ads on television make this sweetener sound so safe and innocent. Besides, the FDA wouldn’t allow us to eat anything that’s “unhealthy”, right? Well according to The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, there was a study done in 2013 stating that “Cooking with sucralose (Splenda) at high temperatures was reported to generate chloropropanols, a potentially toxic class of compounds.” Therefore, cooking or baking with Splenda is not a great idea. I even question it’s safety in hot drinks such as coffee or tea, but that’s just my opinion.
If you are looking for a possibly healthier alternative to white sugar, consider using the following sweeteners:
Personally, when it comes to baking, I typically stick with an organic sugar (either white granulated and/or brown sugar), but make sure I keep my daily consumption of treats in check. One cookie or a couple of squares of dark chocolate per day is usually what I aim for. Sometimes I’ll have a little more, sometimes a little less. This amount doesn’t cause weight gain or put my health at risk just so long as decently smart food choices are made otherwise. Here’s a tip: bake a batch of cookies, but then stick them in the freezer where they will be out of sight. When you really want a cookie, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter or stick it in the microwave.
My final answer: skip the Splenda and use a sweetener that wasn’t created in a science lab. Saving a few extra calories isn’t worth the possible negative effects it has on our bodies.
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B: Critical Reviews, Volume 16, Issue 7, 2013