Why This “Zero Calorie Sweetener” Isn’t Zero Calories

  • Published on Apr 3, 2017
  • The final video of this run is from Alex at Technicality Studios! Go subscribe: tvclip.biz/user/TechnicalityTime
    Splenda is a "zero-calorie sweetener", at least in the US. Or at least, that's what it says on the packet. With the help of some Benedict's Solution, and his chemistry teacher, Alex is going to do some food science.

Comments • 1 715

  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott  2 years ago +4563

    When I was Alex's age, I had very little of his on-camera skills or confidence, and to be honest, I'm a bit envious. I should also apologise for cutting out his usual intro and outro: go check out his channel to see them!

    • RHDR Railfan
      RHDR Railfan 9 months ago

      Tom Scott doesn't celery have zero calories

    • Northfan42
      Northfan42 11 months ago

      Both you and Alex are entertaining and impressive. Age is irrelevant. What matters is developing skills and enthusiasm and putting those things to good use; it doesn't matter how long those things take to develop. Keep it up, both of you.

    • Alex Planchon
      Alex Planchon Year ago

      what about water?

    • Remco S
      Remco S Year ago

      Not much has changed apparently.

    • RamenNoodles
      RamenNoodles Year ago +1

      How about Stevia? It's from a dried, plant extract, so it might have a bit less.

  • royksk
    royksk 7 hours ago

    Slow down lad.

  • uabir
    uabir 18 days ago

    Nice guest presenter

  • EebstertheGreat
    EebstertheGreat 20 days ago

    Other "non-caloric" or "calorie-free" sweeteners like saccharine also have a few calories per gram. The important difference is that they are WAY SWEETER, so you don't need much mass. This explains how diet soda that is almost as sweet as regular soda can still advertise 0 Cal and 0 g carbs in 12 oz servings: so little saccharine is required that it's still less than 5 cal even when replacing around 40 g of sugar in the regular variety.
    Sucralose (the key ingredient in Splenda) is a bit different. While sucralose has a similar energy content to sugar, humans lack the concentration of relevant digestive enzymes to decompose it, and most sucralose is undigested. The exact food energy content available to humans is debatable. But Splenda is a mixture of a small amount of sucralose diluted in dextrose, so it is almost as caloric as sugar. But again, since sucralose is sweeter than sugar, you don't need as many packs.

  • High Path
    High Path Month ago

    The body apparently can react the same way to suger-free / low calories sweetners ( not all ) in the same way that it does to sugar ( I suspect it reacts even worse to corn fructose syrup), as it does to normal sugar, so one has to be careful as calories are one thing, but the reactions of sugar compounds as processed are another, and the results need to be clear and monitored

  • mads_in_zero
    mads_in_zero Month ago

    This kid is really great! Interesting topic with engaging narration. I'm excited to see his style improve even more.

  • Atticus Nari
    Atticus Nari Month ago

    What about Stevia?

  • p1rgit
    p1rgit Month ago

    sweet kid, i mean smart, but to replace tom needs bit work on tempo. his is lil bit too quick. lower voice, easier to listen, that comes with age. as they say: being young is the only fault what really heals with time :D

  • A Random Guy On The Internet

    Another fun little trivia fact, one US calorie is one thousand calories or one kilocalorie

  • Kees de Groot
    Kees de Groot 2 months ago

    That’s a rather expensive FEP bottle for your sucrose... :0

  • Adam Quayle
    Adam Quayle 2 months ago

    Nice shirt dude
    I'm more of a Reunion swamphen kind of guy though.

  • Tenebricōsum
    Tenebricōsum 2 months ago

    ohhh my eating disorder isnt happy with this lmao back to my non sweetened days i guess

  • Ginger Ninja
    Ginger Ninja 2 months ago

    B E G O N E T H O T.

  • Mitch
    Mitch 3 months ago

    In Australia, if a nutrient is present but is less than 1g, they can say "less than 1 gram", or in energy measurements, "less than 40KJ". I haven't seen any sweeteners that use that labelling though.

  • Tianhao Xu
    Tianhao Xu 3 months ago

    What the hell is FDA thinking about.

  • TheNightwalker247
    TheNightwalker247 4 months ago

    Such a great guest video

  • Roton
    Roton 4 months ago

    Isnt the benedict-test for like all reducing sugars? so it theoretically could contain - from the start of - some indigestible Monosaccharides.

  • DSTANKification
    DSTANKification 6 months ago

    Was that a Zepherus easter egg slipped in there?

  • Ari George
    Ari George 6 months ago

    Ah I loved this

  • Syrah Grimm
    Syrah Grimm 6 months ago


  • Ignacio Pacheco
    Ignacio Pacheco 6 months ago

    I don´t want to mess this up, but every packet has 2 servings haha, so maybe we are talking about 8 calories.

  • Pseudo Nym
    Pseudo Nym 6 months ago

    It's nasty sweet, thin sweet taste 😨

  • Pseudo Nym
    Pseudo Nym 6 months ago

    It's nasty sweet, thin sweet taste 😨

  • luca ioan
    luca ioan 6 months ago

    What about sacharin?

  • TreeMobile.
    TreeMobile. 6 months ago


  • Lana Jig-maker
    Lana Jig-maker 6 months ago

    great video.

  • Darth Vader
    Darth Vader 6 months ago

    an alright explanation but i'm gonna have to only give you an 8 max because your shirt is the wrong colour =\

  • Darth Vader
    Darth Vader 6 months ago

    wrong colour shirt?

  • Jonas D. Atlas
    Jonas D. Atlas 7 months ago

    "Benedict's solution is named after Stanley Rossiter Benedict, an American chemist, and not Benedict Cumberbatch, a British actor. This is a disappointment." I have nothing to add to that.

  • John The_Piloteer
    John The_Piloteer 8 months ago

    Take my like

  • panda4247
    panda4247 8 months ago

    I was perplexed why one croissant manufacturer makes croissants as 60g pieces or 5x37g family pack...
    And yet, on the back side, the nutrition values are written "per 100g" and "*per 1 serving (28g)*"
    Where did the 28g come from? Can that be similar thing to this, to fall into some category?
    How do you even make 28g pieces from 60g and 37g croissants?

  • Ben B
    Ben B 8 months ago

    Another example of the corruption in the FDA and other entities... Given enough money, many corporations can say whatever they want

  • JustAPotota 54
    JustAPotota 54 9 months ago

    I'm not a sciency person, so I might have this wrong, but don't 0-calorie sweeteners have a different form of sugar that the body doesn't accept? I believe it's called the L-form of molecules

  • Erin Steph
    Erin Steph 9 months ago +1

    really trying not to swear
    but lil champ just blew my mind

  • Saumitra Chakravarty
    Saumitra Chakravarty 10 months ago

    DISCLAIMER: I hate to be the guy who appears to be siding with the evil corporations spreading their lies and deceptions but if you read patiently till the very end of my very long comment, you will find out that I am not actually the guy you thought I was.
    MAIN COMMENT: The thing is, Benedict's test doesn't really detect glucose. It will show its colors whenever it can react with aldehydes and alpha-hydroxy-ketones. These are the groups glucose happens to possess in just the right orientation for some good old Benedict's reaction. That is why sucrose is not readily detectable by Benedict's test despite being the most common form of natural sugar (having lots of Calories in it), because its aldehydes/ketones are not arranged in the proper way for the reaction and it can only be detected by Benedict's test after splitting it into glucose and fructose. However, glucose is not the only compound that has this property. Artificial sweeteners are often mimickers of the glucose in terms of their possession and orientation of aldehydes and ketone groups because the chemoreceptors for sweetness in the taste buds can be fooled by the same chemistry that gives colors to Benedict's solution when it reacts to non-sugars. Not to mention, the artificial sweeteners can not be processed by our body like usual sugars despite having certain chemical groups in order because the other parts of those compounds are very different from usual sugars, therefore gives off no energy within us, hence zero Calorie. Having said that, the kid really made an honest effort and I do not expect him to know/understand all the nuances of organic chemistry at his age. He especially deserves kudos for exposing the fact that the brand Splenda actually contains real sugar by reading the label and exchanging emails with the company because his experiment was not conclusive about it due to aforementioned reasons.
    FUN FACT: If you have too much vitamin C or normal dose of Cephalosporin antibiotics your urine will still give positive Benedict's test even if your urine is sugar-free because those substances are similar to glucose in terms of orientations and positions of aldehyde/ketone groups.

  • goeyguts
    goeyguts 10 months ago

    Wow this kid just really DFTBA'd me

  • NateDawg 1164
    NateDawg 1164 11 months ago

    The same thing applies with tic-tacs which are practically pure sugar

  • mspenrice
    mspenrice 11 months ago

    I feel like we stopped a bit short here. As in, we didn't then find out how many calories are in a sugar packet that produces equivalent sweetness in your cup of coffee. The Sucralose that Splenda also contains is many times sweeter tasting, gramme for gramme, than sugar, and itself has virtually no real nutritional value. The "real" sugar that they _do_ put in to the mix is probably to combat the rather candy-like, oversweet, metallic aftertaste profile that Sucralose shares with several other common artificial sweeteners, and provide both a more natural flavour plus the slight glucose hit that the body expects with sweet things in order to feel "satisfied" by them (and, curiously, that you somehow don't get so much with HFCS vs regular sugar, possibly because a lot more of it has to go through the liver first).
    I would expect a sugar packet that gives about the same sweetness to probably contain about 4 to 5 grammes of sugar, as it's 100% dextrose-maltose (ie, sucrose), and therefore 16 to 20 calories. So you're not losing all the calories that you would by not taking any sweetener at all (or a more completely artificial, and more synthetic tasting, alternative like Canderel), but you are saving something like 12 to 16 per serving. Which if you drink a lot of coffee through the day could easily add up to the difference between gradual weight loss and gradual weight gain. And is presumably why they're allowed to get away with calling it "zero calorie" in the states, because it's both so low compared to the sugar equivalent, but also low enough that the very act of making and consuming the beverage of which it is part probably burns up more calories than you take in as a result.
    I mean, otherwise an interesting and informative video, well presented. I just wanted more by the end ;) ... which is itself usually a good sign, and I know there's only so far school classroom science can go within a five minute time limit...

  • MusicalTheatreFan
    MusicalTheatreFan 11 months ago

    I got a TVclip ad before this video.

  • cicalinarrot
    cicalinarrot 11 months ago

    Guess most food marketed as cointaining "zero pubic hairs" actually contains up to four.

  • rchandraonline
    rchandraonline 11 months ago

    Same thing with "decaffeinated," a certain small percentage of caffeine is allowed and still have the product labelled "decaffeinated."

  • Dexis
    Dexis 11 months ago

    So we can market normal sugar packets as 0 calories?

  • IamMe
    IamMe 11 months ago

    I'd like to say it is news to me that US companies are legally free to lie but it really isnt.

  • Overdrive02
    Overdrive02 11 months ago

    Okay okay, if I put five grams of Splenda in a drink, it should actually have 20 calories. From a legal standpoint, can I advertise it as 0 calories, because Splenda is 0 calories and 4•0 is obviously 0, or do I have to acknowledge it as 20 calories?

  • Cruzz999
    Cruzz999 11 months ago

    Awesome shirt!

  • Julian Boxan
    Julian Boxan 11 months ago

    The sweetener in Splenda is called "Sucralose". Sucralose actually has about 4 calories per gram - the same as glucose - with the difference beeing that it is 400 times sweeter. The dextrose only acts as a suport material to make it more authentic.

  • Mihai Lazar
    Mihai Lazar 11 months ago +1

    when he did the vulcan salute, i instantly subscribed

  • FGV Cosmic
    FGV Cosmic 11 months ago

    (zero sugar)
    ( more sugar than sugar)

  • squiddy mc squid face
    squiddy mc squid face 11 months ago

    So the sugar had less sugar in it than the non sugar. How?

  • Gideon Kloosterman
    Gideon Kloosterman 11 months ago

    Maybe the Splenda is sweeter, so you don't have to use as much?

  • Igor Bednarski
    Igor Bednarski Year ago

    I have recently bought a bottle of diet coke and i have decided to take a look at the nutritional value... it says 0.4kcal/100mL. I don't think I have ever seen a product with actual zero calories, even the sugar-free stuff has at least 0.1...So it seems like it's possible to make money and be honest about the nutritional value. Why is this not the case in the USA?
    (btw I live in Poland)

    BREEEDAS Year ago

    Sooo... It would be legal to lable regular sugar as "zero calorie" sugar?

  • moonbear131
    moonbear131 Year ago

    one time I ate an entire gogurt tube

  • Brendan McCabe
    Brendan McCabe Year ago

    Enzymes can also cause chemical reactions

  • Ashley Williams Illustrator/Animator

    Now let's do Sweet n' Low, Equal, and Whole Earth.

  • Sky Wire Mashups
    Sky Wire Mashups Year ago

    "Don't eat plastic"? But Bill said "It tastes really good, and it's reeeeeaal special"

  • CrazyHorse151
    CrazyHorse151 Year ago +1

    Any other Tim's here? Hail the Jamaican Rice Rat!

  • Luke A
    Luke A Year ago

    Nice hello internet shirt

  • Joe Mamma
    Joe Mamma Year ago +1

    Omfg thank you soooooo much for this and I'm never eating Splenda again

  • Brian Bailey
    Brian Bailey Year ago

    Why the little boy is wearing a Jamaican rice rat shirt... What??

  • Vedraj r.m
    Vedraj r.m Year ago

    Why was the water replaced with boiling water?

  • Hoàng Trần Minh

    it can also be argued that gum is a negative calorie snack. though there is a tiny bit of sugar and flavoring in gums, which adds to the calorie count, the very action of chewing the gum consumes more calories than what the gum offers.

  • WH
    WH Year ago +1

    The moment I saw dextrose on the label I just went "you bastards"
    Hilarious loophole. Cool that the kid used Benedict's solution instead of Fehling's as I'd expected he would.

  • nem tudom
    nem tudom Year ago

    Oh, what a cool guy, for once, im not talking about Tom :)

  • Joe
    Joe Year ago

    It's the little dude from the walking dead!

  • Barnesrino Kripperino

    the benedict test looks at the reducing capabilities of the solution, so some sugars are reducing agents (not all) and some things that are not sugars can give a false positive, it dosent change the conclusion, but it should be kept in mind

  • Nicolai Pedersen
    Nicolai Pedersen Year ago

    There were a Coca cola zero ad on this vid

  • cas. b
    cas. b Year ago

    Hello internet shirt

  • Julien Becker
    Julien Becker Year ago



  • A Lot of Icecream

    I see that Hamilton playbill in the background

  • SirGangsterOreo
    SirGangsterOreo Year ago

    Why is Carl from TWD doing a video on sugar

  • Ashley Williams Illustrator/Animator

    I knew there was a reason why I didn't trust Splenda..... 😒

  • Raptor Jesus
    Raptor Jesus Year ago +1

    So basically if I were to just re-package sugar into serving sizes smaller than 5 calories, I could label it as zero calorie sugar? This seems lucrative....

  • Umut Can Gümüş
    Umut Can Gümüş Year ago +1

    That's a lot of glucose!

  • poppciccle
    poppciccle Year ago

    I had a tom scott ad, imdidnt realise it was an ad untill i checed the time!

  • Jan Tuts
    Jan Tuts Year ago

    I knew it was going to be the "

  • tstokemb
    tstokemb Year ago

    It's nice to see that Carl found a calling in the afterworld

  • Transmission Control

    It's not QUITE as scammy as this makes it sound. A typical packet of sugar is around 4 grams like a cube or teaspoon. A 1g packet of sugar could be marketed as zero calories, too. Splenda's 1g packets are designed to be a replacement for 2.8g of sugar but still have equivalent sweetness. That means it has a little less than 1/3 the calories for a given sweetness.

  • Adam Žaloudek
    Adam Žaloudek Year ago

    Flagy flag

  • Abby Liu
    Abby Liu Year ago

    this child

  • Arseboth
    Arseboth Year ago

    That HI shirt tho

  • DaVince21
    DaVince21 Year ago

    Let's go to the lab!

  • William Cornell
    William Cornell Year ago

    Actually, for body uses glycogen, but yea...

  • Kevin
    Kevin Year ago

    "Land of the free"

  • You can't find me

    You’re damn right it’s disappointing that Benedict doesn’t have a solution named after him 😍

  • Canada
    Canada Year ago

    *_but do tide pods have calories_*

  • Lance Combes
    Lance Combes Year ago

    Dafuq is a Jamaican rice rat?!? 😕

  • Mikko M. Viljanen

    That was absolutely great video!

  • earleroy
    earleroy Year ago

    is it just me or does every single middle/high school science teacher wear khakis and a plaid, long-sleeve dress shirt, at least here in the US?

  • Sofia Komarov
    Sofia Komarov Year ago

    Eyyyyy jamaican rice rat!

  • Thefisherbird
    Thefisherbird Year ago

    Love the signed Hamilton playbill behind him!!! Great video :)

  • John Doe
    John Doe Year ago

    DFTBA?? Really?

  • IceCreamGecko
    IceCreamGecko Year ago +1

    They are taking "one is none" to a whole new level.

  • Dapstart
    Dapstart Year ago +1

    That hello internet T-shirt tho

  • sdaniaal
    sdaniaal Year ago +3

    its sad to see the US strung along by profiteers and then have other countries follow suite.

  • NoriMori
    NoriMori Year ago

    This guy is a star! I love it!

  • boson96
    boson96 Year ago +1

    The lobbying that the American companies do makes people into sheeple.

  • Таня Цукрова

    Awesome video!