"made from sugar, so it tastes like ... what?"
October 6, 2005 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Does Splenda taste salty to anyone else, or is it just me?

I first noticed the "salty" taste in those flavored seltzer waters. Yesterday I had a Diet Coke w/splenda for the first time in a few weeks, and it tasted salty too. If this is my body's way of telling me to back away from the artificial sweeteners, I'm fine with that. Just curious as to whether anyone else has noticed this.
posted by runtina to Food & Drink (18 answers total)
Not me. But I do think it tastes sweeter than regular sugar.
posted by LadyBonita at 9:10 AM on October 6, 2005

It's very sweet initially, but has a weird bitter aftertaste to it, IMHO. This is primarily noticeable if you eat it on its own (when I got my first jar, I was eating it by the spoonful for a couple of days..)
posted by wackybrit at 9:13 AM on October 6, 2005

Flavored seltzer waters and Diet Coke w/Splenda actually contain sodium -- since you're not used to the flavor of the Splenda, you may be more likely to taste that sodium (or the combination of the sodium and the Splenda) than with typical sugar or the other sweeteners. Diet Coke *without* Splenda and other types of bottled waters have a hint of salt too, and you can taste it if you hold the drink on your tongue.

If you detect a salty taste when you eat a plain packet of Splenda, though, that's something else entirely, since there's no salt in Splenda by itself.
posted by eschatfische at 9:38 AM on October 6, 2005

to me it has a chlorine aftertaste. this may be psychosomatic though, since i had heard before tasting it that it was sugar with some hydroxyl groups replaced with chlorine atoms. according to the wikipedia entry its ~500 times sweeter than sugar.

i suppose since table salt is NaCl that we may be talking about the same taste. personally i dont like it much. i find that the combination of AceK and Aspartame in Coke Zero tastes much better. but then again supposedly Diet Coke (which has Aspartame only) is based on the "New Coke" formula, and Coke Zero is based on the "Coke Classic" formula, which may account for why Coke Zero tastes more like 'real' coke to me.

having said all that, i'm still completely addicted to diet coke. my greatest fear is that it will go away in favor of coke zero or splenda diet coke!
posted by joeblough at 9:39 AM on October 6, 2005

joeblough- specifically, Diet Coke (and "New Coke") are citrus-based colas, as is Pepsi. Coke ("Classic") and Coke Zero are both based on a vanilla formula.

Random fact- Coke uses real, natural vanilla for their soda instead of cheaper vanillin. That's gotta make them the #1 consumer of vanilla in the world.
posted by bobot at 9:58 AM on October 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

Diet Coke w/ Splenda tastes very citrus-y to me. That's the only thing I noticed about it -- but I don't eat it straight, either.
posted by dagnyscott at 10:12 AM on October 6, 2005

joeblough: Actually, New Coke was based on Diet Coke because people liked the latter so much. Turns out those who want a tarter citrus cola are more of a vocal minority than a majority.
posted by abcde at 10:18 AM on October 6, 2005

joeblough; that chlorine taste is probably because Splenda is pretty much chlorinated sugar. Chemists; please correct me.
posted by odinsdream at 10:41 AM on October 6, 2005

I tried a Splenda cheescake recipe once. It tasted a little salty, but it also had a hideous toothpaste aftertaste as well.
posted by Sara Anne at 10:50 AM on October 6, 2005

joeblough, odinsdream: Whilst chloride is what gives you that salty taste (I figure, since KCl is used as a table salt substitute it would be the Cl part that is mainly responsible for the taste) the stuff in Splenda is the rather different chlorine. It's not got that extra electron, and it's very firmly bonded into a molecule. I find it hard to believe that that is what is responsible for the salty flavour therefore.
posted by edd at 10:59 AM on October 6, 2005

I don't find it salty, but I do find it less sweet than Equal. If I am sweetening a glass of iced tea, for example, I'll use 4 packet of Equal but 6 of Splenda. (I drink very large glasses of iced tea.) I'm the only one I know that has this reaction.
posted by Shoeburyness at 12:10 PM on October 6, 2005

I notice a sweet foretaste and a bitter aftertaste with Splenda.
posted by Lynsey at 12:53 PM on October 6, 2005

Splenda-sweetened things taste to me at first like they've been over-sweetened, and then like a sort of rotten rubber/bitter mid- and after-taste. I can see how that bitter sensation, sort of a puckering in the middle of my mouth, could taste similar to something that's too salty.

And yes, if Splenda tastes like bleach, you're probably imagining things. edd explained it well.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:02 PM on October 6, 2005

To me, the taste of baked goods that contain Splenda and sugar is the same as just sugar. But less complex things (i.e., things with fewer flavors, like Splenda sweetened ice cream) and things that are sweetened solely by Splenda, have a ringing metallic aftertaste. It's not salty so much as the taste of touching your tongue to a hammer. Mmmm, hammer.
posted by luckypozzo at 4:37 PM on October 6, 2005

I noticed that Diet Coke with Splenda tastes less "sparkly" than DC with aspartame. No salty taste with either formula.
posted by deborah at 9:05 PM on October 6, 2005

Curiously, I've always noticed a slight salty taste to plain white sugar. Perhaps its a sensory issue, rather than a chemical one.
posted by Goofyy at 9:37 PM on October 6, 2005

yeah, i guess i'm not a chemist nor do i know anything about chemistry. like i said i think my perception of the taste was biased by spotty knowledge of chemistry, but its too late now. it tastes "bleachy" to me.

interesting facts about citrus based vs. vanilla based cola... but regular coke/coke zero still has a fair amount of citrus flavoring in addition to the vanilla, no?

so anyway, why arent we all just using L-sugar? i recall reading about this years ago in scientific american (i think). basically the sugars that most of life on earth are built on are "right-handed" and if you made "left-handed" sugar, it would activate the same receptors on your taste buds, but not be metabolized by the body. maybe that's the problem... the olestra effect?
posted by joeblough at 10:30 AM on October 7, 2005

A quick Google search comes up with a Wired Article about some guy who was experimenting with left-handed sugars and came up with something similar that was just as good in the process. I think the challenge is mass-production.
posted by abcde at 12:07 AM on October 11, 2005

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