I have been getting a lot of questions about which types of sweeteners I use. Please note: I am NOT a nutritionist, this is just a brief summary of the types of sweeteners I like to use.
Stevia is a natural sweetener and comes from a leaf. Apparently there are two sides of the leaf, one side is a little more bitter and one side is a little sweeter. Truvia, Stevia in the Raw, and KAL are three of the brands of stevia I like to use. I am not a nutritionist, but from what I understand, the Truvia brand is made from the sweeter side of the Stevia leaf and is a little more expensive. Stevia in the Raw is made from the slightly bitter side of the leaf and is a little less expensive. I typically use Stevia in the Raw when I am baking protein bars and Truvia in my coffee. My favorite brand to use is the KAL brand Stevia (I use this in my frozen egg whites recipe) but you can usually only find this brand online (I get it through amazon.com). It seems expensive, but it is very condensed so you only use 1 tiny scoop (the scoop is smaller than a pencil eraser) at a time. The Kal brand of Stevia is my preferred brand because it doesn't have maltodextrin or other fillers added to it - it is just pure Stevia.
Xylitol is a sweetener that occcurs naturally in fruits and some vegetables. I sometimes use Xylitol because they are they only type of non-artificial sweeteners I have found that have a brown sugar and a powdered sugar variety.
Both Stevia and Xylitol are good alternatives to sugar and Splenda it just depends on what you prefer. Some people like Stevia better some people like Xylitol. Personally I don't really notice a difference in taste when I bake with one over the other, but some people do. Xylitol can be dangerous to dogs, so if you have dogs make sure you keep it away from them.
Splenda (aka sucralose) is something I try to stay away from for the most part. I love Jillian Michael's quote that says, "Food Tip: Most sugar substitutes are just as evil as sugar itself. Do you really think your body knows how to handle a man made chemical concoction? These chemically-adjusted products do not occur in the wild; there are no sucralose trees in warmer climates, nor are there saccharin plants on the plains of the Serengeti. In some instances, taking in sugar substitutes may actually increase your levels of hunger. Avoid anything in a blue, yellow, or pink packet. Try xylitol or a stevia product like Truvia for a low calorie sugar substitutes that’s safe."
For the most part I try to stay away from Splenda. There are some supplements I use occassionally that have Splenda in them or if I am out at a restaurant and order coffee I will sometimes use Spenda as my sweetener if I don't have Truvia packets in my purse. But, I try not to bake with it or use it on a regular basis. Here is a really eye opening article about Splenda: http://uniquehealthandwellness.com/?p=109