What they may not know is that the sweetening agent is only a minor component of what's in the packet. Would you like to get your hands on some pure, uncut sucralose? I know that I would.
Now, before you ask, you don't need fancy equipment or laboratory conditions to do this. If, however, you are like me - a grad student with some time to kill on the weekend - it sure doesn't hurt.
Step 1: Educate!
Like, 600 times sweeter than sugar.
So, if you got a sugar-sized packet of pure sucralose, your iced tea would taste like rock candy. So, Splenda actually contains mostly flavorless maltodextrin.
But how do we separate the sucralose from the maltodextrin?
Well, the chlorine atoms make sucralose much more hydrophobic (oil-liking) than an ordinary sugar like maltodextrin. So, by using a nonpolar solvent like acetone or isopropanol the sucralose can be dissolved and the maltodextrin filtered off.
For you organic chemistry fans out there, I've included the synthesis below.