Pickles with splenda?

My kid loves pickles. When I was shopping for the right pickle, I saw these. I fell prey to the marketing and I bought them. I was unloading groceries and noticed that little logo to the right “Splenda.”

I avoid Splenda always. I cannot believe it’s in pickles! I returned them and bought a totally different brand. Are you as shocked as me? Why do need to put additives in everything?

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67 thoughts on “Pickles with splenda?”

  1. That is a pet peeve of mine. So many times I've fallen for the "no sugar added" or "reduced sugar". I tend to assume they mean (shock!) that they are just using less sugar. I'm getting better are being skeptical nowadays after falling for it so many times. I have no problem with a diet soda or something every now and then but I don't want it part of our regular diet.

    I make refrigerator pickles from a recipe I found on allrecipes.com. I tend to reduce the sugar (a LOT – I don't like sweet pickles) and add more water to suit my tastes. Making my own has caused me to discover my love of pickled onions 😉 The kids don't like them though, so when they want pickles we just get dill or half sour or something without sugar since they don't like sweet pickles either.

  2. "No Sugar Added" virtually always means the product contains artificial sweeteners . . . Otherwise, how would they be sweet without added sugar?

    Sorry you got hoodwinked. I would say this is a preventable error though.

  3. After searching through recipes to make homemade pickles I noticed that some pickles have sugar, some do not. Some have lots of salt, some do not. Some have vinegar, some do not. Some are brined, some are not. It all depends on where the pickle comes from and what's the intended end taste. I have a batch of super-sours in my fridge right now and plan on making a more mild bread and butter batch that does have sugar. Your best bet is to start making your own. One type, which is super easy to make, is called refrigerator pickles. Alton Brown's recipe from the Food Network site is the best I've made so far. They are truly addictive.

    Buy pickles with real sugar — the taste and the feel of that particular type of pickle depends on it. Or, if you don't want sugar buy some real Jewish or Polish dills. That is a brining process with no sugar added at all.

  4. Mrs Q.
    While the addition of splenda to pickles can be seen as an additive, a sweetener is included in most pickle recipes I've seen, and particularly for ones described as sweet pickles, as the ones above are.

    I'd be curious to see what other items you buy that you're unaware of what's in them. I know that as I've started cooking more I've found a lot of items that I didn't realize what was in them, or how easy it is to make things from scratch. If (and I realize with a kid that's a big if) you find the time over the summer, try making a few of these at home, and let us know what you find.

  5. This seems like one of those foods where the sugar content can't be that high, so unless you have an allergy or other medical reason for avoiding regular cane sugar, the use of artificial sweetener is unnecessary. Completely. Glad you returned them.

  6. I'm guessing the non-gourmet sweet ones usually have HFCS? I'm not a pickle person so i'm not sure!

  7. Sweet pickles will have to have some sugar added, but yeah–ick, Splenda! Unfortunately, whenever it says "No Sugar Added" you have to double check to see if they added aspertame or Splenda or what since it never means made without sugar. Applesauce is the one where I always get tricked as I don't like it with any sweetener.

  8. Sadly, I'm not shocked. My favorite (not) is the OJ that claims to have 50% less sugar, and is 50% water. I do get upset when foods are labeled "sugar free" only to find and additive more harmful in its place. I avoid splenda as well and would have returned the pickles just as you did.

  9. The label is certainly highly deceptive but… these are sweet pickles and they're made with a little bit of sugar in the brine (as are bread & butter pickles.) That's how you get them to be, well, sweet.

  10. A lot of the fruit juice popsicles on the market are a good example of this too. I usually make my own fruit juice popsicles at home, but my kids' dad bought them popsicles at his house, and he tried to get a kind that's just unsweetened fruit and juice. The box he chose said Fruit Bars and No Sugar Added. There was also "100% Vitamin C" with the 100% in a really big font and the Vitamin C in a much smaller font. So he thought they were 100% unsweetened fruit juice and bought them. Sure enough, they had Splenda in them. It seems like they're deliberately trying to mislead consumers with this kind of marketing.

  11. The only explanation for this I can see is for a medical reason as bread and butter pickles normally do have quite a lot of sugar in them. I could see this being helpful to someone who is diabetic but honestly see no reason for it otherwise.

    Speaking of Splenda, have you seen Splenda + fiber? It's so ridiculous I can't actually believe it.

  12. I really appreciated when Splenda was new there were "Splenda" labels on everything. Now I have to check all the nutritional information to see if there is sucralose. That stuff tastes nasty.

    The most recent thing I didn't notice it in: mouthwash. Why the heck does mouthwash need Splenda?

  13. As a diabetic, I appreciate the Sugar-free aspect of these pickles… Would I consider Splenda an additive? No way. I appreciate the ability to cut carbs any way I can and still enjoy the foods I like.
    By the way, Vlasic still has a sweet pickle with sugar rather than Splenda. The only way to avoid sugar in a pickle is to have sour ones like Kosher Dill….

  14. I don't understand the chagrin. The label seems pretty clear. I think things like this happen because people don't know about the pickling & canning process any more. The minute you saw "no sugar added" on the same label as "sweet pickles" you should have known something was up because, you know, *SWEET* pickles.

    If you want low sugar, you need to buy something like dills instead. I wonder if the splenda ones have more salt in them to offset the reduced sugar content? I don't know if splenda acts to minimize spoilage in the same way sugar & salt do.

    I go around and around with a family member on this… instead of giving up pickles due to high sodium, she rants about how they should put less salt in them. Salt is implied in the process of pickling! Otherwise they'd just be canned cucumbers and you'd have to eat the entire jar soon after opening it. The salt in the brine keeps bacteria & molds from growing. The sugar in sweet pickles and jams/jellies acts in basically the same way. If you want less sugar, eat dill pickles and whole fruit spread instead of sweet pickles and jams.

  15. I generally try to avoid artificial sweeteners, but I was just wondering…is Splenda any worse than the other kinds?

  16. "No sugar" or "Low sugar" just means sweeteners. "Low salt" just means replacing table (sodium) salt with potassium salt (it's still a salt!). And "Low fat" probably just means more additives to get the texture right.

    Ugh… it seems everything in a box is suspect nowadays (and from your earlier post – even the box is suspect! eep!)

  17. I find it unbelievable that so many people are shocked to find that Splenda or another sugar substitute is added when the label says sugar free. What do you and others think would make them sweet? I don't find this shocking or scandalous – the only way to educate yourself is to read the labels. If you can't pronounce what is on there or you don't want to consume an ingredient – make your own or buy organic. I have had to do this, sadly at times, but if it is a non negotiable item that is the choice. Plus, I am very thankful we have some regulation for labels (especially for those with medical issues). I visit familly overseas for extended periods and some other countries don't have this regulation. Trying to keep up the same standards when I shop is very difficult.

    That said – good for you for returning them and buying another brand. I have made that trip myself many a time. Hopefully, one day, these manufacturers will see a trend in consumer habits.

  18. I'm not shocked. I've seen these "bait and switch" techniques a lot in the grocery store. It just goes to show that you have to read everything.

    As to pickles, my son loves them too. We have a fabulous Jewish deli in town that sells the old fashioned "real" (not processed) pickles. I buy pickles at the deli whenever I can.

  19. Someone mentioned mouthwash. If you look at your toothpaste, medication, most chewing gums, and lots of similar products, you'll see tons of artificial sweeteners in them because they need to be sugar-free but need to not taste horrible. It may not be Splenda (sucralose), but it might be one of the "itols" (malitol, sorbitol, etc.). Believe it or not, even some new prescription nasal sprays have Splenda to off-set the bad medicine taste in the back of your throat.

    Personally, I've always been frustrated with the "just short of lying" marketing that Splenda has been able to get away with for years. Their marketing campaigns have always been based on implying one thing by talking-up something irrelevant so that the consumer's brain makes the logical leap from what they said to what they want you to believe/hear. It's quite clever, but terribly dangerous, IMHO and I don't know where you could draw the line.

    For example, "It's made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar." That slogan makes you think, "Well, sugar's natural, so it's a natural-based product. That beats something started from chemicals." In reality, sucralose starts with a sugar molecule (sucrose) and they chemically modify it in a lab so that it's no longer a sugar molecule. In fact, the resulting molecule doesn't really exist in nature. The reason it's zero calories is because our bodies don't know how to absorb or use it, so they just flush it out.

    The "no sugar added" ads are just as bad. Again, they're hyping-up what's not in there and it's worded so your head makes the leap to, "Well, less of something bad is great!" But they always replace it with something else and they leave that part out. 🙁

  20. "No sugar added" is now code for alternative sweeteners, or sometimes fruit juice. Big Food knows we think the term means "healthier," and tries to trick us. I let myself be duped by it just the other day when I bought ice cream cones for my granddaughters. Whoops! And I'm a veteran label reader. We have to be ever on the watch if we want to eat healthy.

    Btw, lunch today, which I'm eating while I catch up on some of my favorite blogs, is a lentil bolani smeared with homemade yogurt and just a little homemade strawberry preserves–yin for the tang yang! Oh yes, and five tiny, blushing apricots from the farmers market the other day. Just the right amount of juiciness and flavor. Yum.

  21. I find it disgusting how many things have Splenda and other artificial sweeteners in them nowadays. It's damn near impossible to find things with regular ole sugar in them (it's all good, folks, in moderation).

  22. I am as annoyed as you. I accidentally bought "lower sugar" oatmeal the other day that used splenda- come on. artificial sweetener is not ok for my children for breakfast!

  23. I still haven't seen an explanation – what's wrong with Splenda? At least it doesn't have the nasty saccharine aftertaste.

  24. The first things I noticed in the picture was the no sugar added and then the Splenda label. I've used Splenda on a rare occasion when drinking hot tea but never in any other form not sure if these would taste the same. That would be my concern but usually I end up buying the store brand or which ever one happens to be the cheapest per ounce/unit. That may have been one of the most important things I learned when I was in school.

  25. Well, you kinda need some sort of sweetener to make sweet pickles. If it's not sugar it's going to be something else. Duh.

  26. I'm with you… I'm not a fan of Splenda or aspartame or any of those. If I'm going to go sweet, it better be the real thing. I wish they'd scale back on this kick.

  27. I'm going to betray my ignorance here and just say that I thought that gherkins were simply thought of as "sweet" as a label more than a description. I didn't realize it referred to the solution in which it was in. I mean, I've never seen "sweet dills." Of course I have never made my own either.

  28. "Splenda." is sucralose and you can find it in a ton of things. sucralose and aspartame give me migraines so I don't try to get things in it myself. I read labels but it seems harder and harder to find things that don;t have sugar additives and high fructose corn syrup it in any more. I am trying to make more form scratch

  29. I just kind of find it odd that Splenda's signature line is "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar" but products are allowed to say "no sugar added." I mean I understand why, but it's still weird to me.

    Read the "Health and Safety Regulation" section for some interesting stuff.

  30. I learned that lesson the hard way when I bought "no sugar added" mandarin slices. I knew the regular ones had "light syrup" so I wrongly assumed that these were not in a syrup, but water or real oj. Silly me.

  31. I've fallen victim to the same shady labeling before and it's so frustrating! I actually found some pickles and relish we really like called Wickles. They don't have any artificial sweetener or HFCS in them. The pickles are a bit on the spicy side, but the relish isn't. Only hangup is the yellow no. 5 in them. I emailed the company once to thank them for not putting HFCS in their product (bc it's the only pickle I've found without it) and then asked "but why the artificial color?" I never heard back from them.

  32. EWWWWW!! I hate splenda!! >_<
    if it needs sugar, put sugar in it.. just put less… or leave it out all together grar!!

  33. After reading this, I thought – Why would anyone put sugar in pickles??? Then I realized they were SWEET pickles. (Luckily I can't stand sweet pickles!) I took a trip to my cabinet and checked out the jar of my favorite polish petite dill pickles. Ahhh… no sugar. Just a healthy dose of Polysorbate 80! Hopefully my bush cuke will grow enough this summer so that I can make my own water, salt and dill pickles!

  34. A few times I've been duped by artificial sweetener! Like I saw "Lower Sugar" oatmeal and thought, at last, they finally figured out they don't need ALL that sugar in the cereal, only to get home and see they replaced the sugar with Splenda or aspartame!

  35. I almost picked up peaches with the "no added sugar label. Yes, I know, I could have bought fresh, but I needed them for a cobbler that day and the fresh ones were not ripe. Anyway, the "no sugar added" ones had a couple of the artificial sweetners so i put them back. I picked peaches in pear juice instead. Its a bit annoying, but I have learned to read the labels of everything I buy.

    LOL, I make my own 50% less calorie OJ. I fill the glass with half OJ and half water. It did take a friend to point out i was paying more for half the OJ when I bought the 50% less OJ.

    We all make mistakes. We have all picked up the "wrong" thing at the store and been dissappointed. Don't sweat it Mrs. Q.

  36. For the person talking about salt in pickles, it's not the same, I know, but I make refrigerator pickles without salt (and with a lot less sugar than the recipe calls for). The vinegar is really what gives it the taste. But again, that's refrigerator pickles and not canned ones (I've never canned so I'm clueless there 😉

    I'm impatiently waiting for the cukes in my garden so I can start making these again 😉

  37. I think I would always advise, if it tastes sweet and says no sugar, look for additives.
    Even fruit can't taste sweet without sugar, albeit naturally occurring, but they are still "sugars".

  38. A) "Less Sugar" and "Lower Sodium" should mean that foods are made less sweet or salty, not that substitutes are added to make up for the missing sugar/HFCS or salt. There are lots of foods I avoid these days for the simple fact they are sickeningly sweet or salty to tolerate.

    B) I can tolerate NutraSweet if it is in something with a citrus profile, like lemonade. I have not yet found anything in which Splenda does not taste bitter and without a hint of sweetness.

  39. As a diabetic, I appreciate having choices that help me control my blood sugar. Can you imagine how hard it can be for a kid with diabetes to eat a very low sugar or no sugar diet especially living in our current food culture? Or how hard it must be for the parent of a kid with diabetes to make sure that child's diet and insulin are properly balanced so he/she doesn't end up in the emergency room or worse (dead)? Or a person diagnosed with the disease at age 65 who has to radically alter 65 yrs. of eating habits in order to successfully manage this complicated and often confusing disease? Products sweetened with Splenda or NutraSweet (aspartame) can make life a little simpler for those of us whose lives are complicated by the need to manage diabetes.

    You know, I find it very interesting that so many commenters say they would like to have low sugar options available but they don't want artificial sweeteners added. They just want products that are less sweet. That, frankly, would be a dream come true for me. Well, Smuckers Low Sugar preserves are made with only about half the sugar used in their regular preserves and they don't add artificial sweeteners. Their Low Sugar preserves truly are less sweet and I find the fruit flavor to be more intense. The problem is, very few people were buying it and most food stores have stopped carrying it. Those that still stock it have cut back on the number of flavors they carry to just one or two. I recently found 2 jars of Smuckers Low Sugar orange marmalade at Target. It felt like I hit the jackpot. My fear is that this product will disappear altogether because it's not popular enough.

    This country is badly addicted to sugar. We've been raising new generations on a diet laden with sugar, a significant portion in the form of HFCS. If we can halt the sugar addiction in school children, I think we will all benefit.

  40. Shannon, while technically you can pickle foods in a straight vinegar solution, cucumber pickles typically do use a brine – unless they are sweet in which case they use more sugar than salt. I suspect if you ask most people, pickling would be synonymous with brining. You can also use a fermentation process in which nonharmful microbes grow and produce lactic acid, which inhibits growth of harmful microbes. That's how Kosher dills and sauerkraut are made.

    Mrs. Q, you don't see "sweet dills" because straight up dill pickles aren't made with a sugar solution. If they add sugar, they then become sweet pickles (by definition). Bread & butter, in my experience, usually do not have dill added. Sweet pickles may have dill, but not always.

    As for "chemicals", all food contains chemicals but I think some people are objecting to Splenda being an artificial sweetener vs. something natural like glucose or sucrose. The salt and vinegar in the pickles are also chemicals, of course. Naturally occurring substances are not always perfectly healthy. Although table salt can be harmful to you if consumed in high quantities, it can also preserve food, keeping it safe to eat for months. If you drink a bottle of bleach, it will kill you. If you add a few drops of bleach to water contaminated during a natural disaster, it can save your life.

  41. Sorry about the accidental splenda! That's the worst!
    If you want to avoid sugary pickles entirely (but don't want the really sour bite of dills), look for "Half-sour" pickles. I don't know if you have Ba-Tempe pickles in your neck of the woods, but if you do, they make a great half-sour that has some pickle flavor without the super-sourness. The brighter green the pickles, the less sour they are. I'm sure other brands make a similar variety.

  42. I can't even buy Vlasic because they also have Yellow #5, which my son can't eat.

    I buy Boar's Head, which are the fancy refrigerated ones sold in the deli.

  43. Splenda is not an additive any more than sugar would be; it's a sugar substitute. My dad is a diabetic and is incredibly glad that he can now eat his beloved pickles again.

    I prefer the non-Splenda sweet pickles, because I think Splenda is just too sweet. But I can definitely see a place for this product.

  44. yum Boar's Head!

    I can't eat artificial sweeteners they give me a migraine. Lots of things give me a migraine. A friend opened a packet of splenda next to me once and the DUST of the splenda drifted over to me and up my nose..and that was it.

    We love cucumbers and pickles at our house.
    Several years ago one of the other ballet mom's gifted me with her home made fridge pickles. She was Korean/Russian so I don't know where exactly the recipe was from and they moved before I got her to write it down. It was one of those "You take some salt and some water and veggies and let them sit then put them in the fridge. I make them all the time"

    If any one knows please write to me.

    The batch she gave me had cucumbers, garlic, califlower, radish and cabbage in the jar. It was fantastic. Not sweet of course.

  45. WICKLES PICKLES If they have them in your area, try them! They have sugar instead of HFCS and are not too sweet. Best yet, they are at the regular grocery store in my area, right next to all the pickles with HFCS, and they are comparably priced. Ever price pickles at the health food store? Yikes!!!!

  46. @ Kim the Diabetic: I absolutely agree that there's a place for artificial sweeteners, both for people who want that choice, and for people like you that have no choice. I was very thankful for Splenda when I had gestational diabetes.

    I think the problem here is that companies are advertising things like these pickles as "low sugar," a term that to me, and obviously others, means less sugar, not something instead of sugar. Why can't they just call it what it is, or what most of us have come to understand as having artificial sweetener: "sugar free".

    Re: Toothpaste. Yes, they tend to contain aspertame, but you're also not (supposed to be) ingesting toothpaste.

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