Some sugar alternatives, such as honey, are produced by nature. Others, called artificial sweeteners, are synthetic creations. Sometimes their names sound a lot like fictional elements. Take this quiz to see if you can tell the difference.
Artificial sweetener or fictional element: lead(II) acetate
Lead(II) acetate, also known as lead sugar, is a salt that is sweet and deadly. It may have been the very first artificial sweetener, but today lead acetate, a compound called litharge mixed with acetic acid, is used as a color additive in certain hair dyes.
Artificial sweetener or fictional element: saccharin
You may know it as Sweet'N Low, but saccharin was first discovered in 1879. In recent decades, this artificial sweetener, which is 200-700 times sweeter than sugar, has had a controversial link with bladder cancer.
Artificial sweetener or fictional element: sucralose
You know this sweetener as Splenda, which hit the U.S. market in 1999. It starts out as sugar (sucrose), but in a five-step process of making sucralose, three hydroxyl (those are the molecularly bonded hydrogen and oxygen atoms in sucrose) are swapped with chlorine atoms, which is what makes sucralose 600 times sweeter than sugar.
Artificial sweetener or fictional element: advantame
Advantame, considered a high-intensity artificial sweetener, is an astonishing 20,000 times sweeter than sucrose and about 100 times sweeter than aspartame. It's a general purpose sweetener derived from aspartame and vanillin; it's also used as an artificial flavor.
Artificial sweetener or fictional element: neohesperdine
Neohesperidine (NHDC), is a bitter compound that, through processing and hydrogenation, becomes 1,500-1,800 times sweeter than sugar. It isn't used in the U.S, but it is approved as a sweetener in the European Union.