Friday, November 14, 2008

The Nutra-Sweet Conspiracy!!!

Excerpt from an email I'd sent to Jenny of Blood Sugar 101 and the Diabetes Update Blog (since I thought this was more in her "realm" of expertise!):

So I had to visit the Vampire [aka "Lab"] yesterday. I was due for a Fasting Blood Test (HBA1C, CRP, Lipid Panel, Thyroid stuff, yada-yada). I'd "aided" my sleep the night before, somewhat, w/pharmaceuticals acquired in Mexico, so I could sleep-in and NOT deal with ravenous hunger between my normal wake-up time of 4:45-5:00am and the Lab's opening time of 8:00am (said time is also met with a verrrrrrrrrrrry long line of ppl and verrrrrrrrrrry long wait!). I showed up around 8:30am, dealt with the vampires fairly quickly, and went on my way...

As is typical, I was absolutely STARVING when I came out of there, and I didn't want to deal with cooking breakfast - so I took the "Ninety-Nine-Cent Heart-Attack" approach. (Yeah, over HALF of my daily caloric allotment and well-over my daily carb allowance!) I went to the Drive-Thru at BK and got a Croissandwich (ate less than half of the croissant and scraped the remaining croissant off the egg/cheese/sausage/bacon, so I could eat it!), Side of hash browns (only ate about 1/3 of 'em) and MEGA-SUPER-INDUSTRIAL-STRENGTH-sized coffee...

"You want cream and sugar with that?" queries the disembodied voice thru the scratchy speaker-box.

"Yeah, cream and Sweet 'N Low" I replied.

Well, I drove to the window and paid for my order. They gave me the goods.....

I drove home MORE THAN ready to nosh (my stomach was rumbling audibly at this point)!

Well, the "pink packets" they gave me were - NUTRA-SWEET!!!! Supposedly 'Extra-Sweet' Nutra-Sweet (according to the package anyway). But decidedly NOT saccharine! (In fact, the package was QUITE clear about stating that it was Saccharine-Free!)

Welllllll... Personally, I HATE aspartame and avoid it like the plague. I'm not actually "sensitive" to it (don't get headaches or any of the other 'nasty effects' that some folks have experienced), but I. Just. Don't. Like. It!

For most things, I use Splenda. But for coffee and tea (especially iced tea) - I really LIKE saccharine (probably b/c in my "formative years" when I first started drinking coffee and tea, saccharine was the only game in town - and I've just gotten used to it).

When I saw the PINK packets of Nutra-Sweet - I was simply aghast! I felt strangely "violated" - like "They" (the Nutra-Sweet Folks) were trying to pull a fast-one on me! (Well, not just ME - but the public, in general!!!).

I mean, seriously, after all these years we (the "General Public") have developed a certain "understanding" about all those packets in the sugar dispensers, right?
  • White is Sugar
  • Brown is "Natural" (unbleached) Sugar
  • Pink is Sweet 'N Low (or a generic alternative - but it's SACCHARINE)
  • Blue is Nutra-sweet (or generic aspartame)
  • Yellow is Splenda (or Sucralose)
I did a preliminary "Googling" of "Nutra-Sweet Pink" and haven't stumbled onto any "rants" just yet (Surprisingly!). But I might be Googling it wrong (Perish the Thought!). I did find that the manufacturer of Nutra-Sweet is starting to "market" three different variants of their product in Pink, Blue and Yellow packets (Pink is "Extra-Sweet" - but Saccharine-free. Not sure what that means; Blue is, evidently, reformulated - again - not sure what that means, and Yellow contains a smidgen of Cane Sugar).

Interestingly enough, I also found reference to some lawsuit back in the late-80's/early-90's about Nutra-Sweet getting their dainties in a wad when a competitor ("Sweet One") tried to "muscle in" on their exclusive-use of blue packets (brief description here: It appears that the court may have ruled against Nutra-Sweet in that case... So it seems like maybe now things are coming full-circle!

I lack the tenacity to pursue it much further. But I'm definitely going to be hyper-vigilant whenever I'm dining out - to make sure I *don't* end up using Nutra-Sweet (I carry "Emergency Packets of Pink Stuff" in my purse!).

Still.... I think it sucks that I have to "watch" for this stuff!

So that's my "rant" for today. Jenny's much better about "researching" stuff thoroughly. Turns out she's not a big fan of ANY kinda packaged artificial sweeteners (too much Maltodextrin, aka "dextrose," aka "glucose," aka "Bad for Diabetics!"), so this doesn't really fall under her realm of "Things Worthy of Pursuit."(Only so many windmills can be tilted, after-all!) (To be fair, she actually tackles Legitimate Issues like Flawed "Scientific Studies" - as opposed to "Meaningless Whining" about Aspartame being packaged in pink paper packets!

(Me? I'm All-About-The-Whining!!!)


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