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08/13/2004: "Applesauce"

I had occasion to eat a great deal of applesauce a couple weeks ago because I had my tonsils removed. One day I opened a new container of applesauce and took a nice big bite...to be SLAMMED with the taste of sugar! It was disgusting. I looked at the label and found that this applesauce had been sweetened with Splenda. The thing about applesauce is that it is essentially concentrated apple, which is already highly sweet from its own fructose. Adding any sweetener is overkill.

Just a few hundred years ago, sugar was unheard of in European cooking. Now we sweeten toothpaste, mouthwash, and even sugar. We have super-sweeturated sugars - Aspartame and Saccharin - which are several times as sweet as sucrose. Our bodies enjoy sugar...we evolved in this way because foods that naturally contain sugar are good for you. Now we have isolated this compound and are adding it to a large portion of the things we eat.

No wonder so many of us are fat.

Replies: 3 Comments

on Thursday, November 18th, Roger Hofer wrote

By the way, I just got on the NeoTame website and they claim it's only 8,000 times as sweet as sugar. The other figure was from a non-official website. Also, I got the FDA date wrong. It was in July, not October (bad memory here).

on Thursday, November 18th, Roger Hofer wrote

In so far as weight gain, sucralose (trade named Splenda) could be a very big help for our sugar-addicted society. The sucralose molecule is a chlorinated sugar molecule, replacing three of the hydroxyl groups with chlorine. The process renders a substance 600 times as sweet as sugar (no, that is not a typo), totally non-digestible, and perhaps the best imitation yet of real sugar. Sucralose also can withstand very high temperatures whereas asparame cannot and thus making is suitable for a whole new arena of baked products (notice it’s in the new light microwave kettle corn).

From the perspective of a drink manufacturer, for example, there will be a lot of incentive to use sucralose over aspartame (itself 200 times as sweet as sugar) once the patent expires and generics are available. Why? Think about it: 600 times as sweet as sugar! That means 1/600 the amount of space needed. 1/600 the amount of storage needed. That is 1/600 the weight to haul to the manufacturer. You get the idea. But sucralose is no longer the heavy weight champion of sweetness.

As of October 2002 the FDA approved a new sweetener closely related the aspartame named Neotame. This bad boy is 13,000 as sweet as sugar! They say one lick of that stuff and your tongue fails to register anything but sweetness for the next 48 hours! Ok… that last sentence I made up, but it sure was believable, huh!

One might wonder why packs of Splenda or NutraSweet aren’t hundreds of times sweeter than sugar or why they are so darned big. Well, that’s because they aren’t pure forms of their associated artificial sweeteners. If they were that’d be really bad since putting a pinhead-sized pile of powder in your glass of coffee might frighten some simple folk (although I think it would be cool). The most popular “fluff up” compound is a cornstarch-derivative called maltodextrin, itself a real sugar! Yeah, it’s a real sugar (as in it really has calories), but mostly it’s fluff. So, if there is a real sugar in artificial sugar packets, how come they have 0 calories? That would be because they don’t. Each packet has less than 0.5 calories, so they can label it zero calories. Oh, and by the way, “calories” is really an annoying misnomer for someone like me. We are actually talking about kilocalories, but I digress.

on Friday, August 13th, Visitor wrote

That is so true.

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