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Fat Guy

Artificial sweeteners

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The recent soda poll got me thinking about artificial sweeteners. I was tasting some Equal recently and it really did taste pretty damn much like sugar. So why are sugar-free manufactured food products that are made with aspartame so nasty tasting on the whole? Shouldn't they be able to pull this off?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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From my experience, shelf life and no resistance to heat. just leave a 6-pack of diet coke in your car trunk for a week or two in the summer, or visit friends wha have had their stash of diet coke in the closet for a year. :wacko:

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In fact there is said to be a serious health risk from soft drinks that have been stored unprotected in very hot climates and then refrigerated at the last minute for consumption -- gas stations in deserts or semi-deserts for instance.


John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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Is it a myth that even artificial sweeteners properly stored might have unhelpful potential health consequences? :huh:

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I was tasting some Equal recently and it really did taste pretty damn much like sugar.

Now you're scaring me.


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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Cabrales: It's contentious. So much of the "pro" evidence comes from scientists whose sources of income include the firms they are defending that it's difficult to read the evidence with confidence. And some of the anti-aspartame voices blame it for practically everything except global warming.

One thing is certain. A good friend who heads a dental school tells us that strongly acidic soft drinks, whether sweetened with sugar or artifical sweeteners, are eating away the enamel of both children and adults at an escalating rate.


John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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In fact there is said to be a serious health risk from soft drinks that have been stored unprotected in very hot climates and then refrigerated at the last minute for consumption -- gas stations in deserts or semi-deserts for instance.

That's a new one on me. Could you post a link or give a pointer to some more info.

disclaimer: Type 1 diabetic

Thanks

Nick :smile:

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The recent soda poll got me thinking about artificial sweeteners. I was tasting some Equal recently and it really did taste pretty damn much like sugar. So why are sugar-free manufactured food products that are made with aspartame so nasty tasting on the whole? Shouldn't they be able to pull this off?

Fat-Guy, try 'Stewerts' diet cream soda. tastes like it was made with sugar.

Watch out for things sweetened with manitol. It's sweet but indigestible. With predictible embarrasing results.

Nick

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I hate to be so negative, but I cannot drink any soda with nutrisweet, ever. It makes me hallucinate. I have only had this three times in my life, and the last time was 12 years ago, when I was working on a kitchen line. The waiter asked, "Does anyone want Coke?" and I asked if it was diet or real. He said "real." I drank some, and went mad. Then he admitted that it was "half and half," and wondered what the big deal was. Well, the "big deal" was that I was hallucinating, and working on a very busy kitchen line on a Saturday night.

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I hate to be so negative, but I cannot drink any soda with nutrisweet, ever.  It makes me hallucinate.  I have only had this three times in my life, and the last time was 12 years ago, when I was working on a kitchen line.  The waiter asked, "Does anyone want Coke?" and I asked if it was diet or real.  He said "real."  I drank some, and went mad.  Then he admitted that it was "half and half," and wondered what the big deal was.  Well, the "big deal" was that I was hallucinating, and working on a very busy kitchen line on a Saturday night.

Wow. Usually I have to down a bottle or two of Robitussen on Saturday nights.

Are you on any other medications that may be contributing to this? Given the amount of Diet Coke I drink, if it was a hallucinogen, I think I would have noticed. I haven't. And now I'm pissed off.

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Phenylketonuria (sp?) is the body's inability to break down aspartame, which naturally occurs in many foods. It is one of the tests given to newborn infants because continued ingestion (and build up in the body) can cause brain damage to those who's body cannot process it. It is possible that the aforementioned hallucinator's liver does a poor job of breaking down aspartame and is getting brain fry. Keep away from the Diet Cokes!

Has anyone tried Splenda? It is expensive, but it tastes just like sugar. In fact, it is sugar that has been "inverted" so that it cannot be processed by humans (or bacteria). So there's no embarrasing gassy emissions when the acidophilous bacteria in your bowels gets ahold of it.

Note to type 2 diabetics: Something that your doctor won't tell you, because he probably doesn't know.... Any type of sweetener, even non-caloric ones, will cause changes in your insulin levels. The human body has adapted a system to immediately start producing insulin when you eat or drink something sweet so that the body is ready to create energy as soon as the sugars are digested. When you drink a diet soda, the body releases the insulin, but there is nothing for it to attach to. This can dramatically lower your blood sugar level. I don't drink diet sodas or drinks unless I am eating some carbs; then the insulin has some sugar to get ahold of.

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Splenda, I think, is what started this whole discussion back in the Soda Poll.

I've actually been enjoying a Veryfine-brand product called Fruit 2 O, which is odd mostly because:

a.) I've previously hated ever product from Veryfine I've ever had

b.) I've hated virtually every "enhanced water" product I've ever had

For some reason I'd previously thought that Manitol was the indigestible sugar derivative that they did research into a few years ago, but a little reseach shows that Splenda (aka sucralose) is indeed it.

BTW: Apparently Xylitol, and in fact ANY sweetener ending in "ol" also have the same laxitive effect as Manitol. So much to learn on the net when you are motivated to look...

A random sampling of Google also shows that the same people worried about aspertame are also worried about sucralose, although they are a tiny bit less vehement than with aspertame. The "big deal" sounds like it has to do with the fact that chlorine atoms are somehow fused with sucrose (a.k.a. plain old white table sugar) to make sucralose.


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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The Queen and I use Equal.


-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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As a weight-conscious carbohydrate watcher, I’ve long had an interest in artificial sweeteners. Cyclamate was my favorite until our masters at the FDA removed it from the market, though it remained available in Canada. The older saccharin took its place, despite sensory defects and some apparently less critical health concerns, which the FDA has since renounced, over potential carcinogenicity. Aspartame seemed a godsend, save for its deterioration with time and/or heat, until health concerns ruled it out for me. (As I recall, aspartame metabolizes into the stimulant amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid, and methyl alcohol, a poison.) Stevia, an herbal sweetener used widely in Japan, remains untainted healthwise, but has a distinctive, though not unpleasant, taste. Sucralose looks to be the best yet; Dr. Atkins, whose opinion I respect in this regard, is unimpressed with criticisms of sucralose, while warning against the dangers of aspartame, and, of course, sugar.

I’ve had good success baking cheesecake with the measure-equivalent version of sucralose. For my daily coffee and tea, I use a mixture of sucralose, saccharin, and stevia, based on Atkins' theory that mixing one’s poisons averages out both their defects and their dangers. I'm not sure whether I'll continue this practice when my stores of saccharin and stevia run out.

I was moved this evening by boredom and the Fat Guy to conduct a limited taste test:

SUGAR. Tastes like… sugar.

SUCRALOSE. Reasonably close, even down to its granular structure.

SACCHARIN. Bitter aftertaste.

STEVIA. Intensely sweet; slight licorice aftertaste.

I’ve never tasted acesulfame-K, and long ago discarded any remaining aspartame. For whatever it’s worth, an extremely sucraholic friend, who got hooked on aspartame when I reminded him that his father was diabetic, recently said that sucralose tasted “just about as good” as aspartame.


"To Serve Man"

-- Favorite Twilight Zone cookbook

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I don't think I've ever tried sucralose, at least not knowingly. Is it typically sold under a brand name, or is sucralose the name on the box?

I had some stevia in its plant form a few months ago. I can see how it would provide sweetness without actually tasting very much like sugar at all.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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A few years ago, while reaching for a diet soda, my husband complained that he was having trouble with short term memory, "finding words" during conversations and fuzzy thinking. I had read an internet article about the negative effects of artificial sweeteners. I got him to quit drinking diet sodas and also put him on gingko biloba . Within 3 weeks , he was feeling back to normal. He's never gone back to soft drinks. We drink hibiscus tea now, straight, or sweetened with white grape juice. And lots of red wine....

I'm not "hard core" anything: I love all food and drink . But artificial stuff ( including margarine ) just seems wrong: seems like it confuses your bodyinto unnatural reactions. Know what I mean?

By the way, I tried using stevia in my morning tea...I was so excited about its possibilities....and I had a "eureka" moment: I LIKE the taste of sugar!

I gave the stevia away...

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I don't really accept that there's a meaningful distinction between artificial and natural when it comes to food. Where do you draw the line? "Real" sugar is a substance so far removed from sugar cane that it strains credibility to call it a non-artificial product. This stevia stuff is probably more natural than white sugar. The tea and grape juice you drink are both heavily manipulated items no doubt (drying, concentrating, etc.), based on plants that have been hybridized over centuries such that nothing like them ever occurred in nature anyway. There's plenty of stuff in nature that can kill you, and there's plenty of artificial stuff that's harmless; and vice versa.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FG, sucralose is sold under the brand name Splenda in two forms:

- Single-portion, light-yellow packets similar to Sweet 'N Low (saccharin, in pink packets), Sugar Twin (also saccharin, in yellow packets), and Equal (aspartame, in blue packets); and

- Bulk granular, in boxes, that replaces an equal volume of sugar in recipes.

The highly refined white Stevia powder found in health-food stores has less of that characteristic licorice taste than the brown liquid form or, I presume, the plant itself (which I have not tasted).

Splenda Web Site


"To Serve Man"

-- Favorite Twilight Zone cookbook

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Thanks.

I tasted the stevia plant in Manitoba, at a hothouse herb-growing operation near Winnipeg. You put a leaf in your mouth and you kind of chew on it a bit, and at first it tastes like a leaf. Then, slowly, this sweetness starts to emerge and it rapidly builds into an overwhelming mouthful of honey-like sticky-sweetness with funky herbal accents. It was not entirely pleasant but I could see how with processing the sweetness could be harnessed. The herb guy told me stevia is something like a thousand times sweeter than sugarcane per whatever measure is used to measure such things.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I don't think I've ever tried sucralose, at least not knowingly. Is it typically sold under a brand name, or is sucralose the name on the box?

Go get some of that Veryfine brand flavored water ("Fruit 2 O", what a horrible name...) for at least one example. of Splenda in an actual product. I won't swear its great, but at least try and see if you can distinguish it from countless other "enhanced waters" which use actual "sugar" instead.

And as to the issue of "naturalness", if you can accept table sugar (sucrose) as natural, I suppose its not a big leap to sucralose, as long as the chlorine thing doesn't bother you.


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Phenylketonuria (sp?) is the body's inability to break down aspartame, which naturally occurs in many foods.  It is one of the tests given to newborn infants because continued ingestion (and build up in the body) can cause brain damage to those who's body cannot process it.  It is possible that the aforementioned hallucinator's liver does a poor job of breaking down aspartame and is getting brain fry.  Keep away from the Diet Cokes!

Has anyone tried Splenda?  It is expensive, but it tastes just like sugar.  In fact, it is sugar that has been "inverted" so that it cannot be processed by humans (or bacteria).  So there's no embarrasing gassy emissions when the acidophilous bacteria in your bowels gets ahold of it.

Note to type 2 diabetics:  Something that your doctor won't tell you, because he probably doesn't know....  Any type of sweetener, even non-caloric ones, will cause changes in your insulin levels.  The human body has adapted a system to immediately start producing insulin when you eat or drink something sweet so that the body is ready to create energy as soon as the sugars are digested.  When you drink a diet soda, the body releases the insulin, but there is nothing for it to attach to.  This can dramatically lower your blood sugar level.  I don't drink diet sodas or drinks unless I am eating some carbs; then the insulin has some sugar to get ahold of.

So, I just heard about this Splenda stuff (guess I've been living under a rock or something). Does anyone know what products are using it? I saw it on Food TV's Unwrapped used in an ice cream. And are there any plans for introducing it to soda drinks?

I have a strange problem with Nutra-Sweet. I used to drink a lot of Diet Coke (5 or 6 a day) and eventually developed an allergic reaction. My lower lip swelled up so much I could actually see it if I looked down. It made for a great Mick Jagger imitation. The first time it happened was on Easter as we were getting ready to leave for Easter Brunch at Pappadeux. My father-in-law called me Angelina Jolie the whole time and I asked the waitress for an extra seat for my lip. It was really funny, albeit slightly embarrassing.

At any rate, I avoid Phenylalinine in all forms and haven't had any problems since. My allergist couldn't test for food-bourne allergies and just said to avoid, avoid, avoid.

It would be nice if the major soda producers developed a diet drink with Splenda, the stuff sounds perfect.


"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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I use stevia in baking quite often when my son's friend is over who has numerous food allergies. I use slightly less than I would with regular sugar. If a recipe calls for a cup, I'll use 3/4 cup for instance. I can't tell the difference in taste in the finished product.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I use stevia in baking quite often when my son's friend is over who has numerous food allergies.  I use slightly less than I would with regular sugar.  If a recipe calls for a cup, I'll use 3/4 cup for instance.  I can't tell the difference in taste in the finished product.

Stevia is not an artificial sweetener - a plant that can be grown at home. The leaves are dried and powdered for a very sweet food additive - refined to make white powder. Figured someone would ask, sooner or later. Some claims for health benefits as well.

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Why do artificial sweeteners dissolve so much better than sugar?

Can sugar be altered in such a way as to make it dissolve as well as Equal or Sweet-n-Low?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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