This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: Sucralose is pissing me off  (Read 592 times)

Arminius

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7270
    • View Profile
    • http://ewilen.livejournal.com/
Sucralose is pissing me off
« on: December 18, 2007, 11:45:46 PM »
Sorry, not even remotely connected to RPGs, unless you count the fact that munchies and soft drinks are typical fare at game sessions. But I need to get this out there and I hope it has some effect.

A couple weeks or more ago, my wife and I were shopping and we saw some "Aquafina Flavor Splash Wild Berry" on the shelf. We've enjoyed some stuff that seemed similar such as the various flavored Crystal Geyser sparkling waters. So we buy it and take it home, my wife tastes it, and she says it's horrible. I assume it's just her taste, so I don't actually try the stuff until some time later...but when I do, yuck. This is very obviously artificially sweetened crap. When it comes to artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, I know there are a lot of people who think they're a threat to health, etc. Maybe they are, but I don't personally worry about it because, not being on a diet, I have no reason to use them. About the only place I find them unobjectionable taste-wise is in chewing gum (almost all gums have some aspartame in them).

So here's what the front of the bottle says:

"0 Calories per serving"

No real hint there; water plus a small amount of berry essence isn't going to have very many calories per 8 oz. serving, and the FDA allows the 0 calories claim for anything under 5 calories per "reference amount".

"Wild Berry Naturally Flavored"
"Naturally Flavored Water Beverage"


One would think that "Naturally Flavored" means "Naturally Flavored", not "Artificially Flavored with some Natural Flavorings". Unless sweet is not considered a flavor. Which I believe, according to science, it is, one of the four (or five) fundamental ones.

So where am I informed that this product is not, after all, natural water plus berry flavor, but in fact a chemical soup? Well, on the back there's a great deal of text, again mentioning "0 Calories" (three times) "sugar free" (twice) and "Naturally Flavored" (three times). "Sweetened with sucralose" appears exactly once outside the ingredients themselves.

This is the second time I've bought something which was artificially sweetened with sucralose and was rather deceptively packaged. The other time was when I bought a cereal that was packaged as "half the sugar" but at least that had a little Splenda symbol off in a corner. Besides, Aquafina is a brand that trades on its supposed "purity"--even though, there's an interesting story behind that.

Not like their chief competitors are much better. Dasani flavored water? Also Splenda. Nestle Pure Life? Splenda. And neither shows the Splenda logo on the label, as far as I can tell from pictures I've found of the bottles.

So now it seems that anything which is even vaguely marketed as low- or no-calorie must be treated as possibly containing an artificial sweetener (and who knows what else), where once we could take it for granted that anything not labelled as "diet" or "artificially sweetened" would be regular food. Great. :mad:

John Morrow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6254
    • View Profile
Sucralose is pissing me off
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2007, 12:02:01 AM »
Yeah, I've started to read the ingredients on anything that might be sweet and claims to have reduced calories or no calories, and it's easy enough to miss sucralose or mistake it for sucrose if you don't know what you are looking for.  Of course I also wish the US would stop playing games with sugar prices so that we could have foods sweetened with sugar instead of corn syrup.  I can taste that difference, too.
Robin Laws' Game Styles Quiz Results:
Method Actor 100%, Butt-Kicker 75%, Tactician 42%, Storyteller 33%, Power Gamer 33%, Casual Gamer 33%, Specialist 17%

J Arcane

  • Esquire
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7790
    • View Profile
    • http://www.bedroomwallpress.com
Sucralose is pissing me off
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2007, 12:06:07 AM »
On the upside, at least Splenda doesn't make you shit undigestible cooking oil for a week.  

I dodged that bullet, thankfully, but the guy who got my can of "Pringles Light" or whatever the fuck after I took a few chips and hated it, was not so lucky.
Bedroom Wall Press - Games that make you feel like a kid again.

Arcana Rising - An Urban Fantasy Roleplaying Game, powered by Hulks and Horrors.
Hulks and Horrors - A Sci-Fi Roleplaying game of Exploration and Dungeon Adventure
Heaven's Shadow - A Roleplaying Game of Faith and Assassination

John Morrow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6254
    • View Profile
Sucralose is pissing me off
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2007, 12:18:44 AM »
Quote from: J Arcane
On the upside, at least Splenda doesn't make you shit undigestible cooking oil for a week.


Yeah, "Low Fat" now requires a careful look at the ingredients label, too.
Robin Laws' Game Styles Quiz Results:
Method Actor 100%, Butt-Kicker 75%, Tactician 42%, Storyteller 33%, Power Gamer 33%, Casual Gamer 33%, Specialist 17%

J Arcane

  • Esquire
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7790
    • View Profile
    • http://www.bedroomwallpress.com
Sucralose is pissing me off
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2007, 12:22:05 AM »
Quote from: John Morrow
Yeah, "Low Fat" now requires a careful look at the ingredients label, too.
I just avoid basically every thing with the terms "low fat", "low sugar", "diet", etc., etc.
Bedroom Wall Press - Games that make you feel like a kid again.

Arcana Rising - An Urban Fantasy Roleplaying Game, powered by Hulks and Horrors.
Hulks and Horrors - A Sci-Fi Roleplaying game of Exploration and Dungeon Adventure
Heaven's Shadow - A Roleplaying Game of Faith and Assassination

Arminius

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7270
    • View Profile
    • http://ewilen.livejournal.com/
Sucralose is pissing me off
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2007, 01:30:26 AM »
Thanks for the sympathy, guys.

On further research, I think a case could be made that soft drink manufacturers who use artificial sweeteners are in violation of FDA regulations if they don't clearly state that their products are artificially sweetened. I'm not a lawyer, but this is how I see it.

Ref 1: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-ind2a.html

"Artificially sweetened products are required to be labeled as Special Dietary Foods (21 CFR 105.66)."

Ref 2: referring to the Code of Federal Regulations which can be accessed here, under 21 CFR 105.3(a)(2),
Quote
The use of an artificial sweetener in a food, except when specifically and solely used for achieving a physical characteristic in the food which cannot be achieved with sugar or other nutritive
sweetener, shall be considered a use for regulation of the intake of calories and available carbohydrate, or for use in the diets of diabetics and is therefore a special dietary use.

I.e., presence of sucralose presumptively classifies a food as "diet".

21CFR172.831 regarding sucralose, states
Quote
If the food containing the additive purports to be or is represented to be for special dietary use, it shall be labeled in compliance with part 105 of this chapter.

This is somewhat redundant given that artificial sugar substitutes presumptively make a food a "diet" food. However there can be little doubt that the "0 Calorie" claim on the label is being made for dietary reasons.

21CFR105.66 covers the labeling requirements for diet foods. Section (b) applies here.

Quote
(b) Nonnutritive ingredients.

(1) Any food subject to paragraph (a) of this section [i.e. a dietary food] that achieves its special dietary usefulness by use of a nonnutritive ingredient (i.e., one not utilized in normal metabolism) shall bear on its label a statement that it contains a nonnutritive ingredient and the percentage by weight of the nonnutritive ingredient.

    (2) A special dietary food may contain a nonnutritive sweetener or other ingredient only if the ingredient is safe for use in the food under the applicable law and regulations of this chapter. Any food that achieves its special dietary usefulness in reducing or maintaining body weight through the use of a nonnutritive sweetener shall bear on its label the statement required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, but need not state the percentage by weight of the nonnutritive sweetener. If a nutritive sweetener(s) as well as nonnutritive sweetener(s) is added, the statement shall indicate the presence of both types of sweetener, e.g., ``Sweetened with nutritive sweetener(s) and nonnutritive sweetener(s).''


In short, as diet foods, drinks containing artificial sweeteners are required to have on their labels a statement that they contain a "nonnutritive sweetener". However the Aquafina bottle only says (on the back of the label) that it's "sweetened with sucralose" without identifying it as a nonnutritive ingredient.

Lawbag

  • Ghost of the Navigator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1100
    • View Profile
    • http://m.1asphost.com/Lawbag/
Sucralose is pissing me off
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2007, 07:03:03 AM »
I tend to steer well clear of anything with Aspartimine or Sweetners.
"See you on the Other Side"
 
Playing: Nothing
Running: Nothing
Planning: pathfinder amongst other things
 
Playing every Sunday in Bexleyheath, Kent, UK 6pm til late...

Arminius

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7270
    • View Profile
    • http://ewilen.livejournal.com/
Sucralose is pissing me off
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2007, 12:06:36 PM »
Aspartame, my friend. Aspartamine is an amino acid found in artichokes and asparagus, though more commonly known as asparagine. The two substances, aspartame and aspartamine/asparagine appear to be chemically related based on some web searches, but they're not the same.

This brings up a point, though, about names. Splenda is a trade name, while "sucralose" is the chemical name. But as such, it's an arbitrary one that doesn't follow common conventions. When sucralose was approved by the FDA, objections were raised to the name on the grounds that it obscured the nature of the ingredient and seemed likely to encourage confusion with sucrose. It was argued that "trichlorogalactosucrose" would be a more accurate name for the substance. The FDA's response was in my opinion, a travesty:
Quote
While the names suggested by Malkin may be suitable for describing the nature of the substance to a chemist, they are not the most direct and simple terms for the average consumer. FDA recognizes that the precise chemical names of additives may not be helpful for consumers and has permitted the use of a simple coined name that consumers can understand. For example, none of the three intense sweeteners currently allowed in food, saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium, are described by their specific chemical names. This causes no confusion, however. The important issue is whether the name is commonly used for the substance and whether that name could be misleading for some reason.

The ruling goes on to say that since "sucralose" was already a term used in other English-speaking countries, it wouldn't be confusing to allow its use in American labels. Of course, this raises the question of the process by which the term gained acceptance elsewhere. The JEFCA (a joint WHO/UN body) initially refused to accept the renaming (section 4 here) but somehow changed its mind at a later date, rather conveniently in the middle of the FDA deliberations.

Of course what this suggests is that any artificial food additive is now subject to being given a name which hides its synthetic nature or even serves to confound it with natural ingredients. What the FDA ignored in citing the precedents of saccharine, aspartame, and acesulfame is that those names bear no similarity to other common ingredients such as sucrose, dextrose, fructose, and glucose.