When Artificial Sweeteners Go Too Far . . .

My family has a particular recipe for tuna salad that I have loved my entire life. The perfect blend contains tuna packed in water, boiled eggs, apples, mayonnaise, and sweet pickles. I assembled the elements a few days ago and lamented a lack of sweet pickles. The wife went to the store and brought some home. I added them to the mix. Something was terribly wrong. I examined the pickle jar. My sweet pickles had been “sweetened” with Splenda. Completely unacceptable. The low carb diet has damaged our culinary dignity.

On a side note, I am a world class consumer of Diet Coke. I think it is the finest beverage known to man. Forgive me, winos. I recently tried a version of Diet Coke made with Splenda. Disaster. For some things, good old aspartame is better. In no case, however, would I like to see pickles sweetened with aspartame, either.

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17 thoughts on “When Artificial Sweeteners Go Too Far . . .

  1. Are you sure that your love for Diet Coke isn’t brought about by a combination of familiarity and caffeine addiction? I recently tried the stuff after not having any for at least a decade, and I had to spit it out.

    As far as I’m concerned, Man has yet to devise a palatable artificial sweetener.

  2. Sugar and I don’t get along too well, so if I want something sweet, I lean towards the artificial sweeteners. For what it’s worth, a friend of mine tells me that splenda is the least harmful of the lot. A doctor friend of mine tells me that aspartame will rot your brain out.

    Recently, I discovered that tea of all kinds is laced with anti-oxidants, so I’ve been drinking a lot of iced tea and just skip the sweeteners. I can’t say I miss them much.

  3. John, you’ve just armed my enemies. They will surely say my brain is rotten because I’ve drunk a few tons of the stuff.

  4. Sorry Hunter. But Im sure the brilliance of your writings will prove to them that it hasn’t gotten to you—yet!

    My wife thinks I imagine this, but I actually sense something slightly unpleasant in my head if I drink a lot of aspartame-sweetened beverages. You’ve been warned.

  5. A doctor friend of mine tells me that aspartame will rot your brain out.

    The science linking aspartame to physical maladies is substantially of the junk variety. And let’s not forget that we have aspartame because the act of a hysterical Congress forced cyclamate off the market. (After all the Tab-drinking suburban housewives had a fit, they exempted saccharine.)

    Splenda does seem to me to be kind of nasty tasting, though — I don’t get why it’s supposed to be such a big breakthrough. By accident, I bought the kids some Splenda-fied Trix cereal. It looked and tasted like it had been shellacked.

  6. Once the great Kathy Hutchins has spoken, the creative potential of a subject has generally been dressed up, taken for a nice walk, fed a little snack afterwards, kissed and put to bed with a smile on its face.

    I will only add that as a world-class consumer of Aspartame (although I prefer Diet Dr. Pepper to Diet Coke), I can asseverate that it leaves one’s brain in pristine condition – as sure as my name is… er, one second, let me check my driver’s license…

  7. First off, let me say I’m thrilled Kathy is here. I’ve already had a Houston D.A. ask me where she’s been all his life!

    Second, Tab sucked and is just slightly better than liver-flavored soda.

    Third, Jay, you need to move to Waco. Dr Pepper was born there and it rules over the community.

    Fourth, I think Splenda’s breakthrough is that it works better with baking and maybe with sweetening tea. Otherwise, I don’t know why everyone is rushing to incorporate it.

    Fifth, we need Tlaloc to break in with a good curmudgeonly remark!

  8. Once the great Kathy Hutchins has spoken, the creative potential of a subject has generally been dressed up, taken for a nice walk, fed a little snack afterwards, kissed and put to bed with a smile on its face

    Having consumed approximately 1.5 million hogsheads of diet soda in my life, my brain is so addled I can’t tell if Homnick is praising me or begging me to shut up. (I am in fact so confused that I honestly think Giant brand diet grape soda tastes good.)

    Just popped back because I forgot to add that sugar’s role in pickles is not just to sweeten them. Sugar replaces water inside plant cells during the pickling process and has a lot to do with producing that dense texture. I doubt very much that Splenda has the same effect, and probably makes the pickles watery and rubbery in addition to foul tasting.

  9. Let us not forget that there is another sweetening option. The South American herb called stevia. It is safe (indeed there are actually health benefits), calorie free, and much sweeter than sugar. I have tried it in the past and it is not bad. I suspect it would work best in my iced tea, but experimentation might find other possibilities. This Reform Club discussion on sweeteners has inspired me to seek it out again.

    The one problem with it is that you can only get it as a dietary supplement in health food stores because the FDA has ruled that it is an “unsafe” food additive. This decision, however, was made almost certainly at the behest of the politically powerful sweetening industry and despite the fact that the herb has been used as a sweetener for many years in other countries.

  10. Come, Kathy, surely you can tell that I’m drooling all over my bib in admiration as I write about you.

    Clear thinker (agrees with me), perky writer and great personality shining through – I’m smitten and, when I add a pinch of aspartame, besotted.

  11. Oh, Hunter, I’d rather hang out in Reno and dodge wackos than live in Waco and dodge Renos.

    Just kidding. I have left my childhood in New York and my ex-wife in Chicago and settled comfortably in Miami. As for ruling Peppers, you might recall that the former Wise Old Man of the Congress was Claude Pepper of Florida.

  12. “Fifth, we need Tlaloc to break in with a good curmudgeonly remark!”

    In my day we had cane sugar and I don’t recall anyone complaining!

    Curmudgeonly enough?

    I can’t stand artifical sweetners personally. If I need it sweet I’ll deal with the tooth decay of honest sugar.

  13. It would have been truly Curmudgeonly if he had followed Dana Carvey’s example and said, “In my day we only had cane sugar—–and we liked it that way!!!”

  14. To be like Dana Carvey he would have had to say, “In my day we didn’t even have sugar. We cut up paper into tiny little bits and sprinkled it over our cereal . . .AND WE LIKED IT THAT WAY!”

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