Stop it with the zero-calorie sweeteners

I love my Sodastream carbonator. But I don’t like how all of its soda syrups have “50% less sugar” by them replacing it with Stevia or sucralose. Yesterday at Target I saw that they had a new line of syrups that claimed to be made of just fruit juice, and I looked at the ingredients, and didn’t see anything problematic, so I bought some.

Just now I made a cup of soda with it, and at the first sip realized that they’d snuck Stevia in. I looked at the ingredients again, and there was at the very end, steviol glycosides – the distilled essence of what makes Stevia Stevia.

So, that’s $10 down the drain, literally.

I totally get it. Some people like Stevia. They can’t tell the difference between it and sugar, or they don’t mind the flavor of it, and would rather have the reduced calorie content. People like that are going to seek out things that are labeled as having Stevia.

But people who can’t tolerate the flavor of it aren’t going to appreciate it. (That describes me.)

People who get headaches from the glycemic effect of zero-calorie sweeteners aren’t going to appreciate it. (That also describes me. It is also apparently a very common thing with fibromyalgia, go figure.)

People who are allergic to ragweed are really not going to appreciate it.

Sure, it’s great for people to cut their sugar intake. Do you know how I do it? By drinking soda in moderation. When I want sugary soda, I am absolutely planning for how much sugar I’m getting, and just not drinking it very often. Honestly, most soda is just plain too sweet for me to begin with – and Stevia-sweetened sodas tend to be even sweeter. And there’s plenty of evidence that some artificial/zero-calorie sweeteners don’t even help with weight loss anyway, because the same thing that tricks the taste buds into thinking it’s sweet also trick the metabolism into thinking that there’s sugar to process, causing a glycemic response. Which can be catastrophic for someone with unmanaged diabetes.

I do not appreciate being tricked into drinking Stevia (or sucralose, or aspartame, or saccharine), nor do a lot of other people.

Various random ginger ales. Ikea’s various fruit sodas. Basically everything made by Sodastream. Those are all things that have snuck in Stevia, in many cases unlabeled (certainly not labeled as “diet” or “reduced calorie” except maybe in buried marketing material – which still doesn’t even say what they’re replacing the calories with – and possibly deep in the ingredients listings which aren’t always available at the point of sale), and have given me a bad time or at least a literal bad taste in my mouth.

Label your goddamn sweeteners. People either want them – in which case they’ll actively buy your product – or they don’t, and won’t appreciate being deceived into buying something based on bad labeling. Especially something that can give them an incredibly bad time.

Cut that shit out, for goodness sake.


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