Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Sweet To Me

The Wall Street Journal Online had an interesting article about artificial sweeteners. I don't usually pay much attention to them, but I do use the fake stuff. And it seems lately Truvia is gaining quite a bit of attention. I usually refer to artificial sugar by the color of the package it’s in, that's how little I care, but I know I should care more. And I’m not so much brand loyal as I am color loyal. I like the ‘pink’ sugar (saccharin) in iced tea, the ‘yellow’ (sucralose) in coffee and the ‘blue’ (aspartame) in a yogurt I make at home. I’ve never taken too much notice to what’s in them or what it’s going to do to me if I consume too much, since I don’t consume very much at all, but what I do know is I don’t like them interchanged. I can’t stand the ‘blue’ or ‘pink’ in coffee, it leaves an aftertaste, the ‘yellow’ is too subtle for iced tea and the ‘blue’ I only like in my yogurt because I grew up eating it. But, what's interesting is what I really haven’t developed a taste for is the new sweetener Stevia or Truvia (rebiana with erythritol), although to be fair, I’ve only tried it in coffee. I’ve seen green and white packages around and I personally find they give my coffee a bad aftertaste; worse than the aftertaste of coffee, although it’s known for having a sweet, clean taste. Anyway, it seems this new sweetener is more expensive because it claims it is natural, so consumers are loving it. I don’t usually bake with artificial sweeteners and when I do, I of course use the Abel & Schafer One by One Sugar Substitute 43066 which contains maltitol and sucralose and is not only Parve but also non-GMO. I find that this gives me the best luck with consistency, measuring and flavor. To judge which powdery white "sugar" the author liked best, he did a "non scientific" taste test where he added 1 packet each of the popular retail sugars and put it into a small cup of hot coffee. Fortunately, they are all a little more hidden in baked goods! See what you think;
Calories: 0

Sweetening agent: Rebiana
Verdict: Smells like cupcake icing, granular texture like sugar.
Sweetness overpowers the coffee's flavor. We detected a 'Tab'-like aftertaste.

Calories: 0

Sweetening agent: Sucralose
Verdict: No aroma with a subtle, acidic but not overly chemical taste. A little like soap water.

Calories: 0

Sweetening agent: aspartame
Verdict: Super-concentrated sweetness, not in a good way. Leaves a metallic aftertaste.

Calories: 0

Sweetening agent: saccharin
Verdict: Subtle sweetness that doesn't knock the edge off strong coffee. Aftertaste is like a copper pipe.

Domino SUGAR
Calories: 15 per teaspoon

Sweetening agent: sucrose
Verdict: About half the sweetness of the others with less aftertaste. Leaves coffee flavor unsullied. Doesn't dissolve as quickly.

The WSJ article was a bit more detailed and probably more interesting. If you have a few minutes, give it a read.

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