Thursday, September 16, 2010

Simpler Times

I miss being able to buy food products without scrutinizing the label. I'm not talking about my more carefree days, when I didn't care as much about chemicals or trans fat in food. I'm talking about the manufacturing changes that have taken place over the years. Specifically, I miss the days when I could buy a regular, non-diet food or drink, and not have to check the ingredients for sucralose.

Sucralose was approved for use in the United States in 1998. Since then, it has become the most popular reduced-calorie sweetener, and I pretty much expect it to be in most diet products now. But what about the non-diet products? I've lost a lot of favorite products to this change. Unlike the use of aspartame, manufacturers don't even have to warn us that they're using sucralose; we just have to check the ingredients. All debates about the safety aside, I simply don't like the taste.

I don't drink as many soft drinks as I did in my younger days. Mostly, I drink water now, and when I indulge in a soft drink, it's somewhat of a treat. I was stunned recently to open a can of Shasta, take a drink, and realize that it tasted like a diet drink. What do you think I found on the ingredients list? Sucralose. It was down pretty far on the list, and high-fructose corn syrup was near the top (and yes, I'd much prefer sugar). I didn't even think to check for this before making the purchase; I just saw Shasta on sale at the store and thought it would taste pretty good--and bring back some memories. Well, it did bring back memories--of a time when it tasted so much better, and when trips to the store were much quicker and simpler because I didn't spend so much time checking lists of ingredients.