Wednesday, 27 February 2013


Do you have a sweet tooth? No of course you don't because you dont taste with your teeth but with your tongue. Pedantic? Moi?

It seems that  mankind has had a taste for sugar since ancient times though we have Christopher Colombus to thank for bringing back cuttings of sugarcane from the Canary Islands in 1492.

In modern times though, sugar has been accused of contributing to our obese society and so, ever keen to meddle with things, we began to seek out substitutes. For a while, saccharin was all the vogue but although initially sweet, it had a bitter, metallic aftertaste which rather defeated the object of making things taste nice.

 Then we tried Aspartame. This does taste sweet and since it works, it is found in a great many foods and drinks. It has a slight downside though. It can trigger adverse food reactions, some serious enough to cause seizures or even death. The reactions include headaches, migraines, muscle spasms, weight gain, depression, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, tinnitus, memory loss, heart palpitations, loss of taste and joint pain. It can also trigger or worsen brain tumours, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, birth defects, fibromyalgia and diabetes. Otherwise its as safe as houses.

If you prefer a natural substitute there's honey of course or Stevia. In case you hadn't heard of this, its a plant from South America which tastes naturally sweet. A well-known fruit juice producer has brought out a new brand of orange juice which uses Stevia as the sweetening agent. I just tried it. It tastes sweet at first but then it has a bitter, metallic aftertaste like - well like saccharin.

Personally, I'm sticking with sugar. One lump or two? 

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