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For those of you who by some extremely unlikely set of circumstances happened to stumble upon this page, I apologize to you. For those of you who intentionally came to this page - yikes! As the title of the weblog indicates, these are my Ramblings About Whatever. There is a chance that I will ramble about just about anything (as I am in this introduction), but only a select few topics will actually make this site. Enjoy! (I guess...)

Monday, April 9, 2007

Sweet Imitation: Fake Sugar

I came across this very interesting story. (Okay maybe it is not nearly as interesting to you as it is to me, and yes, I am exceedingly proud of myself for finally discovering how to put a link to another article within the text itself.) But since you may not be very fond of reading something of extensive length, other than that which I have written (goodness knows that I shudder at such a thought), I will as briefly as I am able describe to you what is at issue. By the way, I like to call this:

Sweet Imitation: Fake Sugar

Essentially this story boils down to the fact that the maker of the sweetener Splenda and the maker of its competitor, Equal, are engaged in some big court battle because Equal's maker, Merisant, claims that Splenda's maker, McNeil (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), is guilty of false advertising in its description of Splenda. Essentially, Merisant wants McNeil to be forced to change its advertising campaign, and perhaps forfeit some profits, because McNeil has given the impression that Splenda is natural and/or that McNeil improperly claims that Splenda is made from sugar. Wow, what a tough call - who to support, who to support? Actually, this is not such a tough call. This court case seems like utter crap, and I'm firmly behind the good people who make Splenda.

There are a number of reasons behind my support of McNeil. First of all, my aunt works for Johnson & Johnson, or one of its subsidiaries, and I figure that if ever she decides to do the right thing and disowns my cousins, her two daughters, then I must certainly be one of the first in line to receive her inheritance. In view of this, what's bad for Johnson & Johnson could be bad for my own personal possible future inheritance, so I say, let's go McNeil! Show those Merisant bastards how it's done! My personal greed aside, let's continue to examine my reasons for supporting McNeil.

If you were not aware, the compound that makes Splenda sweet is sucralose, an artificial sweetener that is produced when chloro substitutions are made for three hydroxyl groups within the sucrose molecule. Now, sucrose is what most people know to be ordinary table sugar. It is a disaccharide composed of the two monosaccharides glucose and fructose. But guess what; scientifically speaking, glucose and fructose themselves are sugars - simple sugars. To that extent, it would be 100% accurate to claim that something is made from sugar if it contained glucose but not fructose, and fructose but not glucose. However, the case of Splenda is slightly more complicated. Since both the fructose unit and the glucose unit of the molecule have at least one hydroxyl group replaced by chlorine (fructose has two, glucose one), it becomes slightly difficult to say that sucralose is in fact made from sugar. But, as I understand the process, sucralose is synthesized by starting with sucrose in its natural form and replacing the hydroxyl groups with chlorine. That in and of itself is enough for me to agree with McNeil that Splenda is made from sugar. And for those still skeptical, what if I told you that in the process of making sucralose the hydroxyl groups that were replaced with chlorine were actually added back in when formulating the rest of the Splenda product? Would you agree with me then that Splenda can in fact back up its claim to be "made from sugar"? Well, I'm telling you that this is the case. Now, some of you may be wondering about the veracity of that last statement, but don't worry yourselves with trivial matters.
McNeil and Splenda are the winners (and should be in the court proceedings). Merisant, and separately the Sugar Association, are mad because they just cannot compete with Splenda. In the case of Merisant, they are just mad because their Equal product just isn't selling as well as Splenda and that the aspartame in Equal might just cause cancer. (Look! I did it again!)
So do what's right, choose Splenda. (In the interest of full honesty, I actually use real sugar, but you should choose Splenda.)

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