Sunday, July 10, 2011

Artificial Sweeteners and Other Evils

Peg at Cachando Chile posted today about annoyances one has to deal with living in Chile. I have only been here for 9 months (Can you believe it has been 9 months already?!) and I have tried to be flexible and positive. There have honestly only been a few moments where I have been very irritated. Besides the example I added in her comments (about the inappropriate use of emergency lights) there are not very many general irritations.

The only other one I can think of is this:

I HATE artificial Sweeteners!

Is that too emphatic? Well, it is worthy of emphasis. I hate'em!

In the U.S. they seemed fairly easy to avoid, in Chile this isn't quite the case--they are nearly impossible to avoid and products that contain them are not always labelled as "light" or "diet." I was excited to find greek yogurt at the supermarket and was then dismayed at home to find it has sucralose though it doesn't say "light" anywhere... GRR!

I drink pop every once in a while, and when I do, I like regular Coke. I put regular sugar in my coffee. Occasionally, at a party, if there are only diet sodas, I'll break my general rule and drink some, but I try not to break that rule with foods and drinks my kids ingest, but it is nearly impossible: sucralose and aspartame are in everything.

Kids here, like kids everywhere (and adults everywhere, I guess), have problems with obesity--it's a combination of being sedentary and the low cost/easy access of fast food. These issues coupled with the odd cultural fact that Chileans just don't drink water. There is a low-no calorie alternative for every drink available, and they are almost more common than the real-sugar option. There are drops and little tic-tac-like balls and bottles and packets of all kinds and combinations of sugar alternatives.

But when they start making children's juice and soda with alternative sweeteners, I go a little mad. The hardest part of our entire-family vacation in February, was the head-on collision of different feeding criteria. My kids wanted to know why they couldn't drink Frutix--the bane of my existence! whenever they were thirsty (Frutix is an insanely bright colored kids' soda with very low calories thanks to sucralose... and 5% real fruit juice! ps--that last part was sarcasm). I was wildly unpopular for a few days for limiting them to one very small glass with lunch (a painful compromise) and my daughter even requested a different set of parents. My poor kids! I guess I am old-fashioned that way--soda is for special occasions. It is bad enough to see very small children with a baby-bottle full of coke and a bag of potato chips -- for me, the fact that it is probably diet coke makes it worse, not better.

If your children are ingesting too much sugar, cut down. If your children are drinking too many calories in juice and soda, give them water. Why would you give them something that has a limit for acceptable daily ingestion?

Lecture ends and Annje steps down from soap box

p.s. I finally found a vitamin for the kids that doesn't have an artificial sweetener--so excited!

p.s.s I'll try to post more often


Danielle said...

Okay, I'm looking for a new vitamin. hero brand seems to be okay. What's your opinion? P.S. I've missed you...

Annje said...

Hi Danielle! I have missed you too--though I have tried to keep visiting to keep up with your family. I don't know about Hero vitamins, I know in the US there was a natural gummi bear vitamin my kids liked and we also tried Shacklee kids vitamins--which are safe and quality (but you have to order them by mail) But here it has been harder to find vitamins :-(

mosey said...

I too am "old fashioned" when it comes to kid food. It hasn't been too hard in Europe though especially since Sweetpea doesn't like fizzy drinks and is happy with water.

Glad to see you "back"! I haven't commented on a blog in over a month but I made an exception for my first bloggy pal. :)

Phoenix said...

Ick, I hate artificial sweeteners. Maybe next time someone from the US sends you a gift package, they'll include real sugar packets for you to use? Just a thought! :)

Abby said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Fake sugar is nasty, both taste-wise and health-wise, and it is WAY too prevalent here. For full disclosure, though, I do have to admit I have a small addiction to Sprite Zero. But everything in moderation. I only had one at lunch today. Not lunch AND dinner. Haha. What is your opinion on Stevia? I was excited to see it in the g-stores here but then I read the ingredients and most of it is sucralosa still. Bummer.

Annje said...

Abby--(I know someone else who has a thing for sprite zero--had lunch with Eileen today ;-) Everything in moderation is a good strategy! I have not personally tried Stevia--I have heard that it has a peculiar taste to it, which is why they probably mix it here with sucralosa--which for some reason I find funny--sweetening up the natural sweetener with an artificial one.

Emily said...

Rodolfo and I have already realized that our future children will be freaks. We don't plan to have soda in the house, they will drink real juice from fruit, there will be limits on sweets...basically we're child abusers who will doom our children to a lifetime of therapy to get over our cruel treatment of them :)