Thursday, January 1, 2009

Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine

I need to amend an earlier post in which I disparaged diet sodas. The brunt of my vitriol should go to that effervescent turpentine, Diet Coke. I hate the way people order it at a restaurant, especially when the waiter says, "What would you like to drink with that [fattening entree]?" and the person says, "Oh, I'll just have a diet." A "diet?" As if someone can be so chummy with a drink to give it a cute abbreviated nickname. If you want your innards embalmed by aspartame, can you PLEASE at least say "Diet Coke?"

But I will not deny that I do indulge in the king of all diet drinks, FRESCA. By "indulge" I mean the New Year's Eve bender in which I drank between 12-15 in the course of 8 hours. I woke up this morning feeling my duodenojejunal flexure pulsating, angry and irritated that I consumed a product that, according to the ingredients, contains:
Carbonated water, citric acid, concentrated grapefruit juice, potassium citrate,
potassium benzoate and EDTA, aspartame, acesulfame potassium,
acacia, natural flavors, glycerol ester of wood rosin, bromated vegetable oil, carob bean gum.
Glycerol ester of wood rosin is a fantastic name, but the thought that I'm drinking something that is also in the composition of eyeliner (and presumably guyliner)? No thanks. The worst is that little "natural flavors" clause, which is about as telling as a catatonic deaf-mute. According to Title 21, Section 101, part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations:

"The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting,
heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional."
Once again the bureaucratic desk writers of the federal government win my respect. They can't teach that kind of superb rhetoric in schools.

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