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    Archive for the ‘dextrose’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Flavored Powdered Drinks

    251664_300Are drink sweeteners (things like Lipton iced tea powder, Crystal Light, and other powders you add to water) with ingredients like maltose and dextrose bad for you?

    I don’t drink them every single day, but I will a couple times a week to help when I get a craving for something sweet, but it makes me wonder if I’m just putting chemicals in my body.

    — Jessie Arent
    Peterborough, NH

    Maltose and dextrose are not artificial sweeteners.

    Dextrose, for example, is a corn-based sweetener.  From a nutrition standpoint, these two are equal to sugar (4 grams of sugar and 16 calories per teaspoon).

    In the case of Crystal Light, the ingredient list reveals the following:

    Citric acid (provides tartness), maltodextrin, calcium phosphate, aspartame, modified cornstarch, Red 40, natural flavor, artificial flavor, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium, salt, artificial color, Blue 1, BHA (to protect flavor).

    Maltodextrin is another starch based sweetener.  You usually see it in conjunction with artificial sweeteners (in this case aspartame and acesulfame potassium) for flavor optimization.  Without maltodextrin, these powders would taste significantly sweeter, believe it or not.

    Each serving of Crystal Light only contains five calories (all from the maltodextrin), so you are looking at a mere quarter teaspoon of added sugar.

    These powders are certainly test-tube creations.  That said, I don’t see anything alarming with having them a few times a week.

    Remember — nutrition is about consistent dietary patterns.  If, for example, these Crystal Light drinks make you crave large amounts of Doritos, that is more troublesome than if these drinks are an occasional addition to a diet is generally high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

    I’m just generally not a fan of artificial sweeteners because they don’t help us train our palates to get used to lower amounts of sweetness in our diet.


    You Ask, I Answer: Lollipops/Calorie Labeling

    I know lollipops are pure sugar, but how many calories are in the average lollipop?

    I guess [I’m mostly asking about] Blowpops and Tootsie Pops.

    — Angela Wilphit
    (Location withheld)

    Although lollipops only contain carbohydrates (they are free of fats and protein), they are not 100% sugar.

    Blow Pops, for instance, contain 13 grams of sugar, but 17 grams of carbohydrate (the remaining four grams come from cornstarch.)

    Let’s answer your actual question, though.

    Each gram of carbohydrate contains four calories, so some simple math (17 x 4) tells us that these lollipops provide 68 calories.

    Not bad at all, considering that in the time it takes most people to finish a lollipop, they could have very well eaten 300 calories’ worth of Skittles.

    Here is where it gets interesting.

    Since the Food & Drug Administration allows food companies to round calorie values, the Blow Pop nutrition facts label displays sixty calories per lollipop.

    Mind you, the rules specifically mandate that food items with calorie values of fifty or higher express that number “to the nearest 10 calorie increment.”

    So, in reality, that nutrition label should be listing SEVENTY calories per lollipop!


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