Friday 13 August 2021

Sweeter sweetener

Tuning into MetaFilter last week, I was brought to realise that "no added sugar" is not the same as green grow the rushes O "natural". The worried well asking about the safety status of food is A Thing on MeFi: {I left the chicken out on the counter last night | this cheese is beyond its sell-by | the dog ate only half the salmon}. . . should I ate it. The hive-mind (top heavy with USians) tends to be more leery about risk and less concerned about food-waste than, say, me. This Spring, a neighbour cleared out their dodgy freezer before going foreign for a while and I got a gallimaufry of frozen convenience food. I ate the last two salt and chili chicken burgers 7 days ago and they stayed down. Now I could have left these horrors out for the magpies but I reckoned that as Top Level Carnivore TLC hereabouts, I took precedence. All that remains is 3 loaves of beige sliced gluten-free "bread".

Concerning the Del Monte bb 11Apr20 canned peaches, I was sure they'd not deliver any coliforms let alone botulismus, and was about to give [FFS] appro. But others before me had twigged the “No Sugar Added” and balked: "ya wanna to be careful about old sucralose it tastes glaaark". What a difference an "al" makes as the spot the difference picture [R] reveals: top is the natural disaccharide white granulated sucrose the bottom is 1,6-Dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-β-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-α-D-galactose or sucralose. I've flagged the chlorine atoms which replace the -OH groups in three places.

This adulteration has two effects
a) it over-stimulates the taste receptors on the tongue making sucralose about 500x sweeter than sucrose
b) it bamboozles sucrase the enzyme which normally breaks sucrose into its constituent fructose and glucose. This allows sucralose to pass through the digestive tract unmetabolised and so taking its calories away unused. 
There are hints and assertions that sucralose fails to satisfy something in the brain and leads to a craving for other calorie rich foods. Maybe like aspartame affecting the microbiome.

Sucralose was discovered in the lab of Les Hough at Queen Elizabeth College, London in 1976 as part of a project sponsored by Tate & Lyle the sugar megacorp. T&L had access to hella quantities of sugar which was sold retail at €1/kg. They wanted to know if value could be added to the raw material so it could be sold higher up the economic ladder; not necessarily as food. Riaz Khan, a previous student of Hough's, was working for T&L. He phoned his old boss to ask for a sample of a chlorinated sugar. Hough was busy so handed the phone to Shashikant Phadnis, a younger more available research chemist. Khan said he wanted to test the compound which the lab had just purified. Phadnis heard this as taste the white powder and - the thought being the deed - dipped a small spatula into the powder and applied it to his tongue; finding a tiny amount to be  super sweet. By the time Hough returned to the lab, Phadnis had taste-tested all the vials in the lab finding many of them sweet and some sweeter than others! The first compound was thereafter called serendipitose. Don't do this at home kids . . . only in the lab.

Patent number: 4435440 "A method of sweetening a substance comprises incorporating therein a mono- or poly- chloro, mono- or poly- deoxy sucrose derivative having chlorine atoms . . ." is held by Leslie Hough, Shashikant P. Phadnis, Riaz A. Khan, Michael R. Jenner [Khan's boss] but vested in Tate and Lyle. Sucralose is marketed as Splenda.

YMMV but this reminds me of "I said take care of him not f*ing TAKE CARE OF HIM!"

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