Monday, March 31, 2008

Zsweet® review

I found Zsweet® in an 8.8 oz. shaker/spooner plastic canister at Hy-Vee, priced at $9.99 on sale(!) — in essence, granulated (therefore manufactured) erythritol, a naturally fermented sweetener used in Japan since 1990 especially for baking, and here labelled zero calories/carbs.

This is very expensive for diabetics looking for a sugar substitute. Apparently, the base ingredient erythritol (which is a "sugar alcohol" unlike sucralose which is chlorinated glucose) is also sold in bulk in health food stores and online (no links here!)

Although it may not have the customary saccharine-like aftertaste, Zsweet® does have a faint but striking odor which is the first thing out of the container. The scent is vaguely "natural" — maybe a bit like beer or malt, or maybe strawberries, or sweet bean curdish or tofu-ish — which does linger and which wears out its welcome rather quickly. Although, truth to tell, I'm a "taster," so you might not notice anything.

There is also a peculiar sensation that lingers forever, like biting down on a cold spoon straight out of the silverware drawer.

Hope that helps. As a sugar-in-my-tea junkie of 63 years, and a diabetic of less than a week, on my non-objective personal "Saccharine to Sucrose" scale from 1 to 10, I'd give Zsweet® a passable 5.0. It's sweet, and maybe it really is better baked into brownies 'n stuff, but it's not sugar by a country mile.

(On the high end of that scale: Refined white sugar, 10. Brown sugar, 9.5. Honey, all varieties, 9.5 down to 8.5, followed by molasses at 8.0. Refined maltose is about a 7 or less in my book. Splenda® maybe comes in at 4.5, my humble opinion.)



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