“NutraSweet Pink”: Marketing Deception or Health Danger?

Today was that rarest of days–when my co-workers and I had time and ability to go out to lunch together at a local chain steakhouse/buffet establishment.  You know the type–where they have a bodacious array of foods you can get quickly at the buffet, or you can order the too-thin, over-seasoned cheap cut of steak.  The rolls are always to die for, though.

I got my meat-and-three (vegetables, if you’re not from the South) and ordered my unsweetened iced tea.  When it arrived, I absently reached for the little pink packet of saccharine (I use Splenda at home, but one individual restaurant pack is insufficient for a large glass of iced tea.  One pack of saccharine, however, always does the job nicely).

Luckily for me, something on the little pink packet caught my eye before I opened it–this yellow swath that read “100% Saccharine Free.”  Well, I thought, if it’s pink and it’s saccharine free, then what the hell’s IN this???

Then I saw the rest of the front of the package and learned it was this:

NutraSweet's New Pink Packaging

NutraSweet's New Pink Packaging

Then I turned it to the back and read the ingredient list:  Dextrose (a complex sugar similar to sucrose, which is the cane sugar so readily available) with maltodextrin, Acesulfame Potassium (the generic name for aspartame, the ingredient branded as NutraSweet), and something called “Neotame”–maybe it came from the Matrix.

This innocent-looking packet on the restaurant table is a marketing deception of the most insidious sort and a potential health hazard.  Everyone knows that white or tan is sugar, pink is saccharine, blue is aspartame, and yellow is sucralose!  No one reads these labels anymore, and the makers of this new “NutraSweet Pink” are WELL aware of it!  In fact, I’d wager that they’re counting on it.

Under normal circumstances, it might be a bit of marketing genius–evil marketing genius no doubt, but still marketing genius.  What makes this intolerably insidious is the fact that a significant enough segment of the American public have a severe medical reaction to aspartame–caused by a genetic condition called phenylketonuria, in which the body is unable to break down the amino acid contained in aspartame.  Ingesting NutraSweet and its generic equivalents can cause severe brain damage in phenylketonuretics, and if you look carefully at any product containing aspartame, you will find a health warning about it.  Guess where the health warning was on my little pink packet?  If you said “nowhere,” give yourself a gold star.

While I am not a phenylketonuretic, I do avoid aspartame as much as possible because it gives me terrible headaches–a common side effect.  As said before, Splenda seems to be the lesser of three evils, and it is what we keep at home due to diabetes in the family.

Folks, let the people who have unleashed this danger on the public know that we will not tolerate this deceptive health hazard!  NutraSweet originally packaged their product in blue to distinguish it from rival Sweet’N Low.  Now they’re ADOPTING pink to make us think their product IS Sweet’N Low.

Let’s not stand for this!  The producers of this abomination, according to my little deceptive pink packet, is below.  Sadly, I couldn’t find a website.  If either of you out there in cyberspace do, let me know and I’ll add a link.

Domino Foods, Inc.
1 Federal St.
Yonkers, NY, 10705

Refuse to be suckered by NutraSweet.  Let Domino Foods know your displeasure.  But if you do nothing else, make sure you read those little pink packets carefully from now on.  It matters.  It matters big.

Oh, yeah, as I was leaving the restaurant, I suddenly realized that in my distraction over the deceptive pink imposter, I had forgotten to get a roll.  Thanks for less than nothing, NutraSweet.

19 Responses to ““NutraSweet Pink”: Marketing Deception or Health Danger?”

  1. 1 Jennifer January 28, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    The new Acesulfame Potassium is ever so slightly chemically different from the aspartame. Very slightly. But it is enough different that they can use less volume. Currently, the FDA considers it a low enough quantity that it does not have to have the PKU warning.
    It is still dangerous. I’m not a PKU, but aspartame gives me bad migraine. Like the blackout, near seizure migraine. This is bad, bad stuff. There are many people like me that have weaned off everything that has the possibility of having this crap in it that it could do major damage to. Aspartame never should have been approved by the FDA in the first place. Acesulfame K is the extra concentrated version.
    I could rant for pages and give you more information than you ever wanted to know, but you can find it all on Google.
    And Snopes, totally wrong in their whole debunking of the supposed “Aspartame Myth.”

  2. 2 Michael January 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Have you ever tried stevia? We grew a stevia plant one Summer. As it got cold out, there were these giant vines of stevia coming out of the pot, so I wove them into a wreath and hung it in the kitchen. I keep thinking that I’ll do something cool with the dried leaves one of these days, like make some gourmet chocolates for a diabetic friend or something… I dunno. But, srsly! Aspertame gives me big headaches too! I’d almost prefer the headaches to the projectile vomit that sucralose gives me! Yuck! We use a lot of sugar in the raw, local honey, and agave nectar for sweetening purposes at our house. It just seems like it should be better for us than bleached sugar for some reason.

  3. 3 gatakitty January 28, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Under normal circumstances, Michael, I’d jump on it (although we DO already use local honey–2Tbsp./day to help with pollen allergies).

    Remember, though, that you are talking to the woman who, if it were possible, would kill a silk plant.

    The plants erected a sign at my house: “Abandon all hope ye who are planted here.”

  4. 4 Instinct January 29, 2009 at 2:32 am

    I just stick with plain old sugar if I need something sweetened. I would rather eat the natural stuff and just watch what I eat that try and trick my body with low-cal or no-cal sweets.

    Some studies suggest that those diet products out there may be lower calorie but your body doesn’t know that and treats the artificial sweetener as the real thing and floods your body with insulin. So with no sugar to break down and your body flooded with insulin it doesn’t need, you go into a sugar depression and crave even more sweets than before

  5. 5 Karen Simmons February 6, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Are you sure about Acesulfame Potassium being the generic compound of aspartame? According to what I have read they are different compounds.
    I don’t use either. I just stick to good ol sugar and eat very little of it and always with protein to slow down the absorption rate.

  6. 6 Darnaindnap February 14, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Hello, I can’t understand how to add your blog ( catoninetales.wordpress.com ) in my rss reader
    internet signature: http://hixoh.ru/

  7. 7 Instinct February 19, 2009 at 12:48 am

    OK, it’s mid February, time for another post!

  8. 8 Azazael February 27, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Hmm, very cognitive post.
    Is this theme good unough for the Digg?

  9. 9 gatakitty March 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    You tell me. Still, I’m flattered that you think so.

    Большое спасибо, мой друг.

  10. 10 Andre September 7, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Neotame is a new artificial sweetener developed by NutraSweet and it is similar to aspartame. Neotame is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sugar an believed to be more toxic than Aspartame. Acesulfame potassium is not even close to aspartame! but it is a sweet as Aspartame.

    P.S. Aspartame gives me horrible headaches.

  11. 11 cora February 17, 2010 at 8:23 am

    I have been trying to use REAL fruit to sweeten anything I make like bananas, oranges, apples, and dried fruits like raisins, dates , figs. It takes time to change; one’s taste buds do adjust in time.

  12. 12 rob rodic April 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    We need to pressure the politicians to ban this poison!!!!!1

  13. 13 nolalou November 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    i too had a similar incident at a picadilly cafeteria and were equally ticked off, that was a year or so ago. but now there may be other ways these nuts are trying to shove it down our necks. check my blog since i use the “hunt-n-peck” typing method i sent a link to your blog to all my friends so lets keep the pressure on.

    louis smith – ljs5757@netzero.net

  14. 14 Rick U. September 2, 2011 at 5:09 am

    FYI – I just went to Sonic and got a pink packet that said “NutraSweet Zero Calorie Sucralose Sweetener”, made by Domino Foods. It contained dextrose with maltodextrin, 3.6% calcium saccharin, and calcium silicate. Anybody know anything about this?!

  15. 15 Diane Lark January 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I recently came across yellow,pink & blue labels of sweetener mark in small letters ‘nutrasweet’ but no identifiable ingrediants listed.All contained aspartame. I can not eat this as it interfers with my MS symptoms. This is totally unsafe for Americans with severe reactins to this chemical no matter what new name they come up. how do we make them stop this misleading advertisement and/or marketing of Dominos???

  16. 16 Click Here January 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Very nice article and right to the point. I don’t know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thanks 🙂

  17. 17 gatakitty January 19, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    I wish I did. If I knew where to get a job as a writer, I’d be the first in line. 😦

  18. 18 gatakitty May 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Believe me, if I knew, I’d be applying myself. :-/

  1. 1 Imitation Imitation Sugar | Graphic Design Company Gold Coast Trackback on November 13, 2010 at 6:39 am

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