Another curiosity

I was just drinking some “vitamin water,” and noticed on the label that it says it is “naturally sweetened.”

I suddenly have a craving for something that is unnaturally sweetened. Can anyone tell me where to score some?

Can I also get that without any chemicals in it?


  1. Matt Olenik says

    “Try some agave nectar. It’s all natural and doesn’t have any chemicals in it.”

    I get told this every time I ask for Splenda at a local bubble tea shop. I can only imagine how rage inducing that must be for someone who’s diabetic and really can’t have any sugar. I just like avoiding the calories now and then.

  2. says

    Don’t be tedious. I’m as annoyed by marketing-speak as the next person (probably considerably moreso, depending on the next person), but it’s perfectly obvious that what is meant is that some plant-based sugar has been used rather than e.g. aspartame or some equivalent non-sugar sweetener.

  3. says

    Matt Olenik
    Agave’s just another source of fructose. Stevia sweetener is actually diabetic-safe, as the sweetness comes from glycosides, but on the other hand it tastes indescribably nasty (to me, anyway; YMMV).

  4. knowknot says

    Nice thing about natural sweeteners is that you can leave the bugs in.
    Unless they’ve been shopping downtown.

  5. robro says

    Of course, it’s all chemicals anyway, but you might check the label to see if you can determine where the liquid was manufactured, as opposed to bottled. Some poorly regulated places might slip in some industrial chemicals they happen to have laying around.

  6. says

    Ask the party’s wizard. Flavoring is something the Prestidigitation cantrip can do, so he should be able to supernaturally sweeten it. But you might taste the bat guano from the material components.

    …Or is that fireball? I get those two confused.

  7. says

    Maybe we’re reading it wrong. It’s ‘naturally, sweetened’… as in “Of course it’s sweetened, DUH!”.

    Although that would probably read ‘Sweetened, naturally!’

  8. gog says

    If it can’t be used to produce some kind of liquor by fermentation, it’s not a sweetener I care to know about.

  9. says

    If your GPS can take impossible architecture, I’m sure there’s some unnatural sweet stuff left somewhere in R’lyeh. Even elder gods must have pantries or fridges, and I doubt unnatural sweetener gets worse with time.

    It may give the consumer an affection for certain tentacled creatures of the seas, though, but I’m sure you’d would never be fond of those. That’d just be silly.

  10. chirez says

    Every time I see something advertised as natural, I can’t help thinking I would much prefer to see the unnatural version.

    Show me the products sweetened by processes which defy all rational explanation, which warp reality and refute all physical law to achieve something truly impossible.

    Like homeopathy, for instance.

  11. says

    Naturally Sweetened? Well considering that the FDA considers HFCS a natural sweetener are you really willing to bet on it? Crystalline Fructose the same sweetener used in Vitamin Water, where I work we get it in large bags and I wouldn’t eat it. But before I’m done maybe you should also look up Glycerol. This is used to extend shelf life of products, and when we get stuff the warning label is specific about don’t ingest internally, or use externally on your body, or handle without gloves and it’s used in food and skin care products? Just because the levels aren’t going to kill you tomorrow doesn’t mean they won’t fuck you up over time.

  12. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is used to extend shelf life of products, and when we get stuff the warning label is specific about don’t ingest internally, or use externally on your body, or handle without gloves and it’s used in food and skin care products?

    One must read every MSDS/SDS with a grain of salt. The manufacturer is often trying to cover their ass, so often they sound more dire than they are. Glycerin is on page three of the Generally Recognized as Safe list the FDA maintains for food/pharmaceutical applications. Glycerin is part of the metabolic process, searching Google for glycerin metabolism gives over 9,000,000 hits.

  13. says

    That is the absolute best comedy I’ve heard all day. Let’s take the industry legally mandated safety chemical handling standard as a grain of salt. First of all that info isn’t just on the MSDS/SDS it is also on the chemical drum. So this means that the warning information is soo important that it must be labeled directly on the drum. Kind of like when you see the label on sulfuric acid that states may cause severe chemical burns. Yep you should take that one with a grain of salt too! First of all the MSDS/SDS isn’t a food requirement it’s the industry standard for handling any chemical and considering that we have powdered hydrochloric acid I wouldn’t take your advise on this either. Really how dense can you be, the safety standard is to protect the individual handling the chemical vs the FDA?

    Not only are you wrong, but I would dare say you’re fractally wrong.

  14. Eric Ressner says

    Wes Aaron @ 23: sorry, but I have to agree with Mr Redhead. Taking something with a grain of salt doesn’t mean it’s all bullshit. It means you need to be skeptical. And unfortunately that is true of the MSDS system. Concentrated sulfuric acid (your example) is indeed hazardous and must be handled with care. But glycerin (same stuff as glycerol, the subject of Mr Redhead’s example) is not hazardous. What part of “Generally Recognized as Safe” did you not understand?

    Another example of MSDS overkill is sodium chloride: you know, that grain of salt. We’re supposed to handle ordinary table salt with gloves, wear goggles and protective clothing. ” If ingested, seek medical advice immediately….” Are you saying you believe that to be good advice?

    You are right to be skeptical of “naturally sweetened” as a health claim. But you are totally misguided to avoid fructose or glycerol as hazardous chemicals. They quite simply are not.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Wes Aaron, I’m a chemist, and I have worked in academia and industry for almost forty years now. I know all the chemical handling safety requirements, how to read MSDS/SDS (I’m helping on the MSDS to SDS conversion where I work), and even know how to safely handle very potent compounds.
    I obtained a MSDS for glycerin on-line, and read, then went back and picked out the real data.
    The PPE recommended, beyond the engineering controls, was safety glasses, lab coat, gloves, and a respirator. Sounds ominous. But then, look at the data: ORAL (LD50): Acute: 12600 mg/kg [Rat]. 4090 mg/kg [Mouse]. 4 g/kg LD50 for a mouse. Extrapolate the mouse data to adult human size of 70 kg, 280 g one must ingest. Not very toxic. Skin absorption: DERMAL (LD50): Acute: 10000 mg/kg [Rabbit]. Corresponds to 700g over your whole body for 4 hours. Not likely to be a problem. I think you can get to a safety shower, if needed. Look at bp of 290 ºC, no real volatility. No worry about inhalation without a mist at ambient temperature. Check flammability, and fp measured >160 ºC. Not likely to catch fire.
    So, the respirator is overkill if the glycerin is not being heated or misted, and lab coat, gloves, and safety glasses are SOP for handling chemicals, like where I work.
    There is a reason glycerin is on the GRAS list. It is non-toxic at its usage level.
    What I was saying is that you need to look beyond the warning label and MSDS/SDS, and look at the real data.
    Even something as safe as sucrose has dermal hazard warnings. But, unless you work in a bakery handling fine confectioners sugar in a hot and dusty environment for hours where the sweat causes it stick to your exposed skin, it won’t be a problem. You can even weigh some out without gloves, and brush off the scale with your bare hands, and you get a rash.

  16. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gack, needed to edit my last minute edit for #26:

    You can even weigh some out without gloves, and brush off the scale with your bare hands, and you won’t get a rash.

  17. coragyps says

    Don’t even look at the SDS for sodium chloride (table salt.). Pretty deadly stuff – and, in fact, it really does cause a few fatalities among toddlers every year.
    Glycerine? Not so much. It is reputed to give you soft skin, but I haven’t seen the data.

  18. says


    Yes it has to do with the exposure levels. So it’s quite possible that Glycerol isn’t as bad as labeled, but it like all warning labels, someone must have had that happen to them to require a label on the product. Yes there are the dumb warning labels to protect the company such as a sun visor for cars with the warning Don’t use while driving, or the Superman cape that Doesn’t allow wearer to fly.

    What I really find interesting is even though common ingredients can have adverse effects at higher concentration levels. On a bag of salt no warning, on a box of cinnamon no warning and this stuff regularly causes skin rashes and burning with prolonged exposure, box of Potassium Sorbate no warning and just a whiff of it in powdered form can leave you short of breath not to mention if you get it in your eye you will need to flush immediately, and on and on and on. Glycerol is the first time I’ve seen a product intended for consumption that has explicit warnings about consumption directly on the container. And that is definitely a good reason to handle with caution, let alone eat.

    Eric Ressner

    You do realize the FDA also considers HFCS generally safe as well, and it’s banned in other countries for consumption. But if you really want to have some fun look up the FDA’s allowed contamination levels. Do I need to remind anyone of the Ephedra disaster? I would take the FDA more as a grain of salt, than the MSDS. When OSHA and the EPA require MSDS as the base standard on all chemicals for safe handling, it’s pretty important. Granted some chemicals are more dangerous than others.

  19. OldEd says

    SHAME ON YOU, RUMTOPH!!!!! EVERYBODY knows that Dihydrogen Monoxide is extremely dangerous!! Why, you can DROWN in the stuff. You should use a SAFE beverage, such as Hydrogen Hydroxide…

  20. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    You should use a SAFE beverage, such as Hydrogen Hydroxide…

    I don’t know why, but I seriously cracked up over this.

  21. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Glycerol is the first time I’ve seen a product intended for consumption that has explicit warnings about consumption directly on the container. And that is definitely a good reason to handle with caution, let alone eat.

    You are being obtuse about the facts. Glycerin/glycerol is safe with an LD50 at 280 g for an average sized human, and glycerol is a by-product of fat metabolism and is itself metabolized. Companies cover their asses by making labels and MSDS/SDS sound terrible and the compound toxic, when they aren’t at the levels used in food and pharmaceuticals. You have fallen for their lies, and are seeing death where there isn’t any. Which is why I said take those warnings with a grain of salt. All food is made of chemicals. So your broccoli can be toxic in high enough doses.

  22. wanstronian says

    “Can I also get that without any chemicals in it?”

    As Tim Minchin would point out, “Everything is chemicals. EVERYTHING IS CHEMICALS!!”
    – From his “Tim Minchin vs Orchestra” DVD/CD. Buy it, it’s awesome.

  23. says

    Just a minor quibble. Diabetics can eat sugar. We just have to watch the amount of carbohydrates we eat. A plate of pasta may be worse for us than a scoop of ice cream.

  24. says

    Redhead @36

    Funny I never said it caused death. You can have your straw-man back.

    I specifically said look into it.

    So what are the side effects of high exposure to glycerol, glycerin, or what version they call it.

    Glycerol seems to be safe for most adults. When taken by mouth, glycerol can cause side effects including headaches, dizziness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, thirst, and diarrhea.
    Special Precautions & Warnings:
    Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of glycerol during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

    It is a laxative and excessive exposure to this can be problematic. I guess if you don’t mind dehydration and poopy pants nothing to worry about with the excessive consumption of this product.

    This is strait from:

    And for your phrase a take it as you would a grain of salt.

    In the antidote, one of the ingredients was a grain of salt. Threats involving the poison were thus to be taken “with a grain of salt”, and therefore less seriously. The Latin phrase cum grano salis (“with a grain of salt”) is not what Pliny wrote.

    Poisons/ poisoning (high exposure levels to chemicals counts here as well) don’t have to kill you to harm you, enough said. IBS is a more common illness now but if your excessively consuming anything with a laxative in it, that would definitely increase your chances of getting this.

    But you may also want to ask why would anyone want to add a laxative to food that is commonly consumed?