On Thursday, I moved from a house right near the Sacramento Zoo to a backyard garage-turned-loft. Before, I was living with a 60-year-old woman and her two cats. Now I’m with a four-person family and a dog.
The main difference between the arrangements is not the size of the house, location, nor choice and number of pets. It is that this house has sugar, and the other one did not.
When I arrived at the last house, everything seemed fine. I had a bedroom to myself, a bike I could use, and my own bathroom. I just needed some food. I went down the street and bought a few staples: oatmeal, eggs, whole-wheat bread, cheese, beans, brown rice.
But everything was not fine. After a few minutes on the stove, my Quaker’s oats were saturated and ready for eating. All I needed was some sugar. But there was no sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup, and no industrial vat of high-fructose corn syrup. There was a little ceramic container besides the over the oven that looked like it was filled with sugar, but it tasted like wet and bad. Turns out it was Truvia — “the perfect sugar substitute.”
In some ways, I understand why you wouldn’t want sugar in the house. It’s fine in moderation, but if you’re taking maple syrup shots, your liver is shooting triglycerides into your bloodstream faster than an eight-year-old can unload an SMG rifle in Grand Theft Auto. Then you get hypertension and die. A study led by the CDC found that adults who ate more than around 18 teaspoons of added sugar daily were at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. If you have been eating too much sugar or have diabetes or both, Truvia is fine.
At the same time, Truvia is so annoying. It’s packaged like it’s some kind of health supplement, but it’s just fake sugar produced by Cargill and Coca-Cola. Truvia says it is a “miracle of nature, not chemistry,” but it’s mostly erythritol, “a sugar alcohol that has been approved for use as a food additive in the United States.” Score!
The website says it’s a convenient way to sweeten anything you bring to your kitchen counter. Is granulated sugar any less convenient? I am confused. The website allows you to rate the product on three different categories: quality, value, and ease of use. I have never picked up a food from the grocery store and wondered how easy it would be to use. You just put it in your mouth. Sometimes you cook it first, but it’s not that hard. Out of 277 reviews, there is only one one-star review and one two-star review. Is Truvia censoring consumer input? Do we need a special counsel?
It’s not like Truvia’s unsafe, but there are so many less pretentious brands of fake sugar that deserve your business. I don’t like the taste of Sweet ‘N Low, but at least it doesn’t act like it’s derived from some sort of God-blessed nectar. Plus, on the front of the Truvia container is a strawberry dipped in the faux-sugar. I’m not sure if this is meant to show how natural it is, or if it’s suggesting a possible Truvia-use scenario, but if strawberries are not sweet enough for you as is, you need to relax.
I have not met the family I am living with yet because they are in Mexico, but rest assured, their house is stocked with sugar, maple syrup, and even cinnamon sugar. God bless this family, and God bless the United States of America.