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Crystal Light’s Sweetener Schizophrenia


Why have Splenda in some products, aspartame in others?

I have been so thrilled to see the reemergence of Splenda showing up in a lot of products this year that used to contain aspartame in them. From Smuckers jelly to Mt. Olive pickles, it looks like the food manufacturers are FINALLY listening to the concerns of low-carbers and others who don’t want aspartame in their diet at all anymore. Yet, it’s almost impossible to avoid it nowadays.

For example, last night my throat started feeling a little sore and dry, so I knew a cold was coming on. I bought some sugar-free Robitussen when it was on sale a few months ago and didn’t read the labels. Guess what the #1 ingredient in it is? It’s ASPARTAME! UGH! Oh well, this is the only exception I’ll make to my aspartame-free diet plan because I want to feel better from my cold and Robitussen usually does the trick.

While the move from Nutrasweet to Splenda has been slow, it is happening. But have you seen what Kraft Foods is doing with their Crystal Light products? One of my readers wrote to me so excited about discovering that Crystal Light now has a Splenda/acesulfame potassium (ACE-K) blend to sweeten their products and proudly displays the Splenda logo on their packaging. I was not aware of this, so I did a little investigating today and found something rather odd.

It is true that the ready-to-drink Crystal Light products do have Splenda and ACE-K in them, but the powdered versions of Crystal Light still contains aspartame. HUH?! What’s up with that? If you are going to use Splenda in the ones that are already mixed, then why not use Splenda in the ones you mix yourself, hmm?

For the record, here are the ingredients in the ready-to-drink raspberry ice flavor of Crystal Light:

Ingredients: WATER, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, MALIC ACID, SUCRALOSE AND ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (SWEETENERS), RED 40, SODIUM BENZOATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, AND CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (PRESERVATIVES).

Now, here’s that same flavor in the powder mix version:

Ingredients: MALTODEXTRIN (FROM CORN), CITRIC AND MALIC ACIDS (PROVIDES TARTNESS), RASPBERRY JUICE SOLIDS, ASPARTAME (SWEETENER), RED 40, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE (PREVENTS CAKING), ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (SWEETENER), BLUE 1.

Nevermind the fact that the powder mix has the corn-based maltodextrin in it (see, Michael Pollan was right about corn being in EVERYTHING!), there is a bunch of aspartame in this stuff. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want all of that in my body because it can bring on headaches and stall your weight loss. BAD NEWS INDEED!

According to the Crystal Light page at KraftFoods.com, the aspartame powder mix has a short storage life once it is prepared by the consumer since it has to remain refrigerated to prevent spoilage.

“For freshest taste, beverages containing Aspartame sweetener should always be consumed within 5 days of preparing.”

Ah, so therein lies the problem with putting aspartame in the ready-to-drink versions of Crystal Light. It won’t last very long before going bad. That’s why sucralose (Splenda) is used instead because the shelf life is longer without compromising the taste and quality of the end product.

So my question is this: Why not put Splenda in ALL of the Crystal Light products? What is the purpose of having aspartame as the sweetener in the powder mix and Splenda as the sweetener in the ready-to-drink products? It looks like we have a case of sweetener schizophrenia going on here, Kraft!

If you want to endear yourself to the discriminating sugar-free consumer who prefers to avoid aspartame in favor of Splenda, then why not change your sweetener to Splenda across the board? Doesn’t that just make good business sense anyway without confusing your customer base? Consistency and honesty go a long way towards building a good rapport with customers, especially those who are concerned about their health.

My reader who saw the Splenda logo on a ready-to-drink Crystal Light product automatically assumed that Splenda was now in all of the Crystal Light products now. How many people like him will be surprised to see aspartame STILL in the powder mix? That can’t be good for public relations, would it Kraft?

Let me tell you, for fans of juice Crystal Light is the bomb! These ready-to-drink products come in lemonade, raspberry ice, lemon tea, strawberry kiwi, peach iced tea, sunrise classic orange, and ruby red grapefruit. Just be aware that the Splenda is NOT in the powder mixes…yet! Perhaps they’ll read this and hear from YOU and decide the time has come to take the plunge and go all-Splenda! We can hope, can’t we?

Use this Contact Us page to provide Kraft with your feedback about putting Splenda in the Crystal Light powder mix, too. We might just convince them it’s a good idea, so make your voice heard today! And let me know if you see Splenda pop up in any other products that used to contain Nutrasweet.

  • Jake Silver

    I wondered about the exact same thing.

  • Lady Atkins

    It might give you headaches and stall your loss, but it doesn’t do that to most people.

    I use the powered kind because it’s cheaper and easier to haul home on the bus.

  • Jimmy Moore

    I can appreciate your comments, Lady Atkins, but I still don’t think low-carbers should be consuming aspartame products of any kind. The companies could easily start using Splenda and would see their sales soar! I know I’d buy more products if they didn’t contain so much aspartame and maltitol in them.

  • teapotsgalore

    I know there’s strong feeling about this, and while I was in weight-loss phase, I religiously stuck to Diet Rite cola, water, and other Splenda-sweetened beverages. But as soon as I hit maintenance, baby, I was back on Diet Coke and will stay there. I’ve tried the Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda and had to throw out the almost-full can — it doesn’t taste like Diet Coke, I’m guessing because it’s made with Splenda. Oh well, Diet Coke with aspartame is for me, even if it’s not the wisest choice I could make.

  • Jimmy Moore

    Diet Coke with Splenda also has ACE-K in it, teapotsgalore, so it won’t taste like regular Diet Coke (which is the most repugnant diet soda on the market). DC w/Splenda is actually closer in taste to Coke Zero, which has aspartame and ACE-K in it. For me, I stick with Splenda-only sweetened drinks all of which have ACE-K and I LOVE ‘em!

  • Patti

    A different point of view.
    My friend’s daughter has been diagnosed with Hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI). She is not able to have anything with Splenda, yet one of the few things she can have is Aspartame. Let’s leave alone some of the very few things she can have. Splenda, while great, is not the answer for everyone and should not be pushed to be included in all food.

  • Jimmy Moore

    Fair enough, Patti! But the same goes for aspartame ALREADY being in everything which severely limits those things I can eat. The side effects of aspartame are too intolerable to deal with. There needs to be a happy medium, not this one-sided monopolistic dominance that exists now.

  • Stephen

    For those missing juices, try the ocean spray diet drinks, and new v8 splash diet! They are both MUCH better than CL, they should not however be drank all the time as they do have a few carbs.

  • mike

    yo idiots try water

  • Sandra

    I rarely drink sweetened drinks and never artifically sweetened with aspartame. If I am going to have a sweet drink, its going to have sugar in it. I have always had a headache after drinking anything sweetened with aspartame. Just wondering though, I was out on a bike ride with the kids and everyone wanted slushees. Now they offer slushees with 2 crystal light flavors. Any idea whether they would use the Splenda or the Nutrasweet version? Couldn’t find any info. on this at the store. Didn’t want to risk a headache so didn’t try.

    Pretty sure it’s aspartame/Nutrasweet, Sandra.

    –Jimmy

  • Bobsy

    I’m not sure that Aspartame “just” gives you the odd headache. I’ve had addiction problems with Diet Coke-admittedly, caffeine is in it, but so are a lot of other nasties-particularly Aspartame-the milder side effects, if you ask me-toilet troubles, jittery nerves(caffeine related). The more serious side effects for me-liver problems-high liver enzymes. I believe this because I haven’t touched conventional alcohol in years-yet I had a liver test and the nurse said to me-stop drinking alcohol-I was puzzled-how can one have an alcoholic liver without alcohol? But then later I heard that aspartame converts into Wood Alcohol, and had an Aha moment-you can’t get an alcoholic liver without consuming alcohol? I’m 3 weeks cold turkey, and now look at all the labels on my food-you’d be amazed at how many “Diet” products have corn syrup in them-a great recipe for weight loss(sarcasm!). Actually, I’m yet to meet many thin people who consume vast quantities of “Diet” products, and the best advice I’ve heard is-LOSE THE SWEET TOOTH. And websites like “The Truth About Aspartame” are just front groups for its corporate propagandists just like the old groups the Tobacco Industry used to use. Let’s face it, they have a lot to lose if they are found in the wrong. Just imagine for a minute, in my caustic analogy, that Prozac was found to be a complete fraud of quackery and pseudoscience, and Fish Oil was found to be more effective. My God, people in Greenland are happier than the people of North America. Actually, I can tell you for a fact that I feel better off antidepressants because I’ve been on 3 of them-Celexa made me suicidal, Paxil made me very down, and Prozac made me jittery and nervous, although it’s most likely the combination of these drugs with aspartame that caused me the problems. I’m glad to say that I feel much better now that I don’t drink or touch Aspartame or antidepressants, after all, when the thing you rely on to lose weight is doing the opposite, of course you’re going to be depressed. By the way, I do take Fish Oil supplements, and I’ve felt better since I’ve stopped neglecting my health and looked at the real issues that were causing the problems in the first place, but don’t expect the FDA to tell you this, because the real answers are far cheaper in the long run, and don’t make money lovers happy.

    • http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com Jimmy Moore

      The good news is–I have kicked it, too! WOO HOO!

  • Bobsy

    Good on you Jimmy, Aspartame is not only a poison, it’s like, many times sweeter than sugar, so it’s not like one loses their sweet tooth on this substance, I cannot mention enough how much better life can be when one starts to detox their body of all the garbage that we put into it. I wonder Jimmy if you had that horrible feeling in your stomach and brain when drinking or eating products with Aspartame in it, after eating, always listen to your body. I noticed that I was getting sick on Aspartame after coming off it, then going back on it and noticing a change, this stuff damages your insides.