How Sweet it is!

Recently I heard that the artificial sweetener nutrasweet has been linked to brain tumors and might be taken off the market. "Here we go again," I thought, recalling a time a couple of decades ago when a similar alarm had been sounded. Then cyclamates were the culprit, condemned by the FDA as being linked to cancer. It seemed that, in laboratory tests, scientists had discovered that when rats were given a daily dose of about a 1000 times more of the substance than a human consumed in a year, some did indeed develop cancer.

Cyclamates, as I recall, were delicious in diet drinks as well as in some cooked dishes. I remember experimenting with an apple strudel recipe I had inherited from my bubbie. While it didn’t taste nearly as good as hers, it gave me great satisfaction to know that out of each serving I had cut 50 of the original 375 calories.

I had a friend who, upon hearing that cyclamates were about to be banned, went to almost every grocery and drug store in the city and bought up all the bottles of the cyclamate liquid and sweetened soda she could find. Unfortunately, she had no basement so it was at least a year before she could again park her car in the garage. I had another friend whose visit to Canada included the purchase of as many bottles as she could find. (She worried that customs officials might confiscate the contraband as she crossed the border.)

As yet, I don’t feel the urge to load up on Equal, but if I hear any more about it, I just might be tempted to take out a loan and purchase every little blue packet I can find. Luckily, I have plenty of room in my garage.

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