When I was a little diabetic, I liked to have a bowl of rice krispies topped with “two scoops” (aka a packet of nutrasweet). The name came from my time spent in the hospital after my diagnosis; I was excited to see that they had my favorite cereal on the menu (rice krispies), but when my meal arrived, I was incredibly disappointed. They served me cereal sans the half gallon of sugar on top like I would have typically had at home. Nonetheless, since I ordered it, (and it was part of my meal plan, thus I had done insulin for it) I had to eat it: bland, floury, soggy krispies, AND the nasty sugarless milk they were floating in. Yuck.
The next day I was served the same thing (I think we made the meal plan for a could days at a time, maybe) and I, like the 6 year old baby that I was, cried and refused to eat them. It was one thing for them to expect me to be a pin cushion for the rest of my life, but they had another thing coming if they thought I was going to live without my sugar-laden crispy rice!
The nurses of course came to investigate and one of them handed me my first packet of aspertame (aka nutrasweet) and told me that it was a free-food (the kind I can can eat as much as I want of, whenever I want) and that one little packet was the same as TWO scoops of sugar. I was skeptical at first but after dumping a couple packets of my new-found best friend on top of my cereal I was hooked. I demanded Two Scoops on everything.
Then one day, when I was a bit older, I suddenly realized that Two Scoops was a very strange name for a sweetener. I went to the cabinet and grabbed the blue box (labeled nutrasweet) and began to read all of the fine print. On the back was a picture of two teaspoons and a description that read: “One scoop of nutrasweet is as sweet as two scoops of sugar.”
Slowly this new name caught on in my vocabulary, and even more slowly, I grew out of my obsession with Rice Krispies doused in Two Scoops. At some point I even discovered that there were other sugar substitutes on the market (granted this realization was dependent on the availability of those options) like Sweet ‘n Low (saccharin), and eventually Splenda (sucralose) and Stevia (an herbal sweetener).
I tried to jump on the sucralose train but it has a weird aftertaste hat I can’t handle – I first realized that I didn’t like sucralose when comparing different brands of light yogurt. I love Yoplait (asperatme) and hate Dannon (sucralose) because Dannon tastes funny to me. Chemically speaking, sucralose is just sucrose (regular table sugar) with a slight molecular variant substituting a set of oxygen and hydrogen atoms for a chlorine atom. This change is subtle enough that your body is tricked into perceiving it’s taste to be that of sugar, but significant enough that your body can’t metabolize it. I should like it. But after 20 years of aspertame consumption, I just find it odd.
Then there’s Stevia, the newest member of the sugar-substitute family. As far as I’m concerned, it’s still second to aspertame, but it is definitely growing on me. Maybe after it is used in more “light” or “diet” products, I’ll have a better feel for my preference, since currently I have only ever used it to sweeten my tea.
Truthfully, after 20 years of D, I tend toward bolusing for real sugar rather than spending to much time evaluating sugar substitutes. But when I need to sweeten and I don’t want to waste the insulin, my heart always and forever belongs to Two Scoops