What You Need to Know: A Not-So-Welcome Addition to Capri Sun’s Roarin’ Waters Drink Pouches

If you’re health conscious like me, you read labels. Or you at least try to remember to.

There are quite a few things I keep my eyes peeled for on food packaging, like: MSG (monosodium glutamate, a flavor-enhancer and known neurotoxin that never leaves the body), saturated fats, trans fats, high levels of sodium, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose.

I’m bringing this up because my shortest child just loves Capri Sun juice pouches. We usually buy the original variety, which contains sugar. I know that and am aware of it. I don’t like it, but it is what it is. The good thing about Capri Sun, as far as I can tell from the ingredients listings on their site, is that none of their juice drinks contain high fructose corn syrup. Thank you, Capri Sun and Kraft, for that — I wish more companies would follow that example.
Kraft's Capri Sun "Roarin' Waters" Variety
That said, here’s the stinger. I’m upset. Not long ago I decided to buy their new “Roarin’ Waters” variety for my daughter. It is, essentially flavored water…not unlike Propel, et al. I felt okay buying it because it contains no food dyes. HOWEVER…at the store yesterday, I felt prompted to look at the ingredients listed on the side of the box. The following has been copied from their web site:


Size: 10 ct
Upc: 8768400114


(Emphasis is mine. Misspelling of “NATURAL” is theirs.)

In my opinion, Kraft is being deceptive in their packaging of this product. In two places on the front of the box you’ll find the phrase, “No Artificial Colors or Flavors.” Did you catch the missing word? Hint: It’s “Sweeteners.” The above phrase attempts to trick us into thinking, “Oh, this is good — nothing artificial.” How sly.

You may remember the post I did some time ago about the effects sucralose had on me. It’s nasty stuff. I’m very upset that Kraft feels it can be put into kids’ drinks, especially after the bad press sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda) has gotten over the last few years. I realize some kids can’t have drinks flavored with sugar, so their parents buy drinks that are flavored artificially. But this drink already has sugar in it. There is NO reason to add the Splenda!

Please join me in voicing your concerns about this product to Kraft (the maker of Capri Sun juice pouches). Remind them of the detrimental effects sucralose can have on our children. Tell them you won’t buy that particular variety until sucralose is removed from the product.

Get active and get involved for the sake of your children’s health. None of us is too busy for that. Thank you!

©2010 Sally Dinius
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Sally Dinius is writer-in-chief here at CrazyBusyMama.com, a blog created to inspire and motivate busy mamas everywhere to feel healthy, fit, and in control of their lives. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sdinius, and become a member of the CrazyBusy Mama Facebook fan page by clicking here.

Three Worry-Free Natural Sweeteners

When I was a kid, one of my favorite snacks was what we called “cinnamon-sugar bread.” It consisted of taking a piece of white bread, spreading it with margarine, then sprinkling it with sugar and cinnamon. I’m not talking about a real light sprinkling of sugar, either: sometimes it was up to a teaspoon of the white stuff that topped the bread.

It was bad enough that the bread was white, but all that sugar…I shudder now to think of it. The poor cinnamon, in spite of all it’s redeeming properties (like balancing your blood sugar levels), was no match against white bread and a teaspoon of table sugar.

Nowadays, I’m more wise about what I put in my body, as I’m sure you are. But even the most health conscious of us consumes a lot more sugar than we realize. Many items we buy are actually made with different types of sugar with names we may not recognize.

See how many of these aliases for sugar you know:

Corn syrup
Evaporated cane juice
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Maple syrup
Rice Syrup
Turbinado sugar

True, some of the above are better for us than others (like honey, molasses, evaporated cane sugar, and turbinado sugar), but it’s still wise to know the different ways sugar is hidden in the foods we buy. If necessary, take a list of all the names sugar is filed under with you to the store — it will make it easier to avoid consuming excess amounts of the white stuff.

That said, let’s turn our attention to sweeteners that are easier not only on your body, but on your conscience, as well:

Turbinado Sugar

Courtesy http://gourmetsleuth.com.

Courtesy http://gourmetsleuth.com.

Turbinado sugar (a popular brand name is “Sugar in the Raw”) reminds me of the decorative sugar crystals used to embellish sugar cookies at the holidays. But turbinado crystals are slightly bigger than those, are not refined, and are a natural amber color…no food coloring required.

While table sugar has been refined and stripped of any nutritive value whatsoever, turbinado keeps some of the natural molasses (giving it its golden color) and moisture. It also has few calories than regular sugar — 11 per teaspoon compare to 16.

Turbinado is considered healthier than table sugar because it undergoes far less processing. Try it in iced tea, hot cereals, and pretty much any recipe that calls for white sugar. It costs more than white sugar, but the health benefits (like avoiding diabetes) are worth it.

Agave Syrup
The agave plant is a large, spiky succulent native to Southern Mexico. Its spikes strangely resemble those of the aloe vera.

Also called agave nectar, agave syrup is produced in Mexico from several different species of the agave plant (most often, it’s the blue agave that is used). The syrup is made up of fructose and glucose, though it’s glycemic index and glycemic load is lower than that of table sugar.

Darker agave syrups has more of a caramel flavor and color, so it’s most often used in foods that also have a stronger flavor (the color largely depends on the amount of processing it receives, but is also due to how much iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium that it contains). Some people even use it on pancakes in place of store-bought pancake syrup. The lighter, more filtered agave syrup can be used in more delicate recipes.


Growing up to six feet tall, stevia is a perennial native to the northern areas of South America, where it’s been used for centuries for its sweetening and medicinal properties. It’s a member of the Asteraceae family, which includes sunflowers and dandelions. The flowers of the stevia plant, however, are white, not yellow like its cousins.

Recently, the powdered form of stevia has been under some scrutiny due to the processes it goes through to get its sweetness from the plant to the box. Powdered stevia is probably fine in small doses, and is, of course, preferred to sucralose (Splenda) and other artificial sweeteners.

A friend of mine recently told me of the ingenious way he sweetens his tea (I’m sure this will work for either hot or iced): He keeps a stevia plant on his counter top, and when he makes his tea, he drops in a leaf. The tea is sweetened naturally by the leaf, which is about 15 times sweeter than table sugar (stevia extract is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar). I can’t wait to grow some stevia of my own this spring and summer and try it in my iced tea. Might have to grow some mint, too. ;-)

Want to learn how to make your own stevia syrup? You can at The Herb Garden blog.

©2010 Sally Dinius
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Sally Dinius is writer-in-chief here at CrazyBusyMama.com, a blog created to inspire and motivate busy mamas everywhere to feel healthy, fit, and in control of their lives. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sdinius, and become a member of the CrazyBusy Mama Facebook fan page by clicking here.

The Latest Sugar Substitute Craze May Make You Feel a Little Crazy

Some time back, my husband picked up a box of hot chocolate packets at the store. Nothing unusual there — we almost always have hot chocolate in the house. This box, however, was a sugar-free, 25-calorie variety by Swiss Miss. What made it sugar-free? It was sweetened with sucralose instead of sugar.

I’d gotten in the habit in recent months of relaxing with an almost-daily cup of hot chocolate: it is — as the name implies — chocolatey…it’s creamy, and it’s soothing. But I began to realize that the extra daily dose of around 200 calories (I make it with milk) was probably not doing me a whole lot of good regarding my continued weight-loss/weight-maintenance goals, so I decided to try a 25-calorie packet just for the heck of it.

Well, it tasted like regular hot chocolate to me. I could taste a very slight difference, but it certainly didn’t have that tinny diet flavor. I quickly polished off the box, and my husband bought more. Of course, being made with nonfat milk makes it more like 115 calories instead of 25, but I figured that was still better than 200 or more.

But some things are too good to be true.

First, let me say that in our family we’ve had some heavy-duty situations and experiences that have been causing our stress level to soar, along with anxiety and depression that both my husband and I have been feeling. (Into each life, right?) But when I began feeling additional symptoms of depression over this last week or two that would just whomp me out of nowhere, I wondered if something else could be causing it.

Knowing that what we eat or drink can have a huge impact on how we feel, the first thing I looked at was my diet…and what came to my mind before anything else was the hot chocolate. Even more specifically…the sucralose.

At first, the hot chocolate hadn’t affected me at all because I’d been drinking it at night just before bed. But then I began having it in the afternoon, and that’s when I noticed the mood changes.

So, just what is sucralose, and what’s so bad about it? Maybe more succinctly, is there anything bad about it?

Sucralose (a common name brand you may recognize is Splenda), is a non-nutritive sweetener that is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Because of its extreme sweetness, much less is needed, resulting in a lower calorie count per use. That’s good, but what’s the bad?

Derived chemically from sucrose, a.k.a. table sugar, sucralose was found rather by accident, as the process used to discover it was originally intended to produce a new insecticide, not a new sweetener for your coffee.

An article about sucralose on MedicineNet.com paints the sweetener’s alarming family tree:

According to the book Sweet Deception, sucralose is made when sugar is treated with trityl chloride, acetic anhydride, hydrogen chlorine, thionyl chloride, and methanol in the presence of dimethylformamide, 4-methylmorpholine, toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone, acetic acid, benzyltriethlyammonium chloride, and sodium methoxide, making it unlike anything found in nature. The Splenda Web site even states that “although sucralose has a structure like sugar and a sugar-like taste, it is not natural.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not so calorie-phobic that I’m going to eat something created with chemicals just to avoid gaining weight. And what about those side effects — like mood swings — that I’d mentioned earlier? Here’s a longer list:

  • diarrhea, intestinal cramping, and other gastrointestinal symptoms
  • skin irritations, including swelling, rashes, flushing, and hives
  • mood changes like depression and feelings of panic
  • muscle aches and headaches
  • heart palpitations
  • runny nose and cough

Additional reading:
Sugar Substitutes and the Potential Danger of Splenda
Sucralose: What is the Positive Side?/What is the Negative Side?
Sucralose Side Effects on Buzzle.com
Sucralose Side Effects on iloveindia.com

Stay tuned…I’ll be introducing you soon to a couple of natural sweeteners that will do the sweetening job just fine.

©2010 Sally Dinius
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Sally Dinius is writer-in-chief here at CrazyBusyMama.com,
a blog created to inspire and motivate busy mamas everywhere to feel healthy, fit, and in control of their lives. Follow her on Twitter at
http://twitter.com/sdinius, and become a member of the CrazyBusy Mama Facebook fan page by
clicking here.