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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Trouble with the Sweet Stuff

Sigh...tea.  My favorite.  Well, it used to be.  I grew up on sweet tea and I mean sweet tea, I'm talking my aunt made a medium sized Tupperware pitcher full with almost two cups of sugar!  I loved that stuff but it sure explains a lot.  LOL  It was basically the equivalent of drinking simple syrup.  I have to order a sweet tea or two when we're in the South but the taste wears on me quickly.  I just can't handle that much sugar in tea and get the sugar sweats from a beverage.  (A piece of cake, yes but I digress.)

I've grown up with artificial sweeteners because my mom was perpetually on a diet so the "pink stuff" was constantly in our house.  When I picked up on the fact that I was fat too and should think of doing something about it when I was 8 years old, I started putting it in my tea, on my cereal or whatever to reduce my calories from sugar.  (Rice Krispies were never the same because what was better than a big ass bowl of puffed rice cereal with sugar sludge in the bottom as you OD'd on Saturday morning cartoons?)  I didn't notice too much difference though because for all of the sugar I was downing for probably 50-100 calories depending on what I had between cereal, tea or whatever else I put it on, I could put one or two packets of sweetener in/on it and have zero calories!  Fat kid dream come true!  However, baked goods using any kind of artificial sweetener just were not my jam.  But one of my favorite simple pleasures as an adult is a good cup of hot tea.  I love a strong English Breakfast or Earl Grey with two pinks please.  When I was trying to be "better" the past year, I did one pink and one packet of Stevia.

I went along this way my entire life until recently when I kept reading more and more things about how basically no artificial sweetener is safe including stevia because it hasn't been in use by the masses long enough to do sufficient studies on potential side effects.  The last thing I read that kicked me in the butt was that it can change your gut bacteria.  The Mr and I were talking about this and he said "well, look at the difference in waistlines from our grandparents at our age to the waistlines of our generation.  The major thing that changed in that time was convenience foods and the introduction of artificial sweeteners."  Literally the only thing I drink is water, tea and milk.  I don't drink diet soda ever because I think it tastes like crap.  If I'm going to have a soda, it's going to be the real thing once or twice a month, if that.  My artificial sweetener habit is between 2-6 packets per day which is nothing but that's not taking into account where it's being hidden in other food like my bread or something like that.  I figured I'd let the pink stuff run out and then go to Stevia and 1 tsp of sugar.  Yes, I know.  Sugar is evil but it's natural.  As soon as I made the switch, it was awful and eye opening.  It tasted like there was nothing in my hot tea at all.  I've never been a fan of Stevia anyway but thought it would temper things as I weaned off.  It adds very little sweetness and even sugar adds WAY less sweetness than I've been accustomed to my whole life.  Each packet of my preferred sweetener was 300-500x sweeter than sugar.  So if I've been consuming two packets of it since I was 8 years old, that means I've been accustomed to a cup of tea that is 600 to 1000x sweeter than sugar!  No wonder I'm effing miserable drinking my tea now!  My stevia just ran out last night so now I'm down to pure honey or sugar.  The first week I started this, I lost 4 lbs but I think it was a fluke because it crept back up.

As a person who is not a fan of flavored tea, you can imagine my English Breakfast tastes like dirt now and that makes me super sad.  Stuff like Earl Grey and green tea is a little easier to tolerate but it's something I just don't look forward to anymore.  I'm so used to asking "you want a cup of tea" to quell any later evening hunger and looking forward to a perfectly sweetened cuppa and now it's just a big mug of disappointment.  I wish I'd never been introduced to it so I would've never developed that reward trigger for something so sweet.  I suppose I'll have to learn to like flavored tea or I guess cut it out completely and try to avoid crying in the tea aisle in the store.

How do you sweeten your tea/coffee?

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  1. Good morning! I don't add anything to my tea. I got used to it a Few years ago. I'm a dry mouth so I am always drinking water or tea. I like the yogi throat coat. It tastes like black licorice and does soothe the throat. Also has Zen sayings on the tags. Some so cool I keep them st my desk. Have a fantastic day!

  2. It's tough because I know how much you love your tea. Wish I had an answer for you but maybe it will just take some time to find the right balance of taste with a healthier alternative to the artificial sweeteners. I am at the point where I trust sugar more than anything else out there too. Then you just have to keep the sugar in moderation, the hardest part.

  3. Keep it up! I bet you will discover you actually like it over time. I don't drink soda either (long story ... I drank it nonstop until I finally gave it up cold turkey almost 20 years ago). I started loving iced decaf coffee beverages (black because I can't do dairy) with splenda. Like you, the artificial stuff bugged me. So one New Year's resolution, I gave it up. I hated it at first. Bitter, horrible. Now, I love it. Can't imagine sweet coffee or tea. It grew on me surprisingly quickly. It's fun to experiment with flavored teas and coffees. Some I prefer iced, some hot ... but I like the regular stuff too. As you come off the sweetness in the drink, you start noticing the quality of the tea/coffee. Now I can tell if it's the cheap stuff. I've become a drink snob LOL! Good luck!

  4. I'm a "pink stuff" person too. I don't drink tea very much, but I keep buying it thinking I really should drink more. I'm all about coffee and I find the same thing about sugar in my coffee that you did in your tea. It takes A LOT of sugar to sweeten the coffee and I'm not willing to dump that much in. I do like honey in my coffee though, maybe that's something to try in your tea?

  5. I don't add anything to my tea (still consider it the devil's!!) except on rare occasions I'll add some honey to it. But for the most part, I just suck it down to get it over with. I've been drinking green tea flavored with pomegranate and that's pretty good. I've never gotten in to the artificial sweeteners I think mostly because they were never in the house. I can only remember back in the day those awful hard sugar cubes sitting in a bowl on the table for my parents and grandparents when they drank coffee. Tried eating one of those as a kid...lesson learned. ha!

  6. I add a little half & half and don't add sweetener at all.

  7. Unfortunatley, right now it's all about changing your taste buds until you have a new normal. Like Working-It-Out said, once you get used to it, you'll be surprised how much more you can taste the subtle background flavors in stuff. I've always preferred my tea black, but in general, I do have a sweet tooth. I did a 2-week no sugar diet/cleanse (not even fruit) a couple of years ago, and was so surprised how overly sweet everything tasted once I added it back in. It's not the most fun way, but maybe it would be a good way to get over the hump?

  8. If I'm drinking a black tea I don't use any sugar or sweetener at all, just some milk. Coffee on the other hand is one sugar and some milk. For both I get a little sweetness from the milk. I too have been trying to ween myself off of the artificial stuff, but I don't think I have ever drunk anything as sweet as you are describing. At work I will often drink an apple cider flavoured herbal tea or peppermint tea. Both of those have a lot of flavour and don't require additional sweetness.

  9. I grew up with my parents putting saccharin in their coffee - those little white pills that bubbled up when you put them in the hot coffee. I thought it was so gross. They switched to the pink packs when they came out and that's basically what I've used my whole life. But I, too, have always worried about the effect it's having on my body. So I switched to black tea in the mornings instead of coffee because I can drink that plain. But I just can't drink black coffee. Now to wean myself off of the nightly/weekend coffees and I'll be good.....
    I had to laugh when you talked about putting it on cereal - that was the day the earth stood still for me! When I couldn't pour sugar on my corn flakes, I was devastated! Still can't eat unsweetened cereal without at least a bit of sugar on it, so I don't eat cereal but once or twice a year.

  10. I use Amoretti Lemon/Citron (Amazon) in my Earl Grey every morning with a tiny splash of milk. (it is not sugar free, that just taste plain blech). It has 35 calories. Also I am not a lemon in my sweet tea type of person, so totally surprised me that I liked this syrup. If you want my picture of the nutrition facts you know where to find me :) lovemytft


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