I have been drinking and eating artificial sweeteners for some time, and often with nagging guilt. I know it's a chemical, but putting Equal in my coffee became a habit. Sure, it has a long ingredient list, but sometimes I just need the caffeine kick from a Diet Coke. So when I saw that professor Carolyn de la Pena was releasing a new book on the substance, entitled Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners From Saccharin to Splenda, I had to see if I was really harming my body by consuming these guilt-free sweets.
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"Haha! I told you so!" my mother called as she trotted to the kitchen to retrieve her small glass vial and eye dropper, dripping triumph as she went. Oh, to be home for the holidays. "I've been using stevia for years!" We had just seen the television ad for Truvia, the new natural no-calorie sweetener made from this herb, which is also known as sweetleaf. Have any of you seen it? Unable to allow my mother to be right—God forbid—I decided to do some research. Turns out, the stuff sounds pretty amazing....