Saturday, June 11, 2016

Idiotic Headline

I recently came across a press release (the kind that all the science sites use) with the headline "Plant-based sweeteners may help individuals control their blood glucose levels."

 I thought that was odd, because table sugar comes from sugarcane or beets, and last I heard those were plants. So I went to the article. It said, "A new study shows that it is possible to reduce the level of sugar in muffins without affecting their textural properties by replacing half of the sugar content with stevianna or inulin, which are plant-based sweeteners."

Well, yes, stevianna and inulin are plant-based sweeteners. But so are sucrose and fructose. Even the evil high-fructose corn syrup is plant-based. The only non-plant-based natural sweetener I know of is lactose, or milk sugar.

I think the reason for this idiotic headline is that "plant-based" has become a buzzword for "healthy," like "fruitsnvegetables." Popular science journalists thrive on buzzwords, like "artery-clogging fats," just as Greek poets thrived on buzzwords like "rosy-fingered dawn."

The problem is that the average reader won't take the time to think about the articles they read. In fact, they may not even read them. They'll just see the headlines, or hear someone read them on TV and think, "Oh good. Plant-based sweeteners will cure my diabetes."

I suppose there's nothing much we can do about this. Journalists are always looking for snappy headlines that will entice people to read their articles. In this case, it worked with me.

Well, enough. Time to go make a cup of plant-based caffeine drink.


  1. I am happy you chose to write about this as now I have deleted what I was thinking. Your way is much more positive than what I had written and I was being too accusatory in what I had.

    Thanks again. Bob

  2. Honey is a natural sweetener, and I wouldn't consider it to be exactly plant based.
    Pat Meadows (not diabetic, but my husband is)

  3. Hi!
    Thank you for writing on this topic because many of us are not aware of facts associated with natural sugar from plants. I want to ask one question, What are the demerits of sugar-free tablets available in market? as i heard they are not safe for use. How we balance our daily sugar intake.

  4. Nancy, not sure what you mean by "sugar-free tablets." Are you referring to medications with no sugar? Or are you referring to artificial sweeteners?

    Re the latter, I use mostly stevia, but some people find that some types of stevia have an objectionable taste.