The vXwife brought them to my attention last night. It’s a big enough deal to make it into The Atlantic. Apparently they … hmmm … give some people lower intestinal disstress (read the comments on Amazon).
I don’t suffer from this sort of problem, but I have good friends that do, so I’m sympathetic.
But, after a bit of reading it struck me that innumeracy is part of the problem. Yes, there are many people that eat a small number of these gummie bears and have problems. But many of those commenters appear to be eating rather large quantities. How large?
- A five pound bag is big enough to be economically priced, but not so large that one person wouldn’t buy it for themselves. That’s about 2,250 grams.
- If you’ve ever cooked with sugar, to get something to the gummi consistency, it has to be almost pure sugar. The squishiness is from a fairly small amount of retained water.
- By the way, it’s technically true that they’re sugar free. But this is because they’re made with Lycasin, which is mostly sugar-alcohols (not sugars, but still carbohydrates). Those are what are hard for some to digest. It’s not as calorie dense as sugar, or as sweet, but if you make a candy out of Lycasin, it’s technically sugar free.
- There’s clinical evidence that Lycasin is problematic: “Consumption of 40 g lycasin HBC or isomalt by adults significantly increased the mean frequency of bowel movements and the number of subjects passing watery faeces.”
- There’s a threshold effect too: “In adults, 40 g isomalt and lycasin HBC provoked significantly more gastrointestinal responses compared to 25 g of either product.”
- Haribo is pretty clear about the serving size:
Note the serving size: 39g, most of which is carbohydrates, but which will clearly come under the 40 g threshold.
This is where the innumeracy comes in. I really am sympathetic to those suffering, but these bags have around 60 servings in them. And a lot of those commenters assert that they ate a substantial part of the bag. I think a lot of people would have some intestinal distress if they ate ten servings of anything.
P.S. I am reminded of the time the vXboy ate the entire package of dried apricots in one sittting. I was sympathetic then too, but clearly he had met the enemy and it was himself.