Every couple of years I have the same experience. I go to choose something--a protein bar, a yogurt, a beverage, what have you--and I comb through the list of ingredients and all the other text on the packaging looking for things that will make it taste awful. Saccharin, Olestra, Olean, Aspartame, Nutra-Sweet, Sucralose, Splenda...you name it, I look for it. And every few years they come out with a new one and I buy it. Sometimes it's intentional. Sometimes I actually think to myself, "hey, maybe they've come up with a diet/diabetic-friendly sweetener that doesn't taste like a muskrat wiped its feet on my tongue!" Sometimes it is unintentional. I read the whole label, see nothing suspicious, and buy the item, and then I end up with a bunch of whatever it is. At home today I have the box of South Beach Peanut Butter Snack Bars that introduced me to the fact that sucralose and splenda are the same thing.
Today I bought a bottle of Lipton tea. This was sort of an intentional muskrat-foot-licking experience. I saw two raspberry teas and I read the calories on the one with good old-fashioned, come-to-mama sugar. And I was like, oooh, 160 calories. Maybe they have a plain old ordinary iced tea that won't be as bad. And as I was looking for the less awful alternative, I found a zero calorie raspberry tea and combed through its ingredients and found nothing offensive. I don't know why, but I assumed this was unsweetened raspberry tea. But before I got to the checkout in the cafeteria I noticed the suspicious "PureVia" logo. At this point my taste buds should have sent up the red flag. "Muskrat! Muskrat! Muskrat!" they should have shouted, perhaps summoning the psychic equivalent of flashing lights and a klaxon. But I thought to myself, hey, Splenda tasted fine, and the aftertaste, although still disgusting, was really almost negligible for an artificial sweetener. Assuming that artificial sweeteners continue to improve with every incarnation, this PureVia will be even better. Even if I don't like it, it's worth trying. If I'd been thinking clearly I would have realized that this was a word related to stevia, an alleged sweetener that my insanely healthy friends had introduced me to before. I had a little on a strawberry and my reaction was, "In what way is this superior to a plain old naked strawberry? Now it's a strawberry with hideous aftertaste!" But alas, I did not make the connection.
Oh, the muskraty badness! It tastes every bit as bad as aspartame. And how dare you call this natural? It is Unnatural. I don't want to go so far as souls burning in eternal fire, because, you know, po-tay-to, po-tah-to. But "natural" is not a word that should be applied to a taste like this, unless it is the natural taste of a bug that never, ever, EVER wants to be eaten by predators.
I drank about a quarter of the bottle on the "maybe I'll get used to it" premise, but I couldn't stand any more. Still, that's probably enough to see if it has the same effect as aspartame, which is to make me an evil, gum-snapping bitch. After all, it should have some benefit. Hope springs eternal....