Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sugar Coated crap?

I’m truly sorry for the title, but it says what I think about this succinctly. I tried half a dozen variations and kept coming back to the one word.

There are days when I think I just won’t see anything more stupid in this global warming paranoid world. Then, yesterday brought a new surprise drifting in on the winds of stupidity. Domino now offers Carbon Free Sugar! Let me repeat that. Carbon Free Sugar - certified even.

If you can remember back to your high school chemistry class then you might remember this simple and irrefutable truth: sugar contains carbon.

There is no getting around that. Don’t believe me? Try frying up some sugar in a sauce pan and watch the results. Or just pick up a used mass spectrometer on Ebay and run an analysis.

Or just consult any number of chemical handbooks. Sucrose is common table sugar and has the chemical formula: C12H22O11

Looks like twelve atoms of carbon combined with eleven molecules of H2O to me!! That must be why it is called (drum roll please) a carbohydrate!

Eating and digesting sugar turns it into water and carbon dioxide that we exhale, so for it to be truly “carbon free” as the label says, we have to get those twelve molecules of Carbon out of there. So how do they get the carbon out of that sucrose anyway? It’s really easy, all we need is what is known as a catalyst.

Reacting sucrose with sulfuric acid (H2SO4) dehydrates the sucrose and forms the element carbon, as demonstrated in the following chemical equation:

C12H22O11 + H2SO4 (as catalyst) ---> 12 C + 11 H2O

I apologize if I have the symbols wrong for a chemical reaction but the elements are correct.

So assuming they get the acid out of the mix, we are left with some pure carbon and a bunch of water. Yummm! Perfect for cereal in the morning!

Maybe I’m being a bit extreme and I do realize the idea is to promote a carbon neutral production of sugar.

But really, couldn’t the marketing people at Domino realize how stupid this claim sounds? I’ll bet the guys at the Domino company labs are having a fit. I’d love to get copies of the emails that went flying when they learned of this one. Beakers were probably flying across the lab too. It would have been enough to curl Abby Sciutto's tattoos! Domino will surely be off like a herd of turtles to correct this.

But some companies will do anything to appear green these days, because they want to keep that “green footprint” high and that dreaded "carbon footprint" low or non-existant.

Ah, the sweet smell of success! Pardon me now while I get myself a glass of carbon-free sugar. With ice. (Before that melts in a frenzy of global warming.)

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