The other day, against my better judgement, I went down to the vending machines because I was hungry. I was looking for something reasonable, but I wasn't in the mood for peanuts (one of the least-processed items). Saw the Fiber One bar, screaming that it supplied 35% of my daily fiber. Okay, maybe this isn't a "too" terrible choice, maybe along the lines of a Nature's Valley granola bar, all full of oaty goodness. Put in my three quarters, selected D7, and was the proud owner of a Fiber One bar.
Well, tastewise this was a minor disaster. Granted it had only 140 calories, but what insipid calories those were. Basically, the Fiber One bar was a sticky gob of sweetness in search of a flavor. Some oats that were unfortunately caught in a Pompeiian flow of gooeyness, unable to escape this sad, sweetened lava. Clearly, I won't be buying these again.
Fast forward about 45 minutes. I am in the middle of grading short essays on an exam I gave. At some point, I need to put down the exams and read something more coherent, like the label on the Fiber One bar. Might as well see what kind of a chemistry experiment I'd eaten. What I found was interesting--one of the ingredients (a component of the "chocolate shellac" ) was ethanol! Yup, the same stuff that local gas stations add to their gasoline. Okay, I know that ethanol is grain alcohol, but I'd never seen it listed on a food label before. I had to run down the hall to tell one of my colleagues! Why doesn't General Mills market this to fraternity brothers, listing "Everclear" as an ingredient?
My eyes came across another interesting ingredient--High Maltose Corn Syrup. Could one of our resident Chowhound chemists elucidate me on exactly was this is? Something to replace High Fructose Corn Syrup so that food labels can read "no HFCS", when instead something equally unfoodlike is in its place? Is this Cargill's newest corn-derived weapon in its arsenal? Someone, fill me in!