Since it's a Friday, I try not to blog about Autodesk Labs-related stuff. My family and coworkers make fun of me in that they say I am too Spock-like. They cringe when I write blog posts like:
- Will it flush?
- Toilet Paper Should Be Loaded So It Rolls Off The Top
- How an extra "to" can make a big difference
Hey, it's all in the name of science. In that same vein, I noticed that our Autodesk mini-kitchen on the 2nd floor of our One Market office in San Francisco has two different kinds of hot chocolate mix.
I am normally the first one to get to the office — at my desk at 6:30 a.m. each day. I don't drink coffee on a routine basis. Typically the second person at the office is our CEO, Carl Bass. Carl drinks coffee. Carl once told me that my only shortcoming as an employee is that I don't drink coffee because he has to make the first pot of the day. He laments that my 10-minute head start on the day gives him no coffee-drinking benefit. I am more of a hot chocolate kind of guy, so I thought I would put the two kinds to the test. I opened one of each packet:
The packet without sugar looked a little more fine-grained, but basically, the powders were the same color. Using the same dispenser, I added equal amounts of hot water:
The cup without sugar (on the left) appeared to foam up a little more, but other than that, they seemed the same. I was using Autodesk cups that are standard-issue in our office kitchens:
The two cups smelled the same. So at this point, the powder looks the same, the liquids look the same, and they smell the same. So what's the difference? You don't need a vessyl to find out. Just check the packets:
The differences come down to:
|Attribute||No Sugar Added||Sugar Added||Expected|
|0 grams||2.5 grams||CHECK|
|0 grams||2 grams||CHECK|
|10 grams||16 grams||CHECK|
|Sugars||8 grams||12 grams||CHECK|
|Protein||2 grams||<1 gram||WHAT?|
Some of this makes sense. Some of it does not.
- Each packet must have 8 grams of sugar from lactose (milk sugar). The "sugar added" packet gets kicked up another 4 grams. This increases the calories from 50 to 80. This makes sense. This must also increase the total fat to 2.5 grams with 2 grams of that coming from saturated fat.
- But what's the story with Calcium and Iron? Why does not adding sugar make the drink represent 30% and 2% respectively of my expected daily intake based on a 2,000 calories per day diet? I don't get that. In addition, how does not adding sugar increase protein?
I am a computer scientist. My friend, Susan Lebe, is a clinical dietitian who works for Kaiser Permanente. She noted that I need to look at the ingredients to understand the differences. Doh! Ingredients in one but not the other are listed in red.
|No Sugar Added||Sugar Added|
So there you have it. The ingredients are different. The premise that the packages are the same except for the addition of sugar is incorrect. Susan said companies do this to make a product. They are going for a certain "mouth feel." As far as I could tell, the two liquids felt the same when I was tasting them. The calcium carbonate and nonfat milk account for the increase in Calcium and Iron in the No Sugar Added packet.
Now to the important category — taste. Believe it or not, the one without sugar tasted better. It had more of a chocolatey taste. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but it's like they always say "I'll believe it when I taste it with my own tongue." Oh, the things I do for science!
Taste buds are alive in the lab.