The Science of Sweetness

The immortal sultry baritone God of baby-making and sensual healing Barry White once crooned Your Sweetness is My Weakness in his signature honey-tongued grizzly bear growl for crowds of flustered ladies. You know he was singing to honeys of all shapes and sizes, but based on the man’s Ruebenesque physique, I think it is safe to say he was probably singing about non-female sweetness as well. Dude was a big, beautiful man. I bet he had a sweet tooth.

Obviously Barry did not stand alone. Humans love to get their sweet on, and what used to be a limited part of our dietary ancestry has taken a lead in the modern food pyramid. Today you can come in from mowing the lawn on a hot day and reach for a sickly sweet beverage jacked up with any number sweet-agents from Aspartame to Splenda to Stevia to Agave to good ol’ sugar bowl sugar. Most folks swear by some of these and swear off the others… but why?

If you’ve ever wondered how sweetness works, why we crave it, or if your Diet Coke habit will give you the cancer, peep my newest SciShow script on Sweeteners, both natural and artificial, and see what you think.

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