Sugar Dressed Up As Healthy

Generations of French kids were brought up with a packet of Vichy mints in the glovebox, just as Aussies were with peppermint Steamrollers.

French people still believe these lollies are good for them, because they’re produced with mineral water from the famous Vichy spring. But if you munched through a packet of these on a long drive, you’d be ingesting 125 grams of almost pure sugar. A close look at the packet reveals they are 99% sugar. But the maker is still allowed to print on the packet the boast that the sweet was “invented in 1825 by Jean-Pierre Darcet, a member of the medical academy”, and that Vichy pastilles are “the only sweets made in the town of Vichy with mineral salts derived from Vichy water”.

I suspect today’s French medical academy wouldn’t want to be associated with sugary pills, whether they contain lots of minerals or not. But, as I was driving from the Mosel to Alsace, powered by diesel and Vichy pastilles, I did wonder whether we’ll soon be reading claims of superior mineral concentrations on certain wine labels. And the health implications thereof. Minerality being the buzz-word of the moment. Say, is anyone growing vines at Hepburn Springs? 

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