Free Cookies and Sorbitol

Regular readers know that I have a love/hate relationship with people who want to send me free stuff with the idea that I will write about it. Although it’s cool to get boxes of cookies, or free books in the mail, often I find that the reality of the product doesn’t always live up to the expectations that the company representatives have set for me. Only once has anyone really wowed me with an item that was sent to me, that being the chocolate sauces from Fudge is My Life that I posted about a few weeks back.

If a product just sort of sits there and makes me go “eh”, it’s difficult for me to write a post about it, because I know that people work hard to get these products out, and who am I to say that their product is mediocre? I believe it’s better to let the market work it’s magic without any endoresement nor condemnation from me. So… no post is made about the average product.

My point to all this is that it’s really difficult for me to get a package of free stuff, and then slam it in a post.

This is exactly what I am about to do.

Miss Meringue is a cookie company based out of California who contacted me via e-mail and agreed to my stipulations. They also sent me some documents and press releases to use as reference for any post that I may or may not do. The following is from one of their press releases (emphasis mine):

in 1997 Master Pastry Chef jacques Pautrat began Miss Meringue in a small neighborhood bakery. Jacques took traditional recipes he grew up with in France and added a personal touch that has captured America’s taste buds! Today Miss Meringue carries on Jacques’ dedication to high quality delicious deserts (sic) . Keeping with French tradition, Miss Meringue Cookies are made with the finest ingredients to ensure the unequalled quality for which Miss Meringue is known…

The free cookies they sent me were madeleines. This was an odd choice on their part, as madelieines are best fresh, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I tried their traditional Madeleines as well as their chocolate, and they were…well…okaaaaay. A little dry and average to be honest. But beneath their taste was a flavor I was unfamiliar with. This lead me to their ingredient list.

There, listed as the fifth ingredient of the product, was a little item named “sorbitol”. What is “Sorbitol”? I’ll let Wiki explain for me:

Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is a sugar alcohol the body metabolises slowly. It is an artificial sweetener often used in diet foods. It is called a nutritive sweetener because it provides 2.6 calories per gram versus the 4 calories of sugar and starch. Sorbitol is poorly digested by the body. It is also used as a humectant in some cigarettes.

Sorbitol is also produced by the body. Too much sorbitol in cells can cause damage. Diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy may be related to too much sorbitol in the cells of the eyes and nerves.

Ingesting sorbitol can lead to some abdominal pain and mild to severe diarrhea.

I’m sure Miss Meringue has their reasons for using this product in their cookies. I’m sure they even have a reason for contacting me about their products. But did they think that I wouldn’t know about sorbitol? Did they not think that this would raise a red flag with me?

What is more infuriating to me is the corporate-speak peppered within their Press Release. You know the kind of speak I’m talking about here – where flowery words are used to create specific imagery about average products? For example, as a question, what part of the French tradition deals with chemical compounds that cause cell damage and diarrhea?

I’m sure that Miss Meringue has their heart in the right place in certain aspects of their business. But I’m going to avoid their products.


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