Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Monday, February 26, 2007

Warning: Do Not Eat an Entire Tin of Eclipse Mints

This is an entry about mints and mint tins that takes a decidely unminty turn.

I was in Target yesterday, and in addition to some sundries, I grabbed a two-pack of Wrigley's Eclipse Mints (Winterfrost flavor).

As I've mentioned before, I like gum and tins that could be used to hold things (including gum). So I was primarily interested in the tin:

Eclipse Mint Tin

The Eclipse mints tin is about the same depth and height as the Jones Soda Company candy tin (and has a similar lid), but it's wider, which means it can fit a stick of Trident.

Anyway, since I just wanted the tin, I powered through most of the mints over the afternoon (the "smooth mouth experience and distinctly cool flavor sensation" is addicting), then went to Mexican restaurant Teocalli Tamale in Herndon for lunch.

Later on, when I was at home, I suffered some major intestinal distress. Fairly or not, I blamed the restaurant and thought I had picked up some mild, run-of-the-mill food poisoning, or maybe just had a tough time with beans and hot sauce.

It was not particularly fun.

Today, I finished off the other tin (remember, it was a 2-pack). This was followed by another period of fun.

Since I am not a complete idiot, I figured out that it was probably the mints.

I took a look at the ingredients, and the first listed ingredient is the sweetener Sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol that the body doesn't absorb well.

(Incidentally, "sugar alcohol" sounds like it should be a lot more fun than it actually is.)

Hrm, a substitute ingredient that's used precisely because the body doesn't absorb it well. That sounds kind of familiar. Kind of like... Olestra.

Here's what the Center for Science in the Public Interest (you usually hear them rousing rabble about junk food) has to say about Sorbitol. It's in an unappealingly-titled item, "Consumer Group Petitions FDA to Require "Diarrhea" Notice on Foods that Contain Sorbitol":
"Studies over the past fifteen years have proven that sorbitol can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, ranging from mild discomfort to severe diarrhea, when adults consume between 10 and 50 grams of the additive."
According to the Wrigley product information page (which is hard to link because of the Javascript), a serving of 3 mints has 2 grams of sugar alcohol.

So a 50-mint tin has about 34 grams of Sorbitol. Which is apparently enough to ruin a good portion of your afternoon.

While the Eclipse mint tin is pretty nice, I think it would be even nicer if it had a warning that says "May cause intenstinal distress. Do not eat more than 10 per day."

I do note that the Altoids sugar-free Smalls mints also contain Sorbitol, though I don't remember if they gave me trouble, too.

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  • yikes.

    that's sick, thanks for info.

    By Anonymous onetwoohmyg-dherewego, At 7/17/2007 9:03 PM  

  • I can confirm this is true. Lets just say I really, REALLY like the Cinnamon flavor. Not fun.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10/04/2007 10:44 AM  

  • Ditto on the cinnamon flavor. I, too, just ate a tin through out this morning and found out the consequences myself before searching the internet and finding this article.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 2/20/2008 6:52 PM  

  • They should just cut out the middleman and market it as toilet bowl cleaner.

    By Blogger Joelogon, At 2/20/2008 11:03 PM  

  • Trying to knock of the fags i came accross these hady little tins of mr Wrigley;s goodies i love all the flavours and got stuck in to them no fun - switching to peanuts but having the odd Cinnamon ( harder to give up than the fags )

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 3/12/2008 10:02 PM  

  • Uh, indeed.

    By Blogger Joelogon, At 3/13/2008 2:57 AM  

  • I'm totally addicted. I go through one to two tins a day. I can't give them up....no matter how many bathroom breaks I need each day!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 9/06/2008 12:48 AM  

  • Are we sure it's the mints that we're addicted to?

    By Blogger Joelogon, At 9/06/2008 1:23 AM  

  • I eat these all the time...this is an awesome post

    By Blogger Carrie, At 9/14/2008 1:55 PM  

  • I caught part of a House rerun last night -- a flight attendant (male, as it was) was in the clinic saying that his quitting smoking was causing him intestinal problems. Turned out it was his incessant chewing of Sorbitol gum.

    By Blogger Joelogon, At 9/15/2008 12:27 PM  

  • Yeah well its all well and good for us adults.... however my son ate 10 today... sneakily found them in my handbag! Hes 2!!! Nappies...not nice!!
    Some sort of mention on the tin wouldve helped our panicked household!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 6/21/2009 4:11 AM  

  • I also find it strange that some chewing gum has the warning
    excessive consumption may have a laxative effect and the mints do not have the same warning.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 7/22/2009 11:39 PM  

  • These mints have given me dizzyness, a feeling of tension in my head, and fatigue. It took me a while to realize what was zapping my energy. In addition to sucralose it contains acesulfame potassium. The sucralose can cause problems with the thymus.

    By Blogger Chad, At 10/21/2009 11:10 AM  

  • I eat Eclipse Mints all the time. And these always give me diarrhea. I HAVE to eat mints though as I suck on minty stuff to deal with anxiety. But I'm thinking about switching.

    By Blogger Diverse, At 11/24/2009 5:42 AM  

  • I am also a victim of the cinnamon eclipse mint. I was just chewing on them whilst writing an essay and now im in agony and cannot sleep ><
    Zantac, tums, degas, panadol are all ineffective in removing the intestinal pain T_T
    bad thing is most people wont see this article until they have experienced it them selves and its too late!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 3/13/2010 8:17 AM  

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