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.

41 comments:

onetwoohmyg-dherewego said...

yikes.

that's sick, thanks for info.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Joelogon said...

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

Anonymous said...

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 )

Joelogon said...

Uh, indeed.

Anonymous said...

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!!!

Joelogon said...

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

Carrie said...

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

Joelogon said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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!!

Anonymous said...

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.

Chad said...

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.

Diverse said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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!

Louise said...

Poor you, that sounds awful! Thanks for being the search I went to about how many of these I can have in a day. I think I'll stop at the 3 I am up to now. Hope you never have anything like that happen again.

Anonymous said...

But the mints do say that they could cause a laxative effect....

Anonymous said...

oh crud...i just ate half a pack :(

Anonymous said...

I eat them all day,.. everyday,.. and suffer no ill effects at all,... my only criticism is that the ingredients are not listed on the tin which I would think was against the law. I would like to know if they're fattening because I am addicted to them. My other concern is that they are made in china where melamine is put into a lot of products so I hope I'm not inadvertently killing myself with my high consumption ???

Anonymous said...

Fuck just ate a pack...

Anonymous said...

My bottom's been projectile vomiting for two days!! Never downing a tin of these again!! Boycotting all things sorbitol for LIFE!!

groan.... gotta run..

Anonymous said...

It does say on many tins, and on all the plastic wrapping "Excess consumption may have a laxative effect". This is foudnon many sugar-free mint and chewy packets. Usually followed by "Contains phenylalanine" Its the phenylalanine that causes the laxative effect. Its also found in diet drinks.

Kpenzdard said...

Dude I have had such a bad stomach for ages and it also causes moderate diarreah for so long.
It hurts so much.

Anonymous said...

I can vouch- it's really hurting man. Think it's almost over. F@$ck. Ouch oooo ahhhh.

kaybee21 said...

Well, I just ate a shit load of mints and am suffering! At first I thought it was food poisoning, but later remembered that a dr. I had previously worked for always used to get onto us for chewing gum with sorbitol in the ingredients. TAKE CHARCOAL TABLETS! you can buy them at wal-mart. It helped me phenomenally. I take them for the stomach flu aswell, and it always eases my vomitting. I also take asodopholis regularly, it also helps. Feel better, my fellow sorbitol intolerant friends :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Eclipse mints are definitely rather, err, "cleansing" for the bowels....I find that if I eat more than 8 in one go, my stomach starts churning, and I feel ill for the rest of the day. But I've never had to spend the afternoon in the bathroom, thank god.

Anonymous said...

i have no problems with eating so many eclipse mints in a day

Jamie Mueller said...

hmm.. very interesting and informative... sadly prior to reading this i had consumed 2 packet's of the mint's :/ i'm going to have a wonderful night!

Liz said...

Dont eat anything your Granny wouldn't
recognize as food! Microwave Popcorn is another poison we have been sold. Now turns out it causes severe serious lung disease. We are too trusting!

Jasmine said...

I read this... a few hours after eating a box of Eclipse mints myself.

Let's just say, it's not fun.

Joelogon said...

Everything old is new again: Might want to stay from Orbit White gum, too.

Anonymous said...

where does it say on the packet dont drive while eatings mints? i was put on the breath tester and blew .273 and was almost charged with dui i want a answer on this

Joelogon said...

Interesting. At first I assumed you were full of it, but I did some quick looking around about the effect of sugar alcohols on breathalyzers.

Consensus seems to be that sugar alcohols shouldn't affect breathalyzers, since it's not the same as ethanol (which is what a breathalyzer looks for).

However, other things people say affect BAC readings include mouthwashes, being diabetic, smoking, and exposure to certain solvents.

So, I don't know why you blew a .273. Sorry and good luck.

Vivian said...

I eat one pack everyday and I don't have this problem

Anonymous said...

You moron, everyone on earth knows this already...

Anonymous said...

I blew a pack with my friends is that ok? O.o we only ate like... 3-8 each O.O

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or a all of you fucking retards for eating a whole pack.
Yours sincerely,
Jamie
"You just went full retard.
You never go full retard"

Unknown said...

Lukily i saw this before i ate 10 mints a day. On my 6th mint now. Phew. XD

Heaven said...

I had simular mints with the sorbitol too..and main ingredient was aspartame. I downed a 49 mint tin.. I was so sick on the car ride back. I was so tired I was falling asleep on the car door & when I was let out I puked and puked. It was such an awful feeling.. mint & vile coming up. ugh ew. never again!

Anonymous said...

The worseeeeeeeeeeee! Currently suffering from eating a tin today.

Anonymous said...

Me and my friend had a tin each of the spearmint ones on our over night hike with school, let's just say I didn't go to school for the rest of the week :/ ;)