Does pop really go stale?
Yes, says "Beverage World," the magazine of the soft-drink industry. Virtually all diet sodas, in particular, can go stale because it is made with the artificial sweetener aspartame. When used in beverages, aspartame has a shelf life of about three months. After that, the aspartame breaks down and the product can end up tasting somewhat bitter or different than expected.
The breakdown is not a problem in most major markets because of efficient shelf rotation. In stores where products move more slowly, however, this could be a problem.
And, if that can of soda that you've had in your pantry since last summer doesn't taste quite right when you finally open it, it likely is because it has gone stale.
How much vitamin C is enough?
Mary Clarke, nutrition education extension specialist, says that adult tissues can become saturated with about 200 milligrams daily. The present RDA is only 60 mg. which is enough to prevent deficiency symptoms but not enough to prevent other diseases. Smokers need more because of all the free radicals that are produced when tobacco is burned. Also, researchers don't yet know how much vitamin C older people need, especially those who are chronically ill. Best guesses are that 200 milligrams is a better minimum than 60 mg but certainly a total of 250 mg to 500 mg daily from both foods and supplements are OK. The new RDA recommendations for vitamin C are expected in fall 1999. By the way, it doesn't matter whether the vitamin C is manufactured or extracted from natural sources such as rose hips. Synthetic and natural vitamins have the same formula and structure.
-- Susan Krumm is an extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper. She can be reached at 843-7058.