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  1. cscaos

    Compliant bacon - FOUND!

    @SugarcubeOD, do you have a reference for sodium erythorbate being a sugar or sweetener? I see Erythitol on the sugar list under sugar alcohols, but I don't see sodium erythorbate on that list. They are not the same thing. @Izzydee83 - the Appleton Farms bacon from Aldi you found looks compliant to me. There is a similar thread about bacon and sodium erythorbate on the forum from 2015. The conclusion in that thread (SugarcubeOD was part of the discussion, as was another moderator) is that containing sodium erythorbate would not make a bacon non-compliant. There are other reasons (like the bacon manifesto) to avoid bacon or minimize the amount you eat, but you can eat the bacon you found at Aldi if you want to. Eating any bacon, even complaint varieties, is strongly discouraged by the bacon manifesto and by the mods here on the forum. Eat some compliant bacon now and then if you want to, but please don't eat a lot, and don't eat it every day. It's allowed by the rules but not good for you.
  2. cscaos

    Can i have balsamic vinegar?

    I hope I don't irritate anyone too much by posting another follow-up in this thread, but there's something specifically written by Melissa that is quite relevant. In her stickied post from 2015 on "E" numbers of ingredients to avoid in the UK, Melissa specifically listed E150b and E150d as additives to avoid because of added sulfites. As mentioned in my post above, those are the forms of caramel color that are commonly used in vinegar. Therefore, it looks to me as if the official guidance from Melissa is that balsamic vinegar containing caramel color is non-compliant because of added sulfites. I'm going to treat that as a definitive and official answer as far as I am concerned. However, in her post, she didn't include any of the four forms of caramel color (E150a - E150d) in the list of sneaky sugars to avoid. With deference to all of the mods who have responded to questions about caramel color on the forums over the years, I realize there is certainly evidence to show that caramel color contains carbohydrates and will cause a rise in blood sugar. The four forms might even all be sugars for all I know. But Melissa hasn't categorized them as such as far as I can tell. Also, the official "Do I need to start over?" guidance says that unknowingly consuming sugar is the only slip up that officially does not require starting over. Why am I mentioning that? Because having consumed balsamic vinegar that contains caramel color is an "added sulfites" slip up, not a sneaky sugar one. And it therefore may well warrant starting over. I hope that any mods responding to future "can I have balsamic vinegar" questions will approach it from this angle.
  3. cscaos

    Can i have balsamic vinegar?

    Thanks for the quick reply, SugarcubeOD. Actually, I don't know definitively that caramel color is a sugar. I know that sugar or starch is an ingredient. But I don't know if the net result is still sugar. Yes, one kind of caramel color is sugar cooked down into caramel. But that's only one of the four classes of caramel color used as food ingredients, and it isn't typically used in vinegar because it breaks down in the presence of acid. Similarly, I know that all kombucha is made with sugar. Despite that, all kombucha that doesn't list sugar as an ingredient is allowed. There's been an official statement about that. And it highlights the fact that products made from sugar don't always end up containing sugar. Even though all forms of caramel color start with sugar or starch as an ingredient, I don't personally know that they all equate to added sugar in the end. Please don't try to make me feel bad for being uncertain about this detail. Your use of capitalization ("since YOU know that it's a sugar") is going a bit too far, in my opinion. --- Regardless, I've kept researching caramel color and vinegar since I submitted my first post in this thread. And I've learned something additional that actually concerns me a lot more than a possible small amount of sugar or starch. Specifically: There are four types of caramel color. Of those, only two are acid resistant enough to be used in vinegar. They're both made by combining sugar or carbohydrates with sulfites. Class II / E150b is made with sulfites plus alkali compounds and is more likely to be used in red wine vinegar because it produces a reddish brown color. Class IV / E150d is made with sulfites plus ammonia and is likely to be used in balsamic vinegar because it produces a dark brown color. Either way, vinegar with added caramel color is quite likely to have a higher sulfite content than vinegar without it because of the specific varieties of caramel color that get added to vinegar. And, on balsamic vinegar ingredient labels in particular, it might be reasonable to read "caramel color" as "ammonium sulfite" because that's the chemical commonly used to make Class IV caramel color. In other words, caramel color in the ingredients list of balsamic vinegar strongly implies that sulfites have been added. And that's a definitely "not allowed" situation. That's enough new information to make me reverse my earlier position. I'm not going to use balsamic vinegar containing caramel color during my Whole30. If I find I can't live without balsamic vinegar for 30 days, I'll buy a fully compliant brand.
  4. cscaos

    Can i have balsamic vinegar?

    I just wanted to offer my perspective on this topic. There are a bunch of posts asking about balsamic vinegar, and I've read a whole bunch of them because I was worried about the "contains sulfates" thing. I've read articles from food bloggers (including ones who focus mostly on Whole30) about how hard it is to find a balsamic vinegar that they're confident is fully compliant. That's what prompted me to start searching for "can I have" threads about balsamic vinegar. My first thought is that it's really hard to find wine-based vinegars that don't have sufites in them because sulfur dioxide is added to almost all commercially produced wine as a preservative. Avoiding vinegars with sulfites added after the fact makes total sense to me. What's more, I plan to use apple cider or rice vinegars almost exclusively and sharply limit my use of balsamic, red wine, and white wine vinegars for now. That's my plan at least until I get a clearer picture of whether or not sulfites cause problems for me or my family when we start reintroducing foods after our Whole30. My second thought is that having a small amount of caramel color isn't enough of a concern for me to replace a bottle of balsamic vinegar that I already have. Why? Well, for one, caramel color isn't on either the list of banned additives or the list of sneaky sugars. I wouldn't even know that caramel color is a form of sugar if I wasn't reading every thread I can find on balsamic vinegar here in the forums. If caramel color were a big problem, surely Melissa would have officially added it to one of the "bad things" lists at some point during the last nine years. Maybe caramel color will be added to a "not allowed" list in the future. Or maybe it's already been considered and ruled out for some reason. I currently have no way of knowing which of those is the case. So, for now, on the rare occasions I use balsamic vinegar, I'm okay with using one that contains caramel color. The official guides say that all vinegar is okay except for malt vinegar. As long as the bottle I'm using doesn't have sulfites or other explicitly banned items in the ingredients list, I'm okay with using it even though caramel color is listed. I will do my best to avoid buying any more foods with caramel color added. But I'm not going to replace a new, full bottle of vinegar just because of caramel color, either. That would be an extra expense that I can't justify on my budget. And I'm not going to worry too much if the only brands of things I can find locally and afford to buy contain caramel color, either, unless and until it gets added to one of the official "not allowed" lists. There are hundreds or thousands of people actively doing a Whole30 right now completely unaware that they might want to avoid foods containing caramel color. It can't be that big of a deal or Melissa would have taken action long ago. I don't know if all this makes sense to anyone else, but it's what makes sense to me. Thanks for letting me add my perspective to this topic.