Sugar-Free Substitutes a Law?

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, FL - "Ah, you get any two sides, any bread... "

Fifteen years in business, and the menu here at Olean McCaskill's 'Home Cookin'' Restaurant hasn't changed much. From fried chicken to collard greens and pancakes, if you want the staples, she's got them, but if you're looking for a light topping, well, good luck.

Olean McCaskill, restaurateur, says, "We do have a lot of people that request low-fat syrup, low-fat jellies, and sometimes they will ask me and I'll say, 'no, we don't have that', you know."

Over the weekend, Olean picked up a bottle of reduced sugar jam, but, a newly-filed bill would go even further, requiring restaurants to carry sugar-free substitutes for jelly, jam and marmalade. Some tout 90 percent fewer calories and they're diabetic-friendly.

The health benefits may be tremendous, but critics say a syrup crackdown would be akin to a new government mandate. Another example of Tallahassee laying it on thick.

If the bill passes, the cost of doing business would undeniably go up...
That is, for restaurants. Demetrius Brown, a supporter of the bill, wonders if the jelly industry has its sticky hands in the legislative process.

Brown says, "It's all the money game. Someone's probably paying them to push it so that they can get those options out, probably, that's my only thing, 'cause I mean, as long as you still have options of regular syrups, people are still going to use it."

At least they do here at Olean's, where she says out of a hundred customers a day, at most only three will ask for anything but the real stuff.

"The majority of the people want some sugar!"

Still, it's not the healthiest habit to have, and, at least a few lawmakers want to squeeze a new alternative onto your plate.

The bill would also require restaurants to post prominently on their menu that they offer sugar-free syrup and jelly substitutes.

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