As the “zero sugar” craze sweeps the nation, “natural sweeteners” are flooding the market left, right and centre. I’ve had suspicions about these “natural” sweeteners for a while now, but new information published in the journal of PLOS ONE has revealed some interesting information that only clarifies my initial concerns.
Erythritol (a sugar alcohol) is made via the fermentation of the natural sugars found in corn. The (so called) benefit? Our body doesn’t recognise this ingredient during digestion and hence, it adds sweetness without the caloric intake. The down side? It’s now being labeled a “palatable pesticide”. Nice eh?
According to the journal article published on PLOS ONE “Erythritol, a Non-Nutritive Sugar Alcohol Sweetener… Is a Palatable Ingested Insecticide”, the following results occurred when the fruit-fly was raised on a diet that contained Truvia (an American brand of Erythritol containing sweetener):
- Flies raised on food containing Truvia showed a significantly decreased ability to climb by day 7 compared to flies raised on control nutritive foods proving Erythritol can affect both motor function and longevity of this insect.
- Fruit flies who consumed Truvia had a average lifespan of just 5.8 days, while flies who didn’t eat it lived between 38.6 and 50.6 days.
- Ingestion of erythritol may alter nutrient and/or water absorption and/or efflux.
- If you’re worried about Stevia, the data strongly implicated erythritol as the mortality causing agent however, in my opinion I would limit these sweeteners across the board until more research comes to light.
Whilst there is sufficient evidence to suggest Erythritol is “safe” for human consumption, from a holistic perspective, this new research suggests otherwise. The research suggests scientists are going to use this information to develop a new line of fruit fly insecticides.
For those relieved that the focus of this study discusses “Truvia” and not an Australian brand of natural sweeteners, think again. There are a number of “natural sweeteners” in Australia that use Erythritol, so make sure you check your labels thoroughly.