Research shows that the Truvia sweetener is a strong pesticide; fruit flies die in less than a week from consuming GMO-derived erythritol.
The popular Truvia sweetener contains 99.5% erythritol (a sugar alcohol), and 0.5% rebiana, which is a stevia plant extract- but far from the same thing.
A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE made a shocking discovery: Namely, this popular sweetener, produced by the food giant Cargill, is a potent insecticide which kills fruit flies which eat it.
This study, named Erythritol, a Non-Nutritive Sugar Alcohol Sweetener and the Main Component of Truvia, Is a Palatable Ingested Insecticide, found that while the normal life of fruit flies is between 39 and 51 days, the ones which consumed erythritol died in less than a week.
Additionally, this dangerous ingredient is indirectly derived from genetically modified corn.
This forced Cargill to settle a class action lawsuit for its label of Truvia as “natural”, while the reality is that it is manufactured from a fermentation process in which yeast are fed GM corn maltodextrin. Yet, they even use this to escape the truth and claim that
“erythritol is not derived from corn or dextrose feedstock; it is derived from the yeast organism.” This may be correct, but the yeast is fed GMOs, so their explanation cannot deny the facts.
On the other hand, there is a verified non-GMO variant of erythritol, produced in Florida, by Pyure Brands. The products of this company are USDA Organic certified and Non-GMO Project Verified, and they are intended for the health-conscious marketplace.
Yet, the findings of this study and the possibility that Truvia has potent insecticidal properties worried the public. The story was even covered by CBS News, which reported:
Erythritol, the main component of the sweetener Truvia, has a new, unexpected application — it may be used as an insecticide. …Researchers found that fruit flies fed with food that included erythritol or the erythritol-containing sweetener Truvia died much sooner than flies fed with food containing other types of sweeteners.
Sean O’Donnell, a professor of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, also told the CBS News that “The more you get [fruit flies] to consume erythritol, the faster they die. We are hoping to develop it into a human-safe insecticide,” O’Donnell later says in the story.
The conclusion of the published study says that “Here we show that Erythritol, a non-nutritive sugar alcohol, was toxic to the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.”
Apparently, fruit flies are not destroyed by other sweeteners. Tests showed that fruit flies which were fed with sucrose and corn syrup were not killed. The study text says that this harmful ingredient actually affects the motor coordination of flies:
…adult flies raised on food containing Truvia displayed aberrant motor control prior to death. We, therefore, assayed motor reflex behavior through climbing assays. Flies raised on food containing Truvia showed a significantly decreased ability to climb.
Research has also shown that Stevia is not the reason for these consequences, as they also investigated Purevia and found it was safe for fruit flies, but the cause is erythritol, which had such toxic effects on fruit flies.
Also, it showed a dose-dependent death response, which means that higher amounts of it accelerated death.
According to the FDA,Truvia is safe for human consumption, but it claimed the same about aspartame, so unfortunately, we cannot rely on it.
Millions of people consume sugar alcohols, believing that they are safe, and may be completely right. However, there is a chance that erythritol contains some unknown contaminant which leads to such toxic effects. The cause may also b in the GMO connection, as well.
Many experts believe that erythritol may be perfectly safe for humans, and these effects occur only selectively, due to the different physiology of insects. If this is true, we wonder why it is not sold as a natural pesticide instead of the expensive and chemical-loaded pesticides by DuPont and Monsanto.
It is important to mention that the idea to investigate the matter came from Simon D. Kaschock-Maranda, a sixth-grade boy.
If sugar alcohol can be sprayed on crops and destroy insects, and consumed by humans with no side-effects, they would be of major value for the organic food production.