Truvia sweetener is made from about 99.5% erythritol (a sugar alcohol), and 0.5% rebiana, an extract from the stevia plant (but not at all the same thing as stevia). A shocking new study published in the journal PLOS ONE (1) has found that Truvia, an alternative sweetener manufactured by food giant Cargill, is a potent insecticide that kills fruit flies which consume it.
The study is titled, Erythritol, a Non-Nutritive Sugar Alcohol Sweetener and the Main Component of Truvia, Is a Palatable Ingested Insecticide.
The study found that while fruit flies normally live between 39 and 51 days, those that ate the Truvia ingredient erythritol died in less than a week.
Erythritol made from yeast fed genetically modified corn derivatives
Erythritol is often indirectly derived from genetically modified corn, by the way. Cargill was forced to settle a class action lawsuit last year (2) for labeling Truvia “natural” when it’s actually made from a fermentation process whereby yeast are fed GM corn maltodextrin.
Cargill plays word games with this process, insisting that “erythritol is not derived from corn or dextrose feedstock; it is derived from the yeast organism.”
Yeah, okay, but the yeast are fed GMOs. So they’re playing mind games with their explanations.
There is a verified non-GMO erythritol available today, by the way, and it’s made by Pyure Brands, based in Florida.
Pyure Brands offers alternative sweeteners for the health-conscious marketplace, and their product is USDA Organic certified and Non-GMO Project Verified.
Truvia a really amazing insecticide
This story on Truvia’s insecticidal properties has really caught the attention of the public. Even CBS News (3), a mainstream media outlet that rarely covers the dangers of food additives, covered this story, reporting:
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.
“The more you get [fruit flies] to consume erythritol, the faster they die,” Sean O’Donnell, a professor of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, told CBS News.
“We are hoping to develop it into a human-safe insecticide,” O’Donnell later says in the story.
The abstract of the published study concludes, “Here we show that Erythritol, a non-nutritive sugar alcohol, was toxic to the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.”
No other sweetener killed the fruit flies
Fruit flies were also subjected to feeding tests with sucrose and corn syrup, but those sweeteners didn’t kill them. Only erythritol had this effect, as it shown in the chart below: