Problems with New Sweetener

UPDATE: August 2010
Here's a toxic sweetener you most likely had never heard of, but I would caution you to make sure you do not ingest it:
HealthEdge's NaturallySweet 
This is manufactured by these folks.

Truvia, Purevia, Zevia, Zerose, Zsweet are marketing names for this artificially blended  erythritol and rebiana mix.  Rebiana is a chemically modified form of  stevia, it is NOT pure stevia.

UPDATE 4, Consumer complaints regarding Truvia

UPDATE 3, 23 December 08: A reader comments on Erythritol as not causing her any problems as noted in our researcher's report. Just like all substances, the ingestion of a substance needs to be in the right form, the right amount, et al, and the effect and outcomes are individual. Please realize that our researcher is a former FDA investigator who has an indepth background in the sciences necessary to make such statements. Please note that the artificial sweeteners referred to, Truvia (Cargill) and PureVia(Whole Earth Sweeteners) are manufactured by these agribusness corporations with an extract of stevia (rebiana)and erythritol and are NOT whole leaf stevia or pure(whole leaf)stevia extract.

UPDATE 2, 22 December 08: Please note that contrary to other reports you may be reading, the FDA DID NOT APPROVE STEVIA. The FDA, in cahoots with Cargill and Coke, approved a synthesized product - as reported originally in this article - manufactured with rebiana (an extract from Stevia) and erythritol (a sugar alcohol).

As Dr. Evangelista states (quoted below): "DO NOT CONFUSE REBIANA (TRUVIA) WITH STEVIA"

UPDATE 1, 20 December 08: Zerose is the Cargill synthesized artificial sweetener made from stevia and erythritol. Zsweet is a similar product in UK and EU. There are numerous scientific studies presenting that this, and related products such as Truvia, may lead to calcium, potassium and phosphate loss with calcification (and lesions) in the kidneys (just like Splenda) and bowel alterations. Please read more.

As to Zevia soda, it seems to me to be quite irresponsible on the part of the company CEO (an attorney)to make the following quote, "Why not supplement a steady breast milk diet with some refreshing ZEVIA?" This quote is associated with a photo of an infant being fed soda by the mother on the company blog. I would suggest the mother is irresponsible as well. While the company web site does not state that Zerose is the sweetener used in their products it does mention that eryrithritol is an ingredient.

I am sure this fellow was not in my 'Social Responsibility of Business' class in grad school.

We suggest Just Like Sugar, unaltered Stevia (order the extract via the Starwest link on this page) and Agave.

We do not endorse the use aspartame or sucralose or any forms of these chemicals, first developed as inseticides, or any products containing them, as they are known toxins to human health, nor do we endorse the use of acesulfame K.
The news this morning on NPR seems to be focused on helping you be in the spin on 'rebiana'(Truvia) and how it is "just stevia".

Coke (using Truvia) and Pepsi (using PureVia) are marketing this new artificial sweetener in their beverages but apparently aren't open to presenting both sides of the story.

Even the one TV ad I saw recently for "Truvia" would lead you to believe that this is a safe and natural additive.

Zevia(a soda), because it contains erythritol, may also have similar problems.

The problem is that is may come from natural sources but it is an extracted and modified chemical when it comes out the other end.

Do not confuse this with pure stevia, it is a combination of chemicals with a dab of the stevia plant. Stevia itself is a sweetener and yet they are using Erythritol which is a sugar alcohol known to cause such things as bloating, diarrhea and cramps. That tells you they are not using much stevia. Nor are they removing the poisonous aspartame from Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. They are simply trying to satisfy a part of the population that knows how deadly aspartame is and wants to use something else.

Notice this sentence: "Stevia was not approved as a food additive by U.S. regulators, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued letters to the companies on Wednesday saying it had no objections to their sweeteners, which are derived from the plant." The FDA has made themselves clear. Industry can do anything they please but they have no intention of approving something safe for the general public. They don't want to displease the aspartame industry who is powerful and takes care of those who defend their poison. Make sure you understand this is a combination of sweeteners and chemicals and not real stevia. The pop companies feel "a dab will do you, so just buy our product regardless of how its made". The public again will be the guinea pigs and lab rats. Also, see the admission that Pepsi's Purevia is being developed with Merisant, an aspartame manufacturer. Nobody should use these products until they are analyzed. Industry is constantly adding small amounts of aspartame because its addictive. If they do this to these products aspartame victims will react because aspartame is so poisonous it causes chemical hypersensitization.
Lab Tests Point to Problems with New Sweetener
Consumer group says product can increase cancer risk
September 2, 2008

A consumer group says a new commercial sweetner, said to be 200 times sweeter than sugar, may cause health problems and needs more study. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are planning to introduce new drinks made with the sweetner, rebiana, an extract of stevia leaves.

In a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says the agency should require additional tests, including a key animal study, before accepting rebiana as Generally Regarded as Safe, or GRAS.

The letter cites a new 26-page report by toxicologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, several, though not all, laboratory tests show that the sweetener causes mutations and DNA damage, which raises the prospect that it causes cancer.

"A safe, natural, high-potency sweetener would be a welcome addition to the food supply," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "But the FDA needs to be as sure as possible that rebiana is safe before allowing it into foods that would be consumed by tens of millions of people. It would be tragic if the sweetener turned out to cause cancer or other problems."

One key animal study has not been conducted, according to the UCLA experts and CSPI. The FDA's guidelines advise testing prospective major new food additives on two rodent species, usually rats and mice. The new sweetener has only been tested on rats, but not mice.

The toxicologists' report said that because several studies found mutations and DNA damage, a lifetime mouse study designed to evaluate the risk of carcinogenicity and other health problems was particularly important.

The UCLA toxicologists emphasized the need for more genotoxicity tests, because of the evidence that derivatives of stevia that are closely related to rebiana damage DNA and chromosomes.

Their report noted that much of the recent research on rebiana was sponsored by Cargill and urged the FDA to obtain independently conducted tests to ensure that corporate biases don't influence the design, conduct, or results of the tests.

Rebiana is shorthand for rebaudioside A, a component of stevia. It is obtained from the leaves of a shrub native to Brazil and Paraguay. Coke, Pepsi, and other companies are excited about rebiana, because it supposedly tastes better than crude stevia, which is sold as a dietary supplement in health-food stores.

After all the controversies pertaining to saccharin, aspartame, and other artificial sweeteners, the food industry expects many calorie-conscious consumers to eagerly opt for this natural sweetener.

Two companies -- Cargill and Merisant -- have told the FDA that rebiana should be considered GRAS, a category given less scrutiny by the FDA than ordinary food additives. A third company, Wisdom Natural Brands, has declared that its stevia-based sweetener is GRAS and will market it without giving evidence to, or even notifying, the FDA. That company gave CSPI only a heavily redacted report prepared by scientists it hired to declare its stevia derivative, which is of unknown purity, is safe.

Stevia is legal in foods in Japan and several other countries, but the United States, Canada, and the European Union bar stevia in foods because of older tests that suggested it might interfere with reproduction. New tests sponsored by Cargill did not find such problems.

"I am not saying that rebiana is harmful, but it should not be marketed until new studies establish that it is safe," Jacobson said.

Cargill's version of rebiana is called Truvia and would be used by Coca-Cola. Pepsi's version is called PureVia and is produced by Merisant's Whole Earth Sweetener division. Merisant is best known for marketing the Equal brand of aspartame.

CSPI has not questioned the safety of two artificial sweeteners, sucralose (Splenda) and neotame, but says that suggestive evidence indicates that saccharin, aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), and acesulfame-K pose small risks of cancer.

"The whole issue of what gets GRAS status needs to be reviewed by Congress," Jacobson said. "It's crazy that companies can just hire a few consultants to bless their new ingredients and rush them to market without any opportunity for the FDA and the public to review all the safety evidence."

Two of the most harmful ingredients in the food supply are considered GRAS: salt, which raises blood pressure and causes thousands of unnecessary heart attacks and strokes every year, and partially hydrogenated oil, which is the source of artery-clogging artificial trans fat. CSPI has long campaigned to get partially hydrogenated oil out of the food supply and to reduce salt to safe levels.
From Consumer Affairs

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