Friday, December 19, 2008

not so sweet news

Oh boy, here we go.  The FDA has just made what is called a "midnight approval" (meaning a last minute decision before the new administration steps in) certifying Truvia.  What is Truvia?  It is the chemical analog of Stevia, an herb, Stevia Rebaudiana, which grows primarily in South America, is related to the Chrysanthemum and is approximately 300 times sweeter than sugar.   

The FDA has refused to certify Stevia as safe for use in food even though it has been used for centuries by native populations and has no known side effects.  It is really only available in healthfood stores as a dietary supplement.

Enter Cargill and Coca-cola.  They collaborate together, create something called rebaudioside A and go begging to the FDA for approval - AND GET IT!  

I'm very upset about this.  The Center for Science In the Public Interest (CSPI) reveals that studies done at UCLA show a concern among scientists that this creation has not been adequately tested.  Unfortunately with this approval big business will now try to market all sorts of soda, ice creams, candies, etc touting their new "natural" sweetener.  I wrote about this in a paper over a year ago and am saddened to see my suspicions coming to light.

Just as corporations try to promote Splenda as being "just like sugar" they will now promote Truvia as a natural substance.  It's not.  Stevia is just like stevia.  Truvia is a created version that is similar but is not the same.  Don't be fooled and please don't eat it.

As an aside, if you didn't already know, Splenda is indeed made from sugar but the resulting powder has replaced three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule with chlorine.  This makes it a chlorocarbon.  And what do chlorocarbons do?  It is a well-known fact that they cause various types of body damage including organ, genetic and reproductive.  Approval was given based on the fact that the manufacturer claims the chlorines are so tightly bound in the structure that there is no health risk.  They are now doing some long term studies with rats but, again, I don't think it's real food and I don't think you should eat it.

Low processed sugars like sucanat or evaporated cane juice crystals, honey, molasses, maple syrup, are the sweeteners that are best (in moderation).

Be well.
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