9th Grader Discovers Popular No-Calorie Sweetener is Made from Insecticide

truvia

For those of you who love the guilt-free experience of no-calorie sweeteners, you may want to reconsider how important your sweetened coffee really is. According to the new study published in PLOS One, Truvia, the popular calorie-free sweetener, contains insecticides.

To make Truvia, stevia extract — a natural sweetener found in nature by way of the stevia plant — is blended with erythritol crystals. The insecticide erythritol is one of the main components of Truvia.

So, who discovered that erythritol is an insecticide? Oh, you know, just ninth-grader Simon D. Kaschock-Marenda. He ran an experiment with his dad, the study’s lead researcher Daniel Marenda, to observe the effects of sugars on the longevity of the fruit fly. Apparently, Simon wanted to test the health benefits of Truvia when he noticed his parents began using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar.

The duo found that flies exposed to Truvia lived only 5.8 days compared to 38.6-50.6 days for flies who’d been given control foods. However, don’t panic yet: while erythitol is toxic to insects, it might still be safe for humans to eat.

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, containing significantly less calories than table sugar and occurring naturally in many fruits. It turns out we consume it pretty frequently; it’s found in chocolate, melon, grapes, yogurt, even your precious Vitaminwater.

In the end, the discovery could be a good thing and lead to insecticides that are safe for humans and less harmful to the environment. Until then, taking our coffee black doesn’t sound so bad.

H/T Bustle



Nora Landis-Shack was born to be a foodie. With a classically trained French chef for a father, she’s been exploring new tastes since she was big enough to help chop vegetables for dinner. Pig’s feet, frog’s legs, and tripe are delicious child’s play. Which isn’t to say she doesn’t love a great steak. Because she does. With frites, please.



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  • Anonymous

    Yes, some of the things that are safe for humans are bad for other animals & bugs. Erythritol kills flies, garlic kills dogs. Are you going to stop eating garlic because it kills dogs?

  • hh

    oh come on, what a reach.

  • Guest

    Such an irr

  • http://spottydottycat.com Spotty Dotty

    What an irresponsible, click-bait article. The paper published was NOT written by a 9 year-old. The paper specifically said that it is safe for human consumption, even in large quantity. And you turned it into this fearmongering nonsense. Have some respect for science, and if you don’t understand it, learn it. You don’t seem to have any credentials to support your writing this article, other than you have a computer connected to the internet.

    • Luca Shoal

      But but but. To much *DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE* will kill you! We have to warn the people!

  • Anonymous

    I usually enjoy articles on FoodBeast, but this one was really misleading. To say that something is made with or from insecticide is NOT the same as something being made from a substance that could also be used as insecticide. As faifai before me said, “Erythritol kills flies, garlic kills dogs. Are you going to stop eating garlic because it kills dogs?” There are many things that are harmful to one species, but not another.

    There’s enough to worry about and contend with in this world with regard to food safety and countless other issues. Please don’t spread fear unnecessarily about something that may not be significant or even accurate.

  • Anonymous

    Stupidest “article” on Foodbeast I have ever seen. Stick to real food news.

  • Goose

    It isn’t made of insecticide. If you read the scientific paper they reported that the substance had the side effect of killing the fruit flies, so it acts as an insecticide. HUGE DIFFERENCE….

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