Friday, March 15, 2013

What is "NATURAL" ? All about Truvia, Nectresse and others

At this time, the FDA has no specific requirements for the use of the word "NATURAL" for food processors.  (FDA Whining)  The FDA says that as long as a food does not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or synthetic substances, it can be called "Natural".  But it is not in any way to be considered law, and it is just a guideline.  Well with that as a guideline, then I'm not at all certain why Searle doesn't market their horrific artificial sweetener aspartame as being all "Natural".  The truth is, it is made from two amino acids and a methyl esther bonding the two together.  All NATURAL in the FDA definition of their labeling guidelines that they do not enforce. But then to the FDA, ALL labeling and nutrient information, their rules are just guidelines.  Did you know that to the FDA, the specific amount of any nutrient listed on the package can be off as much as TWENTY percent, and they are fine with it.  If any ingredient is added at less than one percent of the total amount of material in the recipe, then the producer DOES NOT HAVE TO LIST THAT INGREDIENT ON THE LABEL!  What that means is that manufacturers could use another chemical sweetener called Neotame and put it into anything they want, and because it is so sweet and so little is needed; that the manufacturer would not have to list it on the label.  And that is one of the new ones that is just a temperature stable form of aspartame, deadlier than the original, and absolutely NO long term testing has ever been done on it.  


What about all the new sweeteners on the market now, ones like Truvia and Nectresse that the makers claim are "All Natural"?  Personally, these are products that I feel fall under the "BUYER BEWARE" labeling law.  Since the FDA refuses to control the all natural terminology, then it is up to us, consumers, to watch out for products that have never been proven to not be harmful.  I have written about Truvia and Nectresse here before, and you can read about how they process the Stevia here, (Truvia)  And just for fun check out the Nectresse site itself as they use the word "NATURAL" about every tenth word.  It is very scary.  (Nectresse)  The main problem I have with these two chemical sweeteners is that they are marketed as All Natural, and that they are made from Stevia and Monk fruit.  Again, the processing of the extracts is scary, and these two products are not the main ingredient of Truvia and Nectresse.  Erythritol is the main ingredient in both.  Erythritol is what is called a sugar alcohol.  Not really alcohol, but it displays alcohol like characteristics, and is sweet. It is made from GMO corn starch. To make corn starch, big biz takes all the corn and cobs and treats it with sulfuric acid, then it is ground.  The starch separates from the germ, gluten and fiber.  Then after washing, it is dried.  Then the starch is processed by fermentation to make the Erythritol.  There are no records kept on the subject, but  am pretty sure that most, if not all of the corn used, is Genetically Modified.  At this time, very few long term studies have been done for feeding Erythritol, the ones that have been done do not indicate the source of the product, and the autopsies were limited. (Erythritol)   Does that sound natural to you?  It doesn't to me either.  There are a whole bunch of these alcohol sugars that are used as chemical sweeteners, look at the labels, avoid them if possible.  Sorbitol, made from glucose.  Xylitol, made from birch bark.  Mannitol, from glucose syrup.  Lactitol, from milk sugar.  Isomalt, from basic sucrose.  All of these should be avoided, as little long term testing has been done on them.  And let's face it, the companies that manufacture this crap are well known for lying to their customers.

So are any of the new chemical sweeteners okay to use?  That is a tough question.  Stevia to me is one of the finest natural sweeteners around.  You can buy it in bulk at most health food stores, or online (my favorite place) and make your own steva tea.  Use it to sweeten anything, but it is not good for baking.  But then if you are trying to lose weight or are diabetic, you shouldn't be baking a lot of stuff anyway.  If you want to buy one of the stevia based sweeteners on the market, look at the ingredients.  If it lists crap you can't pronounce, do you really want to risk your long term health on products that are making their manufacturers money that could possibly be used to fund a few studies to see if using their crap kills you down the road.  Well, maybe that is a foolish thought, why would any business actually fund studies that would put them out of business?  Then again, the BIG question is, why doesn't the FDA REQUIRE those studies BEFORE they approve that crap?

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