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


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

Packaged Food

There is Now a Kickstarter for Zero Calorie Chocolate


There are few things more intense than a serious chocolate craving. When it hits you, it’s all you can think about. Everything begins to smell like chocolate, everything looks like chocolate, and, quite frankly, you’re not to be trusted if you walk past an ice cream or pastry shop. Even with the best intentions, sometimes it’s hard to avoid the sweets.

So that’s why Cravings is trying to raise money through their Kickstarter campaign to create zero calorie chocolate. Yup. Chocolate. With no calories.

The product works in a similar way to Listerine mint strips. As they say on their page:

Think back to Willy Wonka and the 3-course meal chewing gum. CRAVINGS can mimic this same idea by creating strips in the flavors of tomato soup, roast beef, or blueberry pie!

While we’re not so sure how that will play out, The Listerine of Chocolate does have a ring to it. Pledges can get the strips as part of their thank you package.  If they reach their goal, then it might not be too long before you see chocolate strips next to your Listerine in the drug store.

What do you think? Worthwhile cause for cravers everywhere, or will it never be as good as the real thing?