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Rows of Dropper Bottles with One Marked Poison

According to new research, erythritol, the sugar alcohol used in Truvia brand sweetener, is toxic…

…to fruit flies.

Researchers from Drexel University kept Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies in vials, each with an equal amount of either Truvia, Equal, Splenda, Sweet’N Low, or Pure Via, with sucrose or corn syrup serving as controls. The observation period for this study was 65 days, but fruit flies in the Truvia vials lasted just 5.8 days on average, compared to the 38.6- to 50.6-day life span of the other flies.

Erythiritol is known to attract flies with its sweet smell, but then induce their death after intake. Researchers were extremely surprised by their results, and are now pursuing a patent on erythritol as an insecticide and hoping to learn if the compound has the same effect on other insects.

So…if Truvia is deadly to bugs, should humans worry about the effects? Probably not, says study author Daniel Marenda, assistant professor in the department of biology at the university. “Erythritol has been FDA-approved as a sweetener on its own since 2001,” he says.

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