Nutritionals, LLC, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, and maker of
the artificial sweetener Splenda,
produces what it refers to as a “natural” sweetener known as
Nectresse to cater specifically to those looking for a healthy
alternative to artificial sweeteners and sugar even though no such
All refined sugars, even fruit juices contain so much sugar they are
hazardous to health.
So is Nectresse really as natural as McNeil claims it is, or is the
product just another example of tricky marketing hype aimed at
Erythritol (a sugar alcohol)
Mogroside V (aka Mogroside 5) which is an extract of monkfruit
According to the Nectresse website, the product is
“100 percent natural,” and is made from the heat-stable extract of
an Asian melon known as monk fruit, or Lo Han as supplied by a New
Zealand based manufacturer. McNeil claims that Nectresse contains
zero calories per serving, and that monk fruit is 150 times sweeter
than sugar, which means that consumers do not need to use very much
of it to effectively sweeten foods and beverages.
But monk fruit is not the only ingredient in Nectresse, nor is it
even the primary ingredient
The first and most abundant ingredient in Nectresse
is actually erythritol, a sugar alcohol commonly derived from corn,
the vast majority of which has been
genetically modified (GM) in the U.S. and therefore potentially
The second ingredient in Nectresse is sugar, which is refined and
more than likely comes from GM sugar beet.
The third ingredient in Nectresse is molasses. This is another
form of sugar is more than likely derived from GM
sugar beets — producers that use sugar from sugar cane, after all,
typically indicate this on their ingredient labels.
The fourth and smallest ingredient in Nectresse by volume is monk fruit, which is extracted
using a natural process involving both water and heat rather than
chemicals — this is good and you can see the process in this video.
According to MonkFruit.org, monk fruit can actually be up to 200
times sweeter than sugar because it contains natural antioxidants
known as mogrosides that have a strong, sweet taste, but that are
not actually considered to be sugar. These mogrosides are unique to
monk fruit, and they also contain zero calories.
By itself, in other words, monk fruit appears to be viable as a
healthy, alternative sweetener that, because of its heat stability,
can work better than stevia in certain food applications that
require baking, sauteing, or other forms of heat cooking.
So three out of the four ingredients used in Nectresse appear to be
derived from bioengineered crops, and two of these ingredients are
refined sugars. Since erythritol is a sugar alcohol, as well as
the most abundant ingredient in Nectresse, how can McNeil legally claim
under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines that
Nectresse contains zero calories per serving?
But the fact that Nectresse more than likely
contains ingredients derived from GM sources means that it is hardly
the “natural” product that McNeil is hyping it up to be. Sure,
Nectresse contains a little bit of monk fruit which like the stevia
plant, contains compounds that are naturally very sweet, but that do
not provide the body with calories in the same way as sugar. But the
other ingredients found in Nectresse can hardly be considered
Nectresse appears to use monk fruit to simply sell sugar which represents the corporate food industry’s latest attempt
at trying to cash in on the health-conscious. It does not
matter that the label say zero calories, any sugar when metabolised
stores sugars as fat and this is not a solution for weight loss.
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