«

Sweetmyx: A New Sweetener That’s Sneaking Into Our Food

342 Flares Facebook 326 Twitter 14 Pin It Share 1 Google+ 1 Email -- 342 Flares ×

Sweetmyx is a new sweetness enhancerReducing the amount of sugar in our diet undoubtedly improves our health. However for the processed food industry, increased consumer concern over sugar is one of the top threats to their profits. After all Big Food is highly dependent on sugar to make its products taste better and drive cravings that keep people coming back to buy more and more.

To address this challenge food and beverage companies have been on the hunt for a silver bullet to cure their sugar addiction. One company that Big Food has enlisted for support is Senomyx, an American biotech firm that creates additives that change how our food tastes and smells. By mapping the tongue and using its proprietary technology to understand what chemicals trigger our taste receptors, Senomyx has created a pipeline of artificial and natural additives that they hope will transform the foods we eat and drink. The question is, are these additives safe? And given the processed food industry’s track record, will we even know what’s being added into our food?

To help in the battle to reduce sugar and calories, Senomyx developed Sweetmyx. Unlike many of the artificial and so-called natural sweeteners that have been introduced over the past decade, Sweetmyx operates in a totally different way. Rather than being a sweetener it works by enhancing the sweet taste of sugar or other artificial sweeteners, thereby allowing manufacturers to reduce the amount of sweeteners used in any given food or beverage.

So what do you need to know about Sweetmyx? Here’s a basic Q&A I’ve put together for my readers:

Q: How exactly does Sweetmyx work?

A: Well, I’m no scientist, but I’ve learned from various readings that our tongue’s taste receptors work somewhat like pieces of a puzzle. When sugar hits our tongue a molecule of it will connect with a sweet taste receptor, stimulating the nerve pathway and creating the sensation of sweet. Sweetmyx hijacks that pathway by agitating and exciting that sweet taste receptor with another chemical that works when it’s in the presence of sugar. So in a way, it increases your receptor’s sensitivity to sweet taste sensations.

Q: Is Sweetmyx natural?

A: Although Senomyx has both “natural” and artificial flavoring additives in their pipeline, from what I’ve been able to surmise, S617 (the company’s moniker for Sweetmyx) is not a naturally derived sweetness enhancer. It appears to be artificially synthesized from chemicals.

Q: Is Sweetmyx safe?

A: We just don’t know. Despite requesting safety information several times from Senomyx, neither I nor various media partners I work with have been able to get any details of safety testing conducted on Sweetmyx.

Q: How was Sweetmyx tested and approved?

A: Again, there isn’t much information out there. What we do know is that Senomyx declared Sweetmyx GRAS (a term coined by the FDA that means Generally Recognized as Safe) based on a FEMA panel recommendation.

What’s FEMA? It stands for Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association, and it’s a trade organization representing 120 member food and flavoring companies. What this Sweetmyx example highlights is that basically the flavoring industry not only develops the food additives, but then it’s allowed to test and approve them as safe using its own industry association. This practice points out one of the many flaws with the FDA’s governance of what’s allowed in food, and it’s the subject of a recent lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety against the FDA.

Q: What foods will Sweetmyx be in?

A: Pepsico has an exclusive deal with Senomyx to use Sweetmyx in its non-alcoholic beverages. So that means it could be added to any of Pepsi’s line-up of fruit juices, sports and energy drinks, and sodas.

Firmenich SA has negotiated the rights to commercialize Sweetmyx in food. As the world’s #2 ranking flavoring company, Firmenich’s sales reach is powerful so Sweetmyx will likely land in cookies, muffins, cakes, yogurt, and other highly processed foods found in your grocery store.

Q: How will Sweetmyx be labeled?

A: Again, right now we’re operating in the dark, but we do know that Big Food wants it to appear as innocuous as possible. So you can probably bet it won’t be labeled as Sweetmyx—that would draw too much consumer attention. Most likely you’ll see it lumped in with artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners, or perhaps listed as a “sweetener blend”.

Q: So what’s the bottom line? Is Sweetmyx a good thing? Is it healthy?

A: Answering whether Sweetmyx is good for you can be complicated, but here’s my perspective. Senomyx and Big Food would like us to think they’re helping us out by introducing lower-calorie, healthier foods made with Sweetmyx. In reality they’re introducing yet another additive into an already highly processed food world.

While Sweetmyx may help some people reduce sugar consumption, it totally ignores the most viable health solution—encouraging people to eat real food instead of the highly processed diet most Americans consume. Let’s be honest, who knows how this additive will affect our bodies? We certainly haven’t seen any testing that should make us rest easier. But even if Senomyx and Pepsi produce some safety studies, rarely do these studies examine the long-term effects of additives and how they interact with all the other flavoring and colorings that are in our food. Furthermore, time and again we’ve learned we don’t truly understand the intricacies of the metabolic pathways our body. Sweetmyx could be yet another additive that may trick our taste buds today, but wreak untold damage over our lifetimes.

Now that you’ve heard my opinion, what do you think? Is a product using Sweetmyx something you’d consider buying? What sweeteners do you consider safe, and how do you minimize the amount of sugar in your diet?

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but our blog will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

8 comments… add one

  • Tina April 27, 2014, 11:46 am

    Wow… That’s really scary. It just doesn’t stop. For years I’ve been saying there’s got to be something that we’re eating or drinking or breathing that is causing all of these illnesses, diseases and allergies/asthma. And I believe it’s all of these different chemicals that Big Businesses are handing to us just so they make a profit. It sickens me.
    I don’t think this is a good idea. In fact, reading this article made me think of the drug ecstasy(or any street drug for that matter). It takes the endorphins from your brain to make you think everything is wonderful & great, happy carefree. When in actuality it’s robbing you of a natural high later in life. How are “street drug” illegal & these “food/drink drugs” not? I may not be using the correct technical terms but you get my idea.

    Reply
  • Ginny Waters May 5, 2014, 10:56 pm

    Just found your blog. Great stuff. Keep getting the word out! Eat real food! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Simon May 28, 2014, 10:42 pm

    Bruce Bradley, I totally agree with your ideas on swetmyx. This is all chemical, and is rotting our body every time we consume this horrid food into our body. I will watch out for those labels, everyday our diet is becoming more and more dangerous. Luckily, there are still some of us who believe in the right things. Lets fight for what we believe in! I for one will not eat these foods that are funded by Pepsico and Fermenich SA. I know a lot about the new foods big companies are creating, and I’m researching more! Keep me posted. Simon L 5th. grader

    Reply
  • Tami August 5, 2014, 4:20 pm

    Sounds like at least Pepsi will be taken out of our diet. Luckily for me I don’t drink soda, and my husband likes different types, So I can change his Pepsi for something else. However, sounds like the company will try to get this into our diet other ways. I hope You will keep us informed if you find out any other foods this will be placed in. thanks for the info.

    Reply
  • Valerie August 5, 2014, 11:58 pm

    We need to clean house at the FDA. They are there to protect us. It makes me sick that we no longer have any protection from Food and Drug companies. It seems they can feed us what ever they want for the almighty $$$$$$! Why are we the only country to allow these companies to poison us. Russia is throwing out McDonalds because it’s food is too fattening. We need to do the same. These companies are making us sick and they are getting rich along with the Healthcare Companies. They are all getting richer while America is getting sicker, fatter and dying of cancers faster than you can say, “Wait what just happened?”. Read the artical about how Kraft had to recall millions of Taco Bell taco shells because they were made of GMO corn. It was declared un fit and unsafe for human consumption in 1999, however in 2014 it is not even labeled and used in almost every food on the shelves. When did we lose our rights to know what we are eating? Maybe everyone should pick up a copy of Soylent Green a movie from the 70′s set in 2022. That day is here!! Scary.

    Reply
  • cc August 7, 2014, 7:29 pm

    Wow! thx for the heads up.

    Reply
  • Eco August 9, 2014, 12:46 pm

    Thank you for your work. This is very important for people to know and began to think. Greetings from Poland

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Commenting Policy: Following the advice of a popular blogger, I’m running my blog conversation like it’s my living room. Just so you know, I won’t tolerate bad behavior in my living room, and I won’t tolerate it on here. Critical is fine and differing opinions are encouraged. But if you’re rude … bye bye. And when commenting, please use your PERSONAL name or initials and NOT your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. The bottom line is, be cool, keep it clean, and have fun! Thanks in advance for adding to the conversation!

«

Get Free Email Updates

Never miss a blog update and learn how to live a healthier life with REAL food.

  • About Me:

    Bruce Bradley

    Bruce Bradley

    I'm a father, food advocate, consultant, and author.

    Bruce is a former processed food exec turned food advocate, blogger, and author.

    Before his food advocacy work, Bruce worked for over fifteen years as a marketer at companies like General Mills, Pillsbury, and Nabisco. As one of the only former processed food marketers actively speaking out about concerns over the food we eat, the media often seeks Bruce out for his honest perspective. His 2011 interview, Confessions of a former Big Food Executive, was one of Grist online's Top 10 clicked stories for 2011.

    Bruce now writes, performs speaking engagements, and provides business strategy and marketing consultant services to help ethical, sustainable businesses reach their potential.

    Bruce graduated with an MBA from Duke University and a B.A. from Davidson College. Born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, he now lives in Minneapolis, MN with his son and their dog, Katie.

  • Topics:

Most Popular Posts:

Bruce Bradley in the Media
Bruce Bradley Named Food Hero by Allergy Kids Foundation
Bruce Bradley in the Media
Follow Me on Pinterest
342 Flares Facebook 326 Twitter 14 Pin It Share 1 Google+ 1 Email -- 342 Flares ×