Bite it with Britt: Is Sweetmyx just another artificial sweetener? |

Bite it with Britt: Is Sweetmyx just another artificial sweetener?

Britt Glock
Sports nutrition specialist at Midland Fitness
Brittney Glock

I recently read an article in the Denver Post about Pepsi announcing that it will be test marketing two sodas (Mug Root Beer and Manzanita Sol) sweetened with Sweetmyx. They will be using “lab humans” in Denver and Philadelphia to market-test the products, and the new Sweetmyx-enhanced beverages should be on shelves by the end of October.

Everyone knows that reducing the amount of sugar in our diet is going to improve our health, which means that the processed food industry is constantly struggling to find ways to counteract our concerns over sugar in the hopes of avoiding threats to their profits.

Think about it — most food and beverage companies are highly dependent on sugar to make their products taste better and drive cravings that keep people coming back to buy them over and over again.

Senomyx could be the next big thing when it comes to doing this.

Senomyx is an American biotech firm that creates additives that change how our food tastes and smells, which sounds a little sketchy to me. They do this by mapping the tongue and using their technology to understand what chemicals trigger our taste buds. Senomyx has created a product of artificial and natural additives that they hope will transform the foods we eat and drink. Big Food industries think this may help in the battle to reduce sugar and calories in your favorite not-so-healthy choices. Sweetmyx is not a sweetener; instead it works by enhancing the sweet taste of sugar or other artificial sweeteners, which allows manufacturers to reduce the amount of sweeteners used in any given food or beverage.

I’ll admit after reading that they can chemically change the way our food tastes and smells, I was a little shocked. What’s next? Will we embrace the characters from the movie “Wall-E” and all be on spaceships riding around in hover chairs watching our individual TVs while genetically altered food is pumped into our bodies?

I’ll admit, I’m no scientist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night, and while I was there I did some research. The tiny buds in our tongue are very sensitive and hard working. When sugar hits our tongue, it connects with a sweet taste bud, which then stimulates the nerve pathway and creates the sensation of sweet.

Basically it tells our brains: YUM!

Sweetmyx takes over by enhancing and exciting those sweet taste buds with another chemical that works when sugar is present. So basically it is just making our taste buds super human to sugar so these companies don’t have to use as much to keep us addicted to soda pop.

What I can’t find in my research is anything saying that this product is natural, which means it has to be artificially synthesized from chemicals. So really there is no way to tell if this is safe. Senomyx has declared Sweetmyx GRAS, an acronym for Generally Recognized as Safe. That’s comforting and all, but it is still not approved by the FDA.

Why are we constantly trying to change and enhance food when there are thousands of natural whole food choices available to us? These foods give us the nutrients that we need to stay healthy and strong. Why not try these few things before giving in to chemically altered foods?

Here are my tips:

Eat whole foods: Whole foods are foods that haven’t been tampered with, in the lab or the manufacturing plant. The foods you eat should be straight from the farm: whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, grass-fed and free-range meats, whole dairy products, unsalted nuts and seeds.

Avoid processed foods: Processed foods are any food that has a label. You don’t have to eliminate all processed foods completely, but if you can’t pronounce an ingredient on a label, why would you want it in your mouth? Remember: The fewer ingredients, the better.

Artificial Sweeteners: Stay away from the little packets. While they may cut the calories for you, they’re adding in things that may be harmful, such as aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame-K, and sucralose. I’d rather eat a few more calories than deal with the list of side effects from those ingredients.

Don’t deprive yourself every time you have a craving: Cut yourself some slack, and enjoy something sweet every now then. It will stop you binging later on.

Britt Glock is a personal trainer and a sports nutrition specialist at Midland Fitness. Look for more from Britt in her “Bite it with Britt” practical nutrition series in the Post Independent.

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