Dr. Mehmet Oz discussed the dangers of a controversial new food additive called Sweetmyx on the Aug. 5 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.
Sweetmyx is a new sweetener that's not artificial, but isn't natural, either. Despite not having received FDA approval yet, it could soon be used in a wide variety of food products, including sodas, energy drinks, candy, cakes, cookies and doughnuts.
Sweetmyx is a "sweet taste enhancer" that's supposed to boost the sweet flavor of food and drinks without the extra calories of sugar, but there are lingering questions about its safety. "You'll be hooked on their products and will never suspect a thing," said Dr. Oz.
PepsiCo and Senomyx, the makers of Sweetmyx, are banking on the product as sales of diet sodas have plummeted for the ninth straight year due to public health concerns over the safety of artificial sweeteners. Sweetmyx has not yet received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, but has been labeled "safe" due to a technical loophole.
“Under current law, a company can, and in this instance did, independently determine that an ingredient is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for particular use without notifying the FDA," the FDA said in a statement to the Dr. Oz Show.
Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Weight Gain, Diabetes and Cancer
Bruce Bradley, a former Big Food marketer turned food advocate, told Dr. Oz he's concerned because there has been very information shared with the public about Sweetmyx. Bradley said S617 is the main ingredient in Sweetmyx, and so far, it appears to be artificial.
S617 works by binding to your taste buds and triggering a sweet taste. Dr. Oz is concerned that the S617 in Sweetmyx could enhance your taste buds so much that you become addicted to foods containing it.
Dr. Oz has previously discussed the dangers of artificial sweeteners, including weight gain, type 2 diabetes, increased appetite, hormone imbalances, gas, bloating and loose stools.
Another major reason to avoid artificial sweeteners is that some are made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Many artificial sweeteners are made from beets, soy and corn, which are grown with genetically modified seeds. Researchers have linked GMOs to cancer, birth defects, accelerated aging, infertility, and resistance to antibiotics.
Critics say it's alarming that Sweetmyx will soon be available to the public with very little involvement from the FDA. "Sweetmyx is yet another troubling example of how big food and beverage companies approach the issue of food and health," said Bradley.
"Excessive consumption, which drives higher corporate profits, is the heart of Big Food’s business model. To achieve this goal, more and more minimally tested additives are being introduced into our food supply with questionable concern for the long-term health consequences for consumers."