How Natural is Nectresse?

30 Jan

How Natural is Nectresse?

Perhaps you have seen the new sweetener Nectresse, brought to you by McNeil Nutritionals, the makers of Splenda.

According to the Nectresse for Healthcare Professionals website, Nectresse is a blend of natural sweeteners “featuring” monkfruit extract, is 100% natural with zero calories per serving, and has the “rich, sweet taste of sugar”.

Is this really a better alternative than any of the other preexisting artificial sweeteners? Let’s break down the Nectresse claims:

  • Zero-calories: yes, it has zero calories – a one packet serving (2.4 g) basically has no nutrition in it at all
  • Blend of natural sweeteners: well, that’s debatable – the ingredients include erythritol (corn-derived sugar alcohol, most corn in the US is genetically modified unless otherwise stated or organic, which this isn’t), sugar (just a little, but still, likely from GM sugar beets), monk fruit extract (more on that next), and molasses (more sugar)
  • 100% natural: The four ingredients in the ingredient list do occur in nature, but keep in mind that in nutrition, “Natural Means Nothing” – this not a legally definable or enforceable term
  • Rich, sweet taste of sugar: according to monkfruit.org, powdered monkfruit is 150-200 times more sweet than sugar, so, in a fashion similar to that of stevia, a little bit goes a long way

So is this a better option for you than sugar? Well, it depends what you are after.

  • If you are looking for a no-calorie sweetener, then it is certainly lower in calories than sugar
  • If you have a lot of spare cash on hand, this is an expensive way to sweeten your drinks – I paid almost $5 for a box of 40 Nectresse packets
  • If you are trying to avoid genetically modified ingredients, this isn’t going to fly
  • If you are looking for fiber from a fruit-derived sweetener, this is not your product – since so little is used, it has no fiber

If you are looking for your fiber needs in a packet, you are barking up the wrong tree.

Stick to whole foods for your fiber, and when possible, choose GM-free ingredients to sweeten your foods.

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