You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. But if you want to kill them, you might try Truvia. Because a new study shows that the active ingredient in this popular sweetener can act as an insecticide.
The study began as a sixth-grade science-fair project. Eleven-year-old Simon Kaschock-Marenda noticed that his parents had stopped using sugar. So he decided to see how different sweeteners affect the health of fruit flies. He and his dad, a card-carrying biologist, offered the flies food spiked with a variety of no-cal sweeteners. Six days into the experiment all the Truvia-fed flies were dead, while those stuck with Sweet-n-low, Splenda or Equal lived five to seven weeks.
Why Truvia makes flies drop like flies is still a mystery. Back in the lab, the researchers confirmed that the bugs weren’t starving: they all continued to eat. Most actually seemed to prefer Truvia to real sugar when offered a choice, findings published in the journal PLoS One. [Kaitlin M. Baudier et al, Erythritol, a Non-Nutritive Sugar Alcohol Sweetener and the Main Component of Truvia®, Is a Palatable Ingested Insecticide]
Next, the researchers will see if the sweetener kills other bugs, like cockroaches or ants. Until then, try tossing a little Truvia in your coffee, and on the counter.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]