Brazzein, a sweet protein from the berries of a West African plant named Pentadiplandra Brazzeana, may soon hit supermarket shelves as the newest "natural" alternative to sugar.

The product, which will be marketed globally as Cweet, is said to be 1,000 times sweeter than sugar with no undesirable aftertaste. Cweet is also touted as tasting similar to sugar, is heat stable and water soluble, and has zero calories.

Brazzein was originally developed as a sugar alternative by University of Wisconsin, Madison researchers in 1994. However it wasn't until recently that a "production breakthrough" was achieved that will allow the product to reach the market.

Natur Research Ingredients, the Californian company that has exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute Cweet, is currently preparing to submit a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The company has already gathered interest from large food and beverage companies, and, pending approval, Cweet could reach the market in 12 to 18 months. It would rival popular artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose.

Sources: November 5, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Cweet is just the latest in a slew of artificial sweetener brands hoping to cash in on people's desire to eat sweets that are sugar-free and therefore "healthy."

Readers of the newsletter, however, will not be swayed by all of this hype.

If you currently think that you're making a healthy choice when you eat artificial sweeteners, please make it a priority to read my book Sweet Deception. You will discover that artificial sweeteners, including those that state they are "natural" and "safe," are not natural, safe or in any way healthy.

In short, you need to be wary of anything created in a lab that claims to be "natural." To me, a natural food is something that is grown from the earth that can be eaten practically as is. Natural foods require very minimal processing, if any, and certainly don't need the help of a "production breakthrough" to be brought to market.

Of course, artificial sweeteners are a hot ticket right now -- demand for these products is expected to grow to over $1 billion by 2010, according to Freedonia Group, a market research organization.

Cweet has all the makings of another Splenda -- the artificial sweetener that claims to be "made from sugar so it tastes like sugar," but which has drawn hundreds of testimonials from readers like you who feel they've suffered nasty side effects.

All of the artificial sweeteners on the market have been linked to toxicities. Consider that:

* Nutrasweet has been shown to cause cancer and lower sperm count
* Aspartame has been linked to multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease
* The molecular structure of Splenda bears remarkable resemblance to pesticides

Now I am certainly no fan of sugar. But when it comes to sweeteners, regular sugar is safer than any artificial sweetener, hands down. If you are going to use sugar I am convinced that the safest and healthiest way to consume it would be to use a healthy raw organic honey like Pure Gold Raw Honey.

If you choose to sweeten your food, though, I recommend you do so in very limited amounts. Aside from raw, unprocessed honey, the South American herb stevia is also an acceptable choice.

I want to emphasize, however, that if you have insulin issues, I suggest that you avoid sweeteners altogether (including stevia and raw honey), as they all can decrease your sensitivity to insulin. So if you struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or extra weight, then you have insulin sensitivity issues and would benefit from avoiding all sweeteners.

As for Cweet, well, it's left a bad taste in my mouth before it's even reached the market.