Bonumose says FDA Sides With High Fructose Corn Syrup Producers and Against Consumers, By Suppressing Truthful Information About Tagatose

  • Tagatose – a naturally-occurring sugar replacement – acts like dietary fiber in the human gut, feeds good gut bacteria, and contributes to gut health, which is associated with increased immunity and other positive health outcomes.
  • Tagatose also contributes positively to metabolic health, oral health, and has 60% fewer calories than sugar.
  • Despite tagatose’s positive health benefits, the FDA is forcing food companies to count tagatose under “added sugar” grams on the Nutrition Facts Panel, which has the effect of denying consumers access to relevant information.
  • Internal FDA documents discovered via the Freedom of Information Act indicate a potential FDA bias against health-focused innovation and in favor of industrial corn sweetener producers.

Charlottesville, Va.May 19, 2022 — In a convoluted, contradictory, and illogical letter that could have been ghost-written by high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) lobbyists, the FDA denied Bonumose’s 2018 Citizen Petition requesting the FDA to allow truthful and helpful information about tagatose to be communicated to consumers.

Healthy tagatose has been available as a food ingredient for approximately 25 years, but so far its production costs are so high that it has been unattainable for the average consumer and too expensive for widespread use in food products.

Tagatose, unlike most sugar alternatives, has an attractive flavor; is 92% as sweet as regular sugar; has nearly the same functional properties as sugar does in food (for example, tagatose depresses the freezing point in ice cream for a creamy texture); and is the closest thing to being a drop-in replacement for sugar in large-scale food production equipment.

Amazingly, tagatose also has positive health benefits. Tagatose not only does not cause tooth decay, but it even breaks up dental plaque, meaning tagatose is suitable for toothpaste and mouthwash, and is long-recognized by U.S. and European law for a dental health claim. Tagatose not only does not increase blood glucose levels, but also has the effect of moderating sugar spikes caused by other ingredients, and under European law can carry a blood glucose lowering claim.

Of critical importance, tagatose feeds beneficial bacteria in the gut, which makes it healthy for the gut microbiome. In fact, the only calories present in tagatose (1.5 calories per gram, or 60% lower than sugar) are predominantly due to tagatose acting like soluble dietary fiber in the large intestine, which means tagatose’s calories are not “empty calories.”

After Phase 3 clinical trials, tagatose has been compared to Metformin® (the current first line defense against diabetes) in its ability to manage hyperglycemia. Tagatose also has been shown in preliminary studies to inhibit the production of toxins by the virulent gut pathogen Clostridioides difficile (aka C. Diff.). And tagatose can be made into HMF for sickle cell disease treatment.

Though tagatose has historically been 50 times as expensive as regular sugar and was made from dairy-based materials, Bonumose invented a low-cost method of making plant-based tagatose. Bonumose’s patented process has the potential to lower the cost of tagatose to below the cost of most sugar alcohols (which are produced by corn refiners) and potentially to cost-parity with HFCS-55 when produced in the future at comparable mass scales. Bonumose will start producing tagatose at small commercial-scale this summer and is on a mission to make nourishing tagatose affordable for the global mass market.

Though acknowledging tagatose’s many health benefits, the FDA informed Bonumose on May 18, 2022, that tagatose must – at least for the time being – be listed under “added sugar” grams on the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP).

The FDA’s decision is diametrically opposed to the FDA’s 2020 decision to allow allulose (another rare monosaccharide) to be exempted from “sugar” for NFP labeling purposes. It should come as no surprise that allulose is made from fructose by HFCS companies in a complicated and costly process that relies upon HFCS production.

“The FDA is the same agency that is fumbling the country’s current infant formula crisis, and the tagatose decision is from the same office within the FDA that was called out for ineptitude and infighting in a recent scathing report by POLITICO,” said Ed Rogers, Bonumose’s CEO. “Tagatose’s attractiveness as a great-tasting, lower-cost sugar replacement with positive health benefits of course makes entrenched corn sweetener companies nervous. And tagatose’s potential to make some high-priced pharmaceuticals obsolete must make the FDA and drug companies nervous, too.”

Diet-related diseases annually cost trillions of dollars to treat. Tagatose can play a vital role in the food-as-medicine movement. The European Union, Chile and other countries treat tagatose differently than “sugar,” but here in the United States existing industry influences cause the FDA to fail to serve U.S. consumers.

“On one side you have Bonumose, health-conscious consumers, and better-for-you food companies, and on the other side are the FDA, the oligopoly of politically-connected high-fructose corn syrup companies, and global pharmaceutical companies,” added Mr. Rogers. “Not only should tagatose not be counted under “sugar” grams, but it really should be counted under “fiber” grams. If the FDA actually cared about human health, it would encourage, not discourage, the broad adoption of tagatose. Early in Bonumose’s history the communist government-owned Chinese Academy of Sciences tried to steal our invention and claim it as its own, and we beat them. Now we will fight the FDA’s folly, and we believe the FDA will not be successful in suppressing the tagatose truth for too long.”