Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stevia, overly processed?

I recently saw a commercial for Truvia. Have you seen this? It says they pick the leaves from the Stevia plant, steep the leaves in water, which removes the sweet compound Rebiana, then further purify that to make Truvia. It also has "naturally fermented sugar alcohol."

According the stevia.com, Stevia extract made by various natural food brands is pretty similar, if not the same as Truvia.

So, Truvia may be the first brand of Stevia to be FDA approved as a sweetner, maybe. Until now FDA has allowed Stevia to only be marketed as a dietary supplement. Looking at the box I purchased I would have had no idea it was a sweetner. The only clue is that it says it's aspartame-free. My mother's naturopathic doctor told her about it, so I tried it.

I don't like it as much as sugar in my coffee. It's okay in tea. I've made hot chocolate for the kids with it and they enjoyed it just as much as ever.

One difference with Truvia is that it will be packaged to tell consumers how to use it compared to sugar. However, I've found Stevia conversion charts, so I didn't really need a big name brand to tell me that info. It's sad that it takes a big company like Cargill to market a food item under a name brand. It's weird. Sugar isn't called something made-up by different manufacturers. No matter who makes it, it's SUGAR. So, why is stevia being named Truvia, like sucralose is called Splenda? It just seems like this Truvia stuff cannot be the same as stevia extract. More info is circulating now than ever before, so hopefully we'll all get some answers. There's even information out that Stevia is dangerous, though the general consensus is that it's completely safe. Splenda, aka sucralose, however, I've never trusted and don't consume.

What do you use?

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