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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Stevia - A New Sweetener

By Laurie Beebe

A plant by the name of Stevia has been getting a lot of attention recently. It seems promising as a new generation of no-calorie sweetener: Great news for people watching their waistline as well as people with diabetes who limit their intake of sugar. One company, Cargill, manufactures a product made from Stevia under the brand name, Truvia. Pepsi-Co is working with The Whole Earth Sweetener Company and they call their version PureVia. Here's the scoop:

Truvia and PureVia both contain Rebiana. This is a derivative of the leaves of the stevia plant. The companies that manufacture it (Cargill and Coca-Cola) report it "only consists of the best-tasting components of the stevia leaf". The sweet leaf of the stevia plant is dried, steeped in water, and further purified to provide a calorie-free sweet taste.

Truvia also contains erythritol, a sugar alcohol which acts as the carrier for the sweetener. It is a sugar alcohol with a digestive pathway that results in very little of it remaining in the large intestine (as happens with some other sugar alcohols), reducing the likelihood of gas or bloating.

Rebiana has been studied and found not to contribute calories, or to affect the blood sugar of people with type 2 diabetes. The coca-cola company claims it's product has no aftertaste, even though many products containing Stevia do have a lingering aftertaste for many people.

Coca Cola is ready to release some beverages containing Truvia, even while the compound is pending FDA approval. The Pepsi company will be following shortly, but are awaiting the final nod from the FDA, which was expected in November. The rebiana product itself is allowed in food products under the GRAS list (generally regarded as safe) under FDA law. The sweetness of rebiana keeps it less suitable for carbonated beverages, so look for it in teas and juices in your supermarket very soon.

Laurie Beebe, The Diet Coach, is a registered dietitian certified in adult weight management. Coaching helps dramatically by allowing people to set their own goals and design their own action plans. Please visit Laurie's website, Shaping Your Future for diet tips, links to great books and websites, and a free monthly newsletter! Visit for more great diet tips that can lead you to a healthier diet and permanent weight loss!

Article Source: Ezine Articles


Anonymous said...

Stevia has been around for decades if not centuries. It is a native plant in South American and used by people there for eons. It has always been easily purchased in health food stores. There actually was some sort of ban on it for use in products. I am not clear on the reason but something about competition with other sweeteners already on the market. I am not convinced that erythritol does not cause gas and bloating from my own experience. Each person will need to determine that for themselves. Jo-Ann

Soledad said...

My experience with Stevia is that it is so sweet, a tiny pinch goes a long way. Packaged as Truvia, fillers are used so that you get a similarly sized sweetener packet as others on the market. By doing this, each packet contains three carbs. I'm not sure how these carbs count towards the daily carbohydrate intake of a person on a controlled carb diet, but I think I would be more likely to purchase it as Stevia in a health food store. If anyone has anything to add to this, I'm very interested in knowing more.

Lisa said...

Stevia has kind of a minty taste to it, but at least I know I'm not poisoning myself the way I do with that pink packet stuff!! These new natural sweeteners might take some getting used to, but anything is better than high fructose corn sweetener!