‘Slay Them With Sweetness’
I was happy when Stevia hit the market as a natural sweetener with no calories or chemicals. Then I discovered that the taste was often less than desirable, sometimes way too sweet, or leaving an aftertaste. I have tried several brands but not systematically. I decided to do this research so I could make informed choices about which to buy.
The goal of stevia products is to replace granulated cane table sugar with a harmless and healthier alternative. What all stevia products share is that they are as sweet as cane sugar without the calories and other drawbacks. Not all stevia products are created equal, however. Some are healthier than others and some taste better than others. Like cane sugar, stevia plants have to undergo preparation to yield stevia products. In general, stevia products are less processed than cane sugar products. Stevia comes from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, native to South America, and the processing is relatively simple. The leaves are dried out then steeped in hot water, filtered and purified to get an extracted form of the plant. Where stevia products differ among themselves is the additives to balance sweetness and flavor. Most stevia products come as either powders or liquids.
Stevia products ingredients:
Many stevia products contain only stevia extract and preservatives. The best stevia products contain only pure stevia leaf extract as the main ingredient. Stevia products that contain additives use artificial sweeteners and natural flavoring. A primary additive is erythritol, a sugar alcohol made from cornstarch. Erythritol is added to stevia to increase sweetness and flavor while keeping calories low. Many stevia products will contain more erythritol than stevia. Erythritol also masks some of the aftertaste of stevia, but it is not metabolized well by the body. A little stevia goes a long way as it can be 200 – 400 times sweeter than refined sugar.
Stevia products do not need to be approved by the FDA to be sold for human consumption. It is important that you choose Stevia products that are manufactured in a facility that is regulated and approved by the FDA.
The best stevia products contain minimal ingredients and are manufactured by a trusted brand.
Results of surveys:
Truvia is the best-selling stevia brand. Surveys found that it feels and looks most like cane granulated sugar. A drawback is that it has an aftertaste. It contains more erythritol than stevia, with stevia extract accounting for less than 1% of the ingredients. It falls into the ‘stevia-based’ category. A box of 400 packets is $16.14.
Pyure Organic Stevia All-Purpose Blend Sweetener ranks high in surveys. It contains high quality organic ingredients but also contains more erythritol than stevia extract. It is sold in packets, in bulk or in liquid form. A 16oz bag is $6.98.
Stevia in the Raw is very sweet because it blends stevia with dextrose, a corn-derived sugar. It also has an aftertaste. A box of 200 packets is $8.94.
Micro ingredients Organic Stevia is pure organic stevia extract powder which means it doesn’t contain any added ingredients. 4 oz for $16.95.
Sweet Leaf Natural Stevia Sweetener contains a volumizing agent called inulin fiber which is tasteless and helps this brand not be too sweet. Their products can be found in powder or liquid form. The liquid products are free of all allergens and alcohol. 70 packets for $4.04.
NuNaturals White Stevia Powder is a product I have used successfully. It tastes good and the brand is trustworthy. Their white stevia powder products are pure. Many surveys rank this product as coming the closest to natural refined sugar. It has a smooth taste, not too sweet and no aftertaste. 100 packets for $9.49.
Natural Mate Stevia has perfected the texture of sugar. The difference is negligible. It is blended with erythritol. It has a good taste. 16oz. for $10.00.
If you are looking for a good alternative to granulated sugar, stevia is currently the best choice. Stevia does not contain the properties found in refined sugar that can create higher blood sugar levels, diabetes, hypertension and many other health risks. Studies of the benefits of stevia have shown that its nutrients can also lower your blood sugar level. Try some of the above brands to find the one you like the taste of and read the labels to see what other ingredients besides stevia are included.