I’m freaking out.

11 May

Totally freaking out. Me. The one who reads every food label and doesn't buy anything I'm not sure of is freaking out because I didn't do my research on a new product.

I have been using stevia extract forever. Like 10 years or something. Love it. If you don't know what stevia is, it's a plant native to South America. The extract of its leaves is about 300 times sweeter than sugar. It has zero calories, zero carbs and a zero glycemic index rating. Not only is this good for those trying to lose weight without artificial sweeteners, research shows that stevia may be beneficial in treating high blood pressure. I've researched it well.
I use stevia extract primarily to sweeten drinks, sometimes oatmeal and occasionally in a salad dressing. The only thing I haven't liked it in is coffee. For some reason, when stirred into coffee, it turns really bitter. 
And then PureVia and Truvia hit the market. I was so excited to see that someone finally realized how wonderful stevia is as a natural, no-calorie sweetener. I tried both brands and discovered that Truvia doesn't turn bitter in coffee. I celebrated. I've been using it in my coffee, oatmeal and recipes since about the first of this year. 
Today, Whole Foods posted an article on their website talking about the benefits of stevia. (Whole Foods does not sell any items in their stores that contain artificial sweeteners such as Splenda/sucralose and NutraSweet/aspartame.) I read the article and the reader comments below the article. 
Someone posted that Truvia is not really stevia. The "rebiana" ingredient is a trade name for some chemically-extracted portion of the stevia plant. It does not come from nature. AND — this commenter said that the main ingredient, erythritol, is made from genetically-modified corn from agri-business giant, Cargill. I started freaking out.
Then I started searching and reading online. They were right! Erythritol comes from corn and thirty percent of Cargill's corn is GMO. I read over and over again about the side effects people had experienced with Truvia. Things like weight gain, headaches, grogginess and worse. And it contains nothing that would be a benefit to those with hypertension.
I'm disappointed. And I'm angry that I've been using Truvia for months and I have only myself to blame. I should have known better. 
I'm still a huge supporter of natural stevia extract. I will continue to use it as I have been and will switch back to regular sugar in my coffee. If you're looking for a natural, calorie-free sweetener not made with chemicals, pure stevia extract is the one to try. You only need a drop. It's available online, in health food stores and in the natural foods section of grocery stores. 
And the moral of the story? Know where your food is coming from and don't buy anything with ingredients that you haven't fully checked out. 
Yep. Still freaking out.

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8 Responses to “I’m freaking out.”

  1. Patti May 10, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Is that the stuff you gave me? Just what I need, help with weight gain — not!

  2. Tamie Spears May 10, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    Yes, did you see my FB comment below my post? Throw it out. I'm guessing that may be part of the reason I haven't lost any weight despite being vegan for 4 months. I didn't know the bad stuff until I started researching today. All I knew when I gave it to you was that it was yummy in coffee. So bummed to discover it's garbage.

  3. Michelle Ridler May 15, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Thanks sooo much for the info! I have been trying some alternative sweetners like aguave syrup and brown rice syrup. Not too keen on either. Will give the stevia extract a try!

  4. Tamie Spears May 16, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    I haven't tried agave yet because it's so expensive. I have tried brown rice syrup. It's not sweet enough to sweeten coffee or tea, but it's really good spread on toast and sprinkled with cinnamon! I've had good luck with the pure stevia except in coffee. It turns bitter for some reason. I just use a teaspoon of regular sugar in my coffee, or I buy the So Delicious French Vanilla coffee creamer. It's made with coconut milk and pure cane sugar. It's fantastic!

  5. Winnie August 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    Be sure to stick to Stevia only. Aspartame's license expired and it is now being marketed under different names by different chemical manufacturers. This stuff is pure toxic poison.

  6. Winnie August 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    In Christina Cooks cookbook she says that brown rice syrup is safe as a sweetener but the agave I would steer clear of. I bought some for my husband that is diabetic and then read that it was not all that great. But on the other hand have heard only good things (so far) on the Brown Rice Syrup. She also said it comes in flavors.

  7. Tamie Spears August 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    Winnie – I've been a stevia user for at least 10 years. I never, ever eat or drink anything with aspartame or sucralose (Splenda). Pure chemicals in my opinion. They are banned from our house and even my kids know to not eat anything that says Sugar Free because there's a 99% chance it contains one of those two artificial sweeteners. I like the brown rice syrup on toast, sprinkled with cinnamon and I've used it to bake with. It's very expensive, though, and it's still pretty high in calories so I use stevia most of the time.

  8. Winnie August 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Not sure what you are paying for your brown rice syrup, but I buy mine on the internet at http://www.tropicaltraditions.com

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