Stevia is not something new that has just popped up over the past years. It has been a staple in many cultures for hundreds of years. The import of this sweet tasting plant has been heavily regulated due to the pressures of the billion-dollar artificial sweetener market. Again, greed at its finest. It will continue to be a common theme that money becomes the motivating factor over what is best for our health. After finding some loopholes, Stevia has found a way into our market, and for good reason.
Stevia (stevia rebaudiana) is a plant, which produces a sweetness that can be up to 450 times sweeter than sugar. Because it is not a sugar, it does not raise blood glucose levels and therefore does not take you on a rollercoaster of highs and lows. In fact, it has been proven to regulate blood sugar and help lower blood pressure. It also will not cause your cravings to increase for sweet foods like the artificial sweeteners on the market.
Not all Stevia on the market is the same. When Stevia was said to be a healthy alternative to sugar and all the other toxic chemically manufactured artificial sweeteners out there, many companies found a way to list “Stevia” as an ingredient. Unfortunately, the regulations are so loose that it is easy for these companies to find a way past them. This fooled many people, including myself, until I dug deeper.
What ingredients to avoid when buying Stevia:
If you see the following in the ingredients section…run the other way:
- Dextrose: a simple sugar that can be combined with other simple sugars (fructose, glucose) to form sucrose…or table sugar.
- Maltodextrin: Is a processed additive, basically a filler with no nutritional value. It is made from rice, corn or potato starch. Although the FDA considers it “safe,” that is not the same as “healthy.”
- Rebiana: This is a chemically modified form of stevia, not pure. To derive Rebiana from stevia leaves, it goes through a 42-step process that uses chemicals such as acetone, methanol, acetonitrile, isopropanol and tert-butano. This is not the same as Rebaudisode A (Reb A). Reb A is a natural compound within stevia leaves. It is produced when sunlight hits the stevia leaves..this is a natural process.
- Natural Flavors: can contain up to 50 different chemicals
Brands to Avoid:
- Truvia, Pure Via and Stevia in the Raw-contains 95% dextrose..or pure sugar!
What to look for when buying Stevia:
- If it is a green powder, you know you are getting it in its pure form.
- Whole leaf
- Inulin is okay as it is an all-natural soluble fiber
- Basically just don’t want to see the above forbidden ingredients listed.
Brands I recommend:
- Sweetleaf Stevia (comes in liquid drops, what i use 95% of the time)