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Friday, January 6, 2012

Now Stevia is Coming In for Criticism too Just Like Other Sweeteners!

Many people who are health conscious have gravitated to what sounds more natural amongst the sweeteners.  It seems now some people are taking pot shots at Stevia.  Not so unusual as any of the sweeteners that hit the big time, encountered such things and worse.

Truvia (mix of erythritol and stevia) is one of the low-carb, sugar-free sweeteners to hit the market, but like Steviva Blend and many other new sweeteners, they are very pricey. I won't buy very pricey.  Sorry, I just won't.  In fact Splenda Granular has become expensive too and so I've started using sucralose which is liquid Splenda.  I use EZ-Sweetz available at  So because Truvia is so very expensive, people have apparently been stocking up on the little packets at restaurants, etc.  I don't mind the Steviva Blend but find in excess I have tummy problems.  I notice I'm not the only one as many have that problem with Truvia too.

Anyway that aside my only bias is that I've always used Splenda.  In fact, I have the unusual distinction of being the first cookbook author in the world to produce cookbooks using the product.   Oh wait a minute I have another problem with stevia.  I have yet to find a stevia product that I can actually taste as sweet.  It tastes yucky to me - rather bitter, but I don't mind Steviva Blend (have yet to try Truvia).  Apparently some people have that problem with stevia.  Judy Barnes Baker did an article about that recently - she had a rather comical last paragraph.  By the way, you are going to want Judy's new cookbook called Nourished!! I will be doing a review on my blog soon.  I've seen the PDF and it is awesome!

So, really, poor stevia is coming in for pot shots too now; par for the course!

"But some concerns linger. Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest points to studies in which animal and bacterial cells were administered a stevia component closely related to Rebaudioside A and showed genetic damage, which raises the prospect that it may cause cancer, CSPI said. (Other cell studies didn't show the same genetic damage, Mr. Jacobson says.)"

I'm happy people can use their own preferred sweeteners in our Low-Carbing Among Friends cookbook.  With the next volumes, we'll be careful to give sugar equivalents for the stevia used by some authors.  I am going to make a note to the authors about this today as some people have expressed a desire to have that clarification.

I'm very happy to point people to recent discoveries about sucralose which may set some people's minds at ease despite all the bad press through the years (which only began after we had Splenda in Canada for almost a decade and it was then finally made available to US citizens.  Hmm - fishy!  Some people probably felt threatened.).  Remember my family has consumed mega-quantities of Splenda over 20 years and we're fine.  I do think now though that Splenda Granular is less desirable than liquid sucralose (click here to purchase - I use the 0.5 oz bottle (24 drops = 1 cup sugar/Splenda Granular).  We don't really need the maltodextrin bulking agent in Splenda Granular in our low-carb diets; extra carbs!  (24 g carbs per cup with the maltodextrin).


Ginny said...

Interesting Jennifer. I use Truvia a lot. I haven't had a problem with it at all and am one of those people that tastes the sweeteness of Stevia, ha ha. I was so surprised to find that some can't, but that explains a lot. I never could figure out why some thought it was bitter. Anyway... I also found a really great deal on liquid sucrolose on ebay. I got a bottle that should last me a couple years I think. 2 drops for a tablespoon. So I will probably use that more often, except when I'm baking with chocolate. Truvia just works for me with chocolate. And you know... I have to have my chocolate ;)

Jennifer said...

The erythritol/stevia blends taste fine to me - there is a little twang, but that is not noticeable in the baked product. Splenda will work to sweeten chocolate as long as there is some dairy in there like cream. However, it is still best to get the synergy of two sweeteners - like sucralose and erythritol, for example or Truvia, which is mix of two sweeteners as well.

Cathie in UT said...

thanks for the heads up Jennifer. Any time Science in the Public interest makes a statement I am that much more likely to discount it. If you have seen Fat Head the Movie he shows that they are just a front for a vegan/veggie group. To them everything that tastes good is bad for you and probably were on the forefront of the whole cocoanut oil/saturated fat banishment!

Jennifer said...

Really? I did know that. You mean PETA?

Tonya said...

CSPI are a bunch of idiot jackals. They're the ones that pressured McDonalds into not frying their french fries in beef tallow because it was a "heart attack on a plate". They advocated, you'll never believe this, trans fats because they were "safer." I wonder how that worked out for them {/snark}

BTW, I like this part of CSPI's comment, "...studies in which animal and bacterial *cells* were administered..."

THAT is called "in vitro" and often has little to do with how things function in reality. I mean they can't even get up to a rat study with this one LOL.

We are not petri dishes nor calorimeters.

Jennifer said...

Wow, Tonya, you give a lot of food for thought with your comment! Thank you. I do feel sad about the McDonald's thing. That is too bad!

Ginny said...

Jennifer, here is an interesting link about the health benefits of Stevia posted on the Bernstein Forum:

Jennifer said...

Thank you, Ginny. :)

Jennifer Girouard said...

"...were administered a stevia component closely related to Rebaudioside A..."

Closely related isn't the same as "is". I am closely related to apes (supposedly), but I'm NOT an ape.

Jennifer said...

LOL Jennifer. I agree with you.