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Theresa’s Take on Truvia

Today’s blog is what my son would call “One of my Mother’s Rants”. As you may know I am rewriting my food plan book. And so I am reading a lot of the literature about artificial sweeteners. And, as the Universe would have it, a number of people have been in my office with problems with these products this month. And as I do the research, I get more and more annoyed. So here is just a bit of what I am finding, briefly, I hope, with a few opinions thrown in!

These non-nutritive artificial sweeteners are approved by the FDA for use as sweeteners: Saccharin – sold as Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin, Sweet ‘N Low Brown, Nectasweet; Aspartame – sold as NutraSweet, Equal, or Sugar Twin; Acesulfame K – sold as Sunett, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One; Sucralose – sold as Splenda; Stevia – sold as Truvia, PureVia, Pyure, Enlighten and SunCrystals; Neotame – mostly used in manufacturing.

All are much sweeter by volume than sugar. Because of this they are sold in packets with an extender, or bulk-adding product like dextrose or maltodextrin. These extenders are sugars or sugar analogs – other types of sugar-like foods.  (That’s mostly so there will be enough volume that you can see them in the packet, but some come in a glycerin/water solution and a dropper.)

I will talk about the other sweeteners in future blogs, but today, I want to rant about Truvia and Stevia.

The newest substitute is Truvia. Truvia is not the same product as Stevia. The disappointing truth is that, despite the fact that Truvia is marketed as a “stevia-based sugar substitute,” it is NOT equivalent to Stevia. The ingredient list for Truvia is as follows: Erythritol, Rebiana and Natural Flavors. Just three ingredients and Stevia isn’t even one of them! Erythritol is a sugar alcohol which is made by processing genetically modified corn; (sugar alcohols are strong triggers and have unpleasant side effects). Rebiana is derived from a Stevia plant. Rebiana is not the same thing as Stevia. It is a molecule of the stevia plant. Less than one percent.

And what are Natural Flavors? Does that mean they added chemicals to make the product taste like stevia?   Stevia is a real plant. You could grow it in your garden. The truth is that Truvia is really primarily a sugar alcohol. Truvia is 99.9% pure genetically modified erythritol and less than a half percent of something made from Stevia. Avoid it if you are sensitive to sugar alcohols.

Pyure, another stevia product, contains dextrose, a starch-derived glucose which is often extracted from corn, wheat or rice.

Dr Axe says, “The worst option is altered and overly processed “stevia” like Truvia. It’s really not stevia at all by time a product like Truvia goes through a 42-step process to make this processed sweetener. First, the rebaudioside is extracted from the stevia leaf, and then chemical solvents are added, including acetonitrile, which is toxic to the liver and is a carcinogen. Then the producers add in a GMO corn derivative called erythritol. (4) Truvia or rebaudioside stevia products are about 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar. (5)”

If you read twenty more sources, you will find twenty more opinions. But they will all agree that Truvia is not the same as Stevia, and if it causes problems for you, you ought to avoid it. And they will not say that many of us are sensitive to the effects of the sweet tastes of sugar alcohols, even though they are not really sugars, by some definitions.

The current trend is to blend these high intensity sweeteners with each other or with sugars or sugar analogs to create the desired sweetness, texture, and consistency for the product. Depending on your individual sensitivities, the sweeteners themselves can affect many body processes, or the sweet taste may call up memories of other binge or trigger foods, or of your past binge eating experiences. If you are sensitive to one or the other of these products, you may notice increased anxiety, irritability, headaches, and cravings after using it. If you are having unexplained cravings or difficulty following your food plan, look at your use of sweeteners. If you suspect they may be causing problems for you, remove them.

We who are sensitive have to do whatever we think is best for our bodies. We have to pay attention to every food label and every ingredient. This is what gives us a strong recovery. Pay attention to breath mints, dry mouth sprays, and other man made objects designed to be put into your mouth. If you cannot or will not read the label, or do not understand what you are reading, do not put the product into your body!

Also, check with your doctor about all of these products if you are pregnant or lactating or have other medical problems which may be affected by them.

I want you to avoid these as much as you can. You may use up to 6 packets a day of any or of a mixture of these sweeteners, but not more than 6 packets total.  If you find yourself mixing sweeteners or using more than 6 packets or “stretching”  counting, waiting for the next one, or mixing to sneak in an extra one), then you need to avoid them.

Instead of these products, try sugar free alcohol free vanilla or other flavors, or some real spices. If you need help finding them, just call the office. And please, in the comments below, tell me your experiences. And ask any questions you have.

Thanks for letting me rant.


12 Responses to Theresa’s Take on Truvia

  1. Annie D. March 6, 2017 at 9:53 am #

    Thanks for the info! Those labels are so important! I’ve given up adding sweeteners to my coffee ever since i went to California. There were no artificial sweeteners in the coffee shops!! They are in the diet soda I drink once a day. Also, I wish I knew how to forward this blog to others.

    • H. Theresa Wright March 6, 2017 at 9:10 pm #

      Thank you all for your positive comments. People who want to forward can just forward the url of the website blog page for now, I will ask how to forward the blog; I haven’t learned that part yet!

  2. Joann Montagna March 6, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    Thanks Theresa, I had no idea of the effects of the processed stevia. I use organic stevia extract from Trader Joe’s, it is made from organic stevia leaf extract. I cannot use Splenda, I have such horrible gastrointestinal problems when I do. Now I know why. Thanks for all the information!

  3. Sheela Kangal March 6, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

    Thank you, Theresa. Of late, I’ve had to come to terms with my body sensitivity when it comes to additives. Celestial Seasonings teas, for example, don’t agree with me, and nearly all of them end with that dreaded “natural flavors” catch-all.

    Frankly, I think I’ve lost the privilege of artificial sweeteners due to my overuse of diet sodas 20 years ago. You could call me a former aspartame junkie, a moniker I happily accept. More will be revealed, as they say.

  4. Peggy Piper March 6, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

    Thank you T, been wondering about this!

    • Kaylin May 19, 2017 at 5:02 am #

      I’m so glad I found my soltiuon online.

  5. Al Novelli March 9, 2017 at 11:56 am #

    Thanks, Theresa, for the important information. My only question is: With all of this info in mind, can I conclude that Stevia is the safest sugar alternative? I do use Truvia in my plain yogurt choices, and Splenda in the morning coffee, but I will adjust to Stevia, if it is a safer option. Warm regards, Al Novelli

    • H. Theresa Wright March 12, 2017 at 1:24 am #

      If you are going to use stevia, read the ingredient list to make sure the ingredients are stevia. Read the Nutrition Information. Tonight on, “Natrisweet Original Liquid Drops” and WHC All Natural Stevia Powder” Look like they do not have other additives. Page down to “Product Information”. Read the Nutrition Information section, of any product you use. If it includes erythritol or any other product we know you are sensitive to, Al, then do not use the product. Check the ingredient label every time you buy it; they can change at any time.

  6. Jack Moskowitz March 11, 2017 at 12:35 am #

    Is there any commercial stevia product that is safe to use or should I stick to sugar? Or is sugar a problem too?

    • H. Theresa Wright March 12, 2017 at 1:28 am #

      See the reply to Al, below. If you are avoiding sugar then real Stevia and Splenda are the choices I prefer. Be careful to keep the amount less than six servings a day, as little as possible, as much as necessary. Good to hear from you. And be kind to yourself!

  7. Rebecca Wilkins July 5, 2019 at 3:15 am #

    I never knew Stevia is a plant. I’m interested in growing one in my vegetable garden. It sounds like a good investment to get that plant. I saw some cheap stevia sticks in the market the other day, I was wondering if they taste the same as the usual ones that I buy.

    • H. Theresa Wright July 5, 2019 at 12:52 pm #

      I’m not sure about the stevia sticks, I will go looking for them. But you can grow stevia plants in your kitchen,then just crush the leaves, Enjoy!

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