Too much sugar is bad for health. Health and wellness enthusiasts stress the importance of cutting down the sugar intake.
Too much sugar in the blood could lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, and other health conditions. However, cutting down sugar intake can be extremely difficult considering that many of us want a little sweetness in our drinks, especially in our morning coffee.
Good thing there are now sugar alternatives. Examples of artificial sweeteners are Splenda (sucralose) and NutraSweet (aspartame). These artificial sweeteners do have negative effect to the body. Consumers demand a healthier option. This has paved a way to sweeteners like Stevia and Truvia. (1, 2 , 4, 5)
Image 1: An image of a stevia plant, a natural sweetener.
Picture Source: www.kitchenstewardship.com
Image 2: A comparison image outlining the differences between stevia and truvia.
Photo Source: d39ziaow49lrgk.cloudfront.net
Truvia and stevia are natural sweeteners. Which is healthier Truvia or Stevia? Are Truvia and Stevia the same thing? What is the difference between Stevia and Truvia?
It is a natural sweetener derived from the compound found in Stevia plant. Its components include the following:
- Stevia leaf extract
- Natural flavors
- Rebaudioside A/Rebiana.” (11)
What is Truvia made of?
A serving of Truvia (3.5 grams) contain three grams of erythritol. What is erythritol? It is a sugar alcohol just like mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. Some fruits contain sugar alcohol and the very same compound can be duplicated in the laboratory.
It is poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, which has both negative and positive effect in the body. The caloric content of Truvia is lesser than sugar. However, it could possibly cause diarrhea and bloating. On the other hand, rebaudioside A gives Truvia its distinct sweetness. (11, 12)
Benefits of Truvia
- It provides better blood sugar control thereby preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
- It stimulates taste receptor without being broken down by the body.
- It does not have adverse metabolic effects.
- It has a very low calorie. In fact, it has zero calories per serving. It is perfect for people who want to lose weight but still want to enjoy something sweet. (10, 11, 12)
- It is not natural at all. It is a processed alcohol sugar.
- Some people complain of diarrhea and stomach upset, especially when taken in an empty stomach. The tolerance varies from one person to another.
- Erythritol, one of the components of Truvia is derived from GMO corn. (3, 5)
What is Stevia? It is derived from leafy green Stevia rebaudiana plant. It is found in South America and in some parts of Asia. Stevia is used as a natural sweetener and known for its medicinal purpose. Its leaves are responsible in giving the plant is sweet and potent flavor.
The leaves of stevia are hundred times sweeter than refined sugar. Stevia products are available in both powder and liquid forms. Crushed Stevia leaves and whole plant are also available. (2, 6, 7)
The benefits of Stevia
- It is a natural sugar alternative.
- It does not have any adverse effects.
- It helps lower blood pressure, especially in patients with hypertension.
- It is effective in controlling blood sugar. It increases insulin sensitivity.
- Stevia does not contain any calories, which is perfect for people who are trying to lose weight.
- Is stevia good for health? The answer is a big YES! (6, 8)
- It has a slight bitter aftertaste. Some people described it as a licorice-like aftertaste.
- Stevia can be costly. You can get affordable stevia, but of low-grade quality.
- The safety of stevia on children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women has not yet established. The same thing goes for people with kidney and liver disease.
What is splenda?
It is a trademark by the British company Tate and Lyle. It is a sucralose-based artificial sweetener derived from sugar. Just like Stevia, Splenda does not contain calories. It has 95% dextrose and maltodextrin, which are readily metabolized by the body. (5)
What is the difference between Stevia and Truvia?
Truvia vs stevia for diabetics, which one is the best? How do they differ?
Stevia and Truvia differ in their chemical components. Stevia contains rebaudioside, stevioside, and essential nutrients like ascorbic acid, calcium, beta-carotene, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, protein, and zinc. On the other hand, truvia uses stevia as its primary ingredients. It also contains erythritol, a non-calorie natural sweetener, which serves as a bulking agent. It is the component that adds texture and volume to truvia. (3, 6, 7, 8)
Stevia is derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant extracts. It does not contain any chemicals. The procedure in extracting Stevia is simpler and shorter than that of the Truvia.
On the other hand, Truvia is produced using isolated and purified ingredients. It contains a portion of stevia leaf extract and erythritol.
Level of sweetness
Stevia in liquid form is said to be about 30 times sweeter than that of the table sugar. The powder form is hundred times sweeter than sugar. On the other hand, Truvia is sweeter than Stevia. When used as a sweetener, the leaves of stevia ere used as sweet tea particularly in Latin America and in some parts of Asia.
Stevia is also used for production of sugar-free beverages and desserts. Truvia, on the other hand, is used for sugar-free beverages and table-top sweetener. (1, 9, 10)
Drinks with stevia or truvia
- Carbonated beverages – Many carbonated drinks contain stevia sweetener.
- Flavored vitamin water – some brands of flavored vitamin water use stevia sweetener. It is always best to check the label to find out the components of your drinks.
- Energy drinks – To significantly reduce the number of calories, some energy and sports drink brands uses stevia as a sweetener. Examples are Powerade and Sportage Lite sugar-free.
- Fruit drinks – many fruits drinks and juices contain stevia sweeteners to reduce the number of calories.
- Bottled/canned tea – There are reduced calorie and calorie-free variants and they contain stevia instead of the usual sugar. Examples are Minute Maid and Sparkling green tea.
- Dry beverage mixes – They contain sugar, stevia extracts, or a combination of different types of sweeteners. Hence, it is important to thoroughly check the product label to find out the sugar and calorie components. (2, 3, 5, 6)
Stevia and truvia are natural substitutes for the usual table sugar. They are a healthier version because they contain less calorie. They do have health benefits, especially for people with hypertension, diabetes, and weight problems. They do have a few downsides, but do not make them less of a healthy choice.