The sugar-substitute market keeps getting more crowded. Sweet n’ Low, NutraSweet, Splenda, and the latest addition: stevia.
Stevia, which comes from a plant found in South America, has been available for the past few years as a dietary supplement in health food stores. Because it wasn’t approved by the FDA as a sweetener, it couldn’t be marketed as a sugar substitute or sweetener, and couldn’t be used in foods in this manner.
All that changed recently when the FDA approved the use of stevia as a sweetener. Look for Coke to introduce Sprite Green and some Odwalla juice drinks made with stevia in the next month or so. Pepsi won’t be left behind; they’re bringing out three zero-calorie flavors of SoBe Lifewater plus a lower calorie orange-juice drink called Trop50.
I’m not a huge fan of sugar substitutes, because no matter the hype, they’re all processed from something. I much prefer we learn to enjoy the natural taste of foods and use sweeteners in moderation. That means drinking water instead of sweetened beverages, stirring one-half teaspoon of sugar in your tea (only 8 calories!), and sweetening cereal or yogurt with fruit. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not totally against sweeteners. I simply encourage everyone to think about what we put into our mouths, and choose whole foods as often as possible.
You can already find stevia in the grocery store sweetener aisle under the trade names Truvia and PureVia. www.truvia.com has recipes to try using this sweetener. Let me know your thoughts if you’ve used it by sending me an email at Lynn@LynnGrieger.com or posting a comment on this website.