The Science Behind Truvia and PureVia Sweeteners (Rebiana)

The FDA recently announced that they have cleared a new, zero calorie sweetener called rebaudioside A (rebiana) for sale in the US, calling it ‘safe for use in foods and beverages‘.

NOTE: This article is the 2nd part of a series about Truvia and PureVia. You may want to read the first part to better understand this article:

Part 1: Truvia and PureVia – A Window to the Past or the Future?

As a result of this decision, two products featuring the new sweetener are coming to market – Truvia and PureVia.  Truvia was jointly developed between the soft drink maker Coca-Cola and agribusiness giant Cargill while PureVia was developed by PepsiCo in partnership with artificial sweetener industry veteran Merisant (under the proxy Whole Earth Sweetener Company).

The Coca-Cola Company has already announced products, including Sprite Green and Odwalla Mojito Mambo and Pomegranate Strawberry Juices, that will be for sale in 2009 containing the additive Truvia.  Not to be outdone, PepsiCo will put PureVia in Sobe Zero Calorie Life Water and Trop50 – a new low calorie orange juice slated for March 2009 release.

The idea of a real, zero calorie sweetener has been a goal of many agribusiness giants for some time but have Truvia and PureVia been adequately tested?   Nutrition Wonderland has gone through the science surrounding these new sweeteners and spoken with some major industry players to get the scoop.  We have found some positives and some serious negatives, which we will review here.

Starting From the Beginning

Truvia and PureVia contain mostly the same chemical formula, as you can see in our chart below.  Both are mostly made of two sweeteners, erythritol and rebiana (called Reb A in PureVia).  Erythritol is a substitute low calorie sugar-alcohol sweetener developed by the French company Cerestar who was later purchased by CargillSugar-alcohols are not really sugars; they require adding hydrogen to sugar molecules so the body ignores them.  Erythritol is a favorite because it supposedly does not cause as many stomach aches as other similar sweeteners.

It was FDA approved back in 2001 based on contract science, some of which was sponsored by Cerestar itself [1,2].  The World Health Organization also reviewed erythritol and found it to be safe.  Little other science exists on the subject.

We could spend more time on erythritol but there is not much new to report about it.  It has not been extensively used (up until now), it has not been extensively studied and it was approved quite awhile ago now.  It is a bit of a sweetener dark horse, if you will.

PureVia vs. Truvia - Fight!

PureVia vs. Truvia - Fight!

PureVia, but not Truvia, adds in another sweetener called isomaltulose – another supposedly safe sweetener with just a little contract science behind it.  It is derived from regular sucrose to create a sweetener with a longer sustained energy release in the body.  The FDA gave this one a green light back in 2006 at the behest of German sugar giant Sudzucker AG.  Again, it has seen very little use in the American food supply and we just don’t know very much about it scientifically beyond the fact that it does not harm teeth and does not cause stomach aches.

The Stevia Flower, photo by Ethel Aardvark

The Stevia Flower, photo by Ethel Aardvark

The other major component of Truvia/PureVia, rebiana, comes from a small herb plant called stevia.  Stevia originally comes to us from South America – where it has been used medicinally for centuries by indigenous people.  Rebiana sweeteners represent the first commercial applications of stevia in the United States but not the first in the world.  Another sweetener derived from stevia – called stevioside – was developed by the Japanese in the late 1970s and now controls 40% of the sweetener market in Japan.  Consequently, what we scientifically know about stevia is mostly based on stevioside, not rebiana – a problem we will see throughout this discussion.

The Concensus on Stevioside

The science we do have about stevia has only come about recently – in the last 20 years or so.  Despite very few (if any) reports of adverse reactions in the Japanese population from stevioside, some studies found that it was mutagenic, that is it could mutate the DNA of rats.  These findings were later dismissed in scientific literature multiple times when it was shown only extremely large amounts – far larger than anyone could consume – created the mutation.

Subsequent study of stevioside’s medical effects have found it confers significant health benefits to those who use it medicinally.  Improved immune system regulation [1,2,3] and improve glucose absorption in the body [1,2],  have led some researchers to suggest stevioside:

“may have the potential of becoming a new antidiabetic drug for use in type 2 diabetes”

Even further, stevioside helps regulate cholesterol and triglycerides [1,2], which means it may treat metabolic syndrome (also known as syndrome X).

On the whole, these findings suggest stevioside has major benefits but what about rebiana?

The Rouge Rebiana

If you follow any of those study links above, they will dump you into the PubMed scientific database.  The US National Institute of Health (NIH) requires all studies they fund (which is a considerable number) to publish their studies into this database.  Logically, we first looked for Truvia and PureVia here.

Pubmed, an amazing resource

Pubmed, an amazing resource

A search for either sweetener nets zero search results, as of February 2009 (feel free to try it yourself, click here) – despite all the stevioside research.  However, searching for rebiana nets us 49 very recent results, presumably the ones the FDA used to clear this product (compared to 181 for stevioside).

Diving through the search results leads us to a special supplementary release in July 2008 by The Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal called “Rebaudioside A: An Assessment of Safety”.  As an aside, it should be noted this release perfectly coincided with Coca-Cola’s first PR campaign that released Truvia to the public with a lavish promotion at Rockefeller Center in New York City last summer.  Below is some footage of the event:

As for the science in this tome, we find a total of 11 research articles published about rebiana.  One of them [#12] is a review of the toxicity of stevioside , which, as we covered above, we declared safe by a decent battery of tests.  Two others [#2, #11]  deal with the development of rebiana from the stevia plant, both casually suggesting the toxicology information of stevioside should equally apply to rebiana – a dubious claim at best considering how little research has been done on the later.

However, another study in this group [#5] actually demonstrates that the two sweeteners are relatively similar.  They based this statement on how quickly they are absorbed by the body as you can see in this chart:

Results from study #5 in the rebiana review

Results from study #5 in the rebiana review

While it seems convincing, this report did not use a control group or use any kind of statistical analysis to determine if the slight difference in absorption between the two sweeteners was statistically significant.  Further, the study used about 20% (.8 mg/kg) more rebiana than stevioside in its test, a factor that is sure to skew results.  Their observations also omitted an important data point when observing stevioside at the critical 1 hour mark.  Not to mention, the time schedule on the main graph in the report is misleadingly constructed to show each observation as having occurred in hourly succession (when in fact no observations were made in hours 2 or 3).  This science is very poor in quality and, not surprisingly, funded by Cargill.

Another one of the studies [#4] dealt directly with the toxicity of rebiana by super-dosing rats and observing them.  Most rats ended up eating significantly less food and consequently attaining lower body weight as they aged, consistent with other megadose sweetener studies.  But, most importantly, the rats did not die from rebiana so we could count that as a good thing.  Methodology in this study was far more convincing than the previous study – controls were used and statistical significance was achieved.  Still, the result of this study – that rebiana produces appetite suppression, should be followed up with additional study, something the authors do not call for.  Again, you should note that this study was funded by Cargill which may have influenced the lack of a call for additional study, though this is a minor critique.

Follow the money - its not hard

Follow the money - its not hard

Rebiana: The Human Studies

Two of the remaining studies deal with people instead of mice, so they should carry the most weight in your mind.  The first, [#6 in rebiana study supplement] tested rebiana against blood pressure and found high dosed patients maintain the same blood pressure in a randomized, double-blind placebo trial, the best type to use.  We can say a few bad things about this study but nothing ridiculously major; it was only 4 weeks long, it did not test against people who already have high blood pressure (a substantial portion of the population), and, again, Cargill funded the study.  Overall, this is encouraging but it is only the first study of its kind so its hard to draw too much from it.

Controversial little shrub, eh?

Controversial little shrub, eh?

The other human study deals with rebiana and how it effects people with type II diabetes..  The study uses a megadose, 7X what a heavy user would probably ingest, and followed a little more than 100 patients for about 4 months.  Results of this placebo study show no severe effects on blood pressure or blood sugar.  However, there was one case of hyperglycemia – that is too much glucose in the blood stream – but in a group of diabetics, something like this seems likely to happen during a 4 month period of time.  And let’s not forget to mention that some Cargill money managed to squeeze its way into the study.

In a way, this particular finding was a bit of a disappointment.  There was hope that rebiana would treat diabetes much like it is suspected stevioside can but this is the second study to disprove that.  The first study on this topic showed that rebiana was not able to deliver any of the metabolic syndrome reducing effects of stevioside, so a consensus is forming.  A few others studies show rebiana helps regulate glucose, but there is still much more investigation necessary.

First Thoughts

The studies we have about rebiana – and consequently Truvia and PureVia – are a mixed bag.  As we showed, some demonstrate safety, some show risk.  None really deal with potential side effects, an issue with a product that will find its way deep into the food supply.  Most surprisingly though, absolutely no published studies have actually tested Truvia or PureVia themselves.  This is probably because the sweeteners themselves were not ready in advance to be tested but we must ask why the American public is being silently asked to bear that burden.

It would appear rebiana (along with erythiritol and isomaltulose) present little risk to people with high blood pressure and type II diabetes but in the world of science, your opinions are an extension of the crowd.  In a sense, you are only as good as those that have come before you.  With rebiana, there is no concensus, no crowd – so there is no way we can give any type of authoritative opinion on it yet.  The crowds surrounding erythiritol and isomaltulose are even more sparse.

That’s all a problem with a new product and one the makers of Truvia and PureVia have done very little to assuage.  While most of these studies appear to verify that rebiana et al., do not have toxic effects, they are all very short term and funded exclusively by industry.  It is beyond unlikely that any study funded by Cargill is going to show rebiana and Truvia to be anything but the safest sweetener ever to arrive on planet earth.  Having said that, some of their studies do appear to demonstrate safety of rebiana but it so hard for us to believe these results with so much of their own money on the table.

Now, lets give Truvia and PureVia a little credit here.  This is the first sweetener product(s) developed by an agribusiness interest that is not purely a chemical.  A real plant is involved here and that is the first time that has ever happened.  Not only that, the stevia plant shows some rather amazing medical benefits.  So, for a brief moment, let us congratulate Cargill and Merisant for at least starting with something very beneficial found in nature.  That is a MAJOR step in the right direction.

Still, major questions persist.  When will Truvia or PureVia actually be tested?  How can we trust science sponsored by the same people who will gain from its results? What makes this better than just using regular old stevia?

In our next and final view of Truvia and PureVia, we will talk about how all of this science relates to stevia’s controversial past, discuss some of our conversations (and lack thereof) with government/NGO players and finally present our view on the best way forward with these sweeteners.

Please read Part 3 of the Truvia/PureVia series:
Part 3: Truvia and PureVia – The Controversy of Stevia
  • hm

    “What makes this better than just using regular old stevia?”

    If they weren’t in such a rush to make these products and had better researched the potential side effects of other ingredients besides stevia, they would have helped bring Stevia itself onto the commercial industry rather than as a supplement. But competition must continue.

    Coke- Truvia
    Pepsi- Purevia
    Diet Coke
    Diet Pepsi
    Vanilla Coke
    Pepsi Vanilla

    The list continues..

    All Trivia/Purvia does is use a resource that is already there and mixes it with questionable and untested additives.

  • hm

    “What makes this better than just using regular old stevia?”

    If they weren’t in such a rush to make these products and had better researched the potential side effects of other ingredients besides stevia, they would have helped bring Stevia itself onto the commercial industry rather than as a supplement. But competition must continue.

    Coke- Truvia
    Pepsi- Purevia
    Diet Coke
    Diet Pepsi
    Vanilla Coke
    Pepsi Vanilla

    The list continues..

    All Trivia/Purvia does is use a resource that is already there and mixes it with questionable and untested additives.

  • Rick

    Stevia is great, but I wish they didn’t have to mix it with all these other sweetners. I’m drinking a Vitamin Water 10 right now and it has 3 different sweetners in it. I’m curious if it’s due to shelf life or perhaps consistency in the final mix. I hope we get an unbiased third party study here soon and also that Stevia is more than a supplement down the road.

  • Rick

    Stevia is great, but I wish they didn’t have to mix it with all these other sweetners. I’m drinking a Vitamin Water 10 right now and it has 3 different sweetners in it. I’m curious if it’s due to shelf life or perhaps consistency in the final mix. I hope we get an unbiased third party study here soon and also that Stevia is more than a \supplement\ down the road.

  • scott

    How is Truvia better than Stevia? The answer is simple: do a TASTE test.

    Truvia = no aftertaste
    Stevia = nasty, bitter aftertaste

    They came up with a formula that tastes good, which beats stevia, splenda, sweet & low, etc…

    The natural foods industry and other companies had 50 years or more to isolate the sweet chemical from the bitter-tasting ones, but Cargill got to it first. Seems to me like they deserve their patent.

    Every new sweetener product starts out with insufficient evidence to prove its long-term safety, because long-term studies take a long time to do. Truvia isn’t any different. Unbiased, long-term studies will come out over time. But it takes a product which is already widely used to create enough interest for someone other than the product’s producer to finance a study.

    • John Serrao

      Scott, shouldnt there be a reasonable expectation by the public that if they are buying a synthetically developed food product it should have passed some kind of safety tests? Your idea that no one cares to study these compounds is incorrect – they were developed and rushed to market so quickly no researcher could have gotten a grant application into the NIH before they on the market. Lack of access is why they were not studied, not lack of desire from researchers.

      And if we are to believe the FDA’s initial claim that stevia is a dangerous product that merited a ban (that unbelievably continues today as truvia/purevia remain legal), isn’t it all the more reason these new products need to pass safety checks?

      Your arguments take the industry’s position of innocent until proven guilty. We’ve already done that the first couple times with sucralose, sacchrin and aspartame – all of which have been proven to harm people after the fact. Why are we doing this again? I think I know and $$$ seems to answer all of my questions.

  • scott

    How is Truvia better than Stevia? The answer is simple: do a TASTE test.

    Truvia = no aftertaste
    Stevia = nasty, bitter aftertaste

    They came up with a formula that tastes good, which beats stevia, splenda, sweet & low, etc…

    The natural foods industry and other companies had 50 years or more to isolate the sweet chemical from the bitter-tasting ones, but Cargill got to it first. Seems to me like they deserve their patent.

    Every new sweetener product starts out with insufficient evidence to prove its long-term safety, because long-term studies take a long time to do. Truvia isn’t any different. Unbiased, long-term studies will come out over time. But it takes a product which is already widely used to create enough interest for someone other than the product’s producer to finance a study.

    • John Serrao

      Scott, shouldnt there be a reasonable expectation by the public that if they are buying a synthetically developed food product it should have passed some kind of safety tests? Your idea that no one cares to study these compounds is incorrect – they were developed and rushed to market so quickly no researcher could have gotten a grant application into the NIH before they on the market. Lack of access is why they were not studied, not lack of desire from researchers.

      And if we are to believe the FDA’s initial claim that stevia is a dangerous product that merited a ban (that unbelievably continues today as truvia/purevia remain legal), isn’t it all the more reason these new products need to pass safety checks?

      Your arguments take the industry’s position of innocent until proven guilty. We’ve already done that the first couple times with sucralose, sacchrin and aspartame – all of which have been proven to harm people after the fact. Why are we doing this again? I think I know and $$$ seems to answer all of my questions.

  • Nathan

    John, while I agree with your view that more research is needed, I would balk at the assertion that the ingredients in either of these new products are synthetically developed, as they are natural products. I feel, in large part, that the research on whole stevia can be used as guidance on the extracts, or steviosides, although more research is definitely warranted. The research on stevia as a sweetener strongly suggests that it, and presumably its extracts, are indeed safe for human consumption.

    As to the FDA’s initial claim that stevia is a dangerous product, we must all remember that the FDA is a puppet of the food industry, and that unless companies like ConAgra, Monsanto, Cargill, etc. can realize a profit, OR if something jeopardizes their profits, the FDA will inevitably make assertions that advance the industies causes.

    That being said, I also have to disagree with you Scott. While you are right about qualitative difference between stevia and these new, more refined sweeteners, I don’t think these corporate conglomerates should get a patent for natural products. There is no patent for sucrose. Why should there be for any other refined natural sweetener? If they can’t derive a profit without patent protection, …who cares? …they still get plenty of government subsidies.

  • Nathan

    John, while I agree with your view that more research is needed, I would balk at the assertion that the ingredients in either of these new products are synthetically developed, as they are natural products. I feel, in large part, that the research on whole stevia can be used as guidance on the extracts, or steviosides, although more research is definitely warranted. The research on stevia as a sweetener strongly suggests that it, and presumably its extracts, are indeed safe for human consumption.

    As to the FDA’s initial claim that stevia is a dangerous product, we must all remember that the FDA is a puppet of the food industry, and that unless companies like ConAgra, Monsanto, Cargill, etc. can realize a profit, OR if something jeopardizes their profits, the FDA will inevitably make assertions that advance the industies causes.

    That being said, I also have to disagree with you Scott. While you are right about qualitative difference between stevia and these new, more refined sweeteners, I don’t think these corporate conglomerates should get a patent for natural products. There is no patent for sucrose. Why should there be for any other refined natural sweetener? If they can’t derive a profit without patent protection, …who cares? …they still get plenty of government subsidies.

  • Betsy

    The process to make this product is fermentation, right? Yes. Other products with this process include wine, beer, sauerkraut and vinegar. If consumed in large quantities, it will have ill effects. Grapes used for wine and vinegar, cabbage and barley and hops don’t really taste great unrefined either.

    Refined stevia doesn’t bother me in theory. I really want to like this product, but it does not agree with my digestive tract. The discomfort is not like what I get from eating beans; it’s worse. Bloating and pressure like I have never experienced. I do think stevia is a good choice.

    Why did sugar become the sweetener of choice any way? Politics? Probably. Doesn’t mean it is the right choice even if it is customary. Too bad European monks didn’t get ahold of stevia in the Middle Ages. Then we would probably would never fuss with sugar cane that is not indigenous to most of the Western world anyway. I am up for finding a better choice and I will keep looking!

  • Betsy

    The process to make this product is fermentation, right? Yes. Other products with this process include wine, beer, sauerkraut and vinegar. If consumed in large quantities, it will have ill effects. Grapes used for wine and vinegar, cabbage and barley and hops don’t really taste great unrefined either.

    Refined stevia doesn’t bother me in theory. I really want to like this product, but it does not agree with my digestive tract. The discomfort is not like what I get from eating beans; it’s worse. Bloating and pressure like I have never experienced. I do think stevia is a good choice.

    Why did sugar become the sweetener of choice any way? Politics? Probably. Doesn’t mean it is the right choice even if it is customary. Too bad European monks didn’t get ahold of stevia in the Middle Ages. Then we would probably would never fuss with sugar cane that is not indigenous to most of the Western world anyway. I am up for finding a better choice and I will keep looking!

  • GT

    What are the other ingredients that are added to the stevia before shipment for consumption? Are these ingredients natural or synthetic, innocuous or harmful chemicals. Does anyone know?

  • GT

    What are the other ingredients that are added to the stevia before shipment for consumption? Are these ingredients natural or synthetic, innocuous or harmful chemicals. Does anyone know?

  • J. C.

    If the Japanese have used stevioside for the last 40 years, why concoct another “recipe” that may prove to have side effects. If it’s greed, than TruVia and PureVia better hope no problems develop or they will be sued into bankruptcy! Some company should partner with Japan’s and market the stevioside product in the U.S.

  • J. C.

    If the Japanese have used stevioside for the last 40 years, why concoct another “recipe” that may prove to have side effects. If it’s greed, than TruVia and PureVia better hope no problems develop or they will be sued into bankruptcy! Some company should partner with Japan’s and market the stevioside product in the U.S.

  • Kelli

    Bravo on this article. My thought is that studies aimed at individual chemicals are useful to a wider audience, and these studies are expensive so it makes more sense cost-wise to test the individual ingredients of these products. The only folks who would stand to benefit (or not) from the results of studies on Purevia and Stevia specifically would be those companies who manufacture or use the product (and the public, of course). I do agree that a test specifically for Truvia and Purevia would be ideal, especially given that plant compounds, as they occur in the wild, tend to interact with one another in order to exert their effects. Hence, we might not see the healing effects of Stevia unless we use the whole plant. I agree that in order to really know the interactions of the chemicals in these sweeteners we should test the products as a whole. But alas, we’re really not that far ahead in our thinking and in our regulation of chemicals. The status quo is to test one chemical at a time.

    Again, I really appreciated this article.

  • Kelli

    Bravo on this article. My thought is that studies aimed at individual chemicals are useful to a wider audience, and these studies are expensive so it makes more sense cost-wise to test the individual ingredients of these products. The only folks who would stand to benefit (or not) from the results of studies on Purevia and Stevia specifically would be those companies who manufacture or use the product (and the public, of course). I do agree that a test specifically for Truvia and Purevia would be ideal, especially given that plant compounds, as they occur in the wild, tend to interact with one another in order to exert their effects. Hence, we might not see the healing effects of Stevia unless we use the whole plant. I agree that in order to really know the interactions of the chemicals in these sweeteners we should test the products as a whole. But alas, we’re really not that far ahead in our thinking and in our regulation of chemicals. The status quo is to test one chemical at a time.

    Again, I really appreciated this article.

  • http://none Sherrie Rogers

    Hello: I was overjoyed to read about this product and hope it is not harmful. Can’t you tell me about the side effects, if any of Truvia and PureVia? I do not like the “licorice” taste Stevia leaves in my mouth and I get a bit nauseated.
    I need to find recipes for baking and cooking for using PureVia and will it raise blood sugar? Can you tell me where to get a recipe book using any of these sugar substitutes? No store I went to is using PureVia in their soft drinks, jello or candy. Please answer these questions and I thank you. Best from Sherrie Rogers

  • http://www.nutritionwonderland.com John Serrao

    Sherrie – most of your questions are answered in the article if you read it closely.

    Stevia cookbooks are controversial and many retailer do not carry them. Check Amazon.com – as they have the largest selections of books in the world.

  • http://www.nutritionwonderland.com John Serrao

    Sherrie – most of your questions are answered in the article if you read it closely.

    Stevia cookbooks are controversial and many retailer do not carry them. Check Amazon.com – as they have the largest selections of books in the world.

  • LMF

    I find there to be a licorice aftertaste to the TruVia as well. I tried it in a cup of tea, I used half a packet. I have a strong dislike of licorice and the taste nauseated me.My sister however swears that there is no after taste and she loves TruVia for sweetening. She will use 2 packets in a large iced tea and says there is no aftertaste.

    To each their own I guess. If you are sensitive to licorice or you do not like that flavor, this may not be for you.

  • LMF

    I find there to be a licorice aftertaste to the TruVia as well. I tried it in a cup of tea, I used half a packet. I have a strong dislike of licorice and the taste nauseated me.My sister however swears that there is no after taste and she loves TruVia for sweetening. She will use 2 packets in a large iced tea and says there is no aftertaste.

    To each their own I guess. If you are sensitive to licorice or you do not like that flavor, this may not be for you.

  • Dave

    I have been buying the purified stevia leaf extract “Truvia” for several months, usually in the 40 pack box from our local grocery store. I have been quite satisfied with the product. It consists of white crystals and its taste simulates the real stuff (sugar) quite well. Truvia contains “rebiana, the best tasting part of the stevia leaf” One of Truvia’s ad’s show a strawberry dipped in the product. I’ve done this and the resulting strawberry is very tasty.

    Today at Costco, I purchased a cost-saving box of 300 packets of “PureVia” It also has white crystals.

    I performed a side by side comparison of the two products as follows: I dumped a bag of PureVia in the palm of my hand and tasted a good lick of the product with my tongue. I was surprised at the bitter aftertaste which lingered for some time afterwards. I performed the same test with Truvia and experienced no bitter aftertaste. This test confirms Scott’s tasting results from 7/23/2009.

    Because Stevia extract is so sweet it needs to be diluted with a solid to achieve a consistency one can easily pour or spoon. Thus both Truvia and PureVia have added Erythitol (3 grams in Truvia per 3.5 gram packet and 1 gram in Purevia per 2 gram packet. In addition PureVia has isomaltulose. Both sweeteners have added natural flavors.

    I usually dump a bag of Truvia on my oatmeal in the morning as part of a low calorie, cholesterol lowering breakfast. I’ll try this with PureVia to see if the oatmeal diminishes the bitter aftertaste. If not, I regret to say, my PureVia will probably go into the trash.

    I also read with interest Betsy’s comments of 11/5/2009 in which she reports severe bloating and pressure in her GI track after eating refined stevia!! I plan to keep this in mind as I continue to eat the product.

    Thanks everybody for the fine article and comments.

    • TRUVIA

      Dave,

      You sound like the POSTER CHILD that works for Cargill Inc and Coca Cola. You might even be the company pimp selling TRUVIA. We should ( the consumer ) be able to buy 100 % Stevia instead of >99 % Erythritol. This FDA and Govt selling America for a couple dollars. Next they will expect us to subsidize $1 of your companies earning to an expense of $30 to the US public like they do with Monsantos and Archer Danield Midland ( ADM ).

    • Redcarlson222

      try eating a plain strawberry.  they’re not too bad.

  • Dave

    I have been buying the purified stevia leaf extract “Truvia” for several months, usually in the 40 pack box from our local grocery store. I have been quite satisfied with the product. It consists of white crystals and its taste simulates the real stuff (sugar) quite well. Truvia contains “rebiana, the best tasting part of the stevia leaf” One of Truvia’s ad’s show a strawberry dipped in the product. I’ve done this and the resulting strawberry is very tasty.

    Today at Costco, I purchased a cost-saving box of 300 packets of “PureVia” It also has white crystals.

    I performed a side by side comparison of the two products as follows: I dumped a bag of PureVia in the palm of my hand and tasted a good lick of the product with my tongue. I was surprised at the bitter aftertaste which lingered for some time afterwards. I performed the same test with Truvia and experienced no bitter aftertaste. This test confirms Scott’s tasting results from 7/23/2009.

    Because Stevia extract is so sweet it needs to be diluted with a solid to achieve a consistency one can easily pour or spoon. Thus both Truvia and PureVia have added Erythitol (3 grams in Truvia per 3.5 gram packet and 1 gram in Purevia per 2 gram packet. In addition PureVia has isomaltulose. Both sweeteners have added natural flavors.

    I usually dump a bag of Truvia on my oatmeal in the morning as part of a low calorie, cholesterol lowering breakfast. I’ll try this with PureVia to see if the oatmeal diminishes the bitter aftertaste. If not, I regret to say, my PureVia will probably go into the trash.

    I also read with interest Betsy’s comments of 11/5/2009 in which she reports severe bloating and pressure in her GI track after eating refined stevia!! I plan to keep this in mind as I continue to eat the product.

    Thanks everybody for the fine article and comments.

  • http://www.plasticblinds.net Plastic Blinds

    Just came and read, this is wow! I was seek from many blogs, but here is the best, I love it.

  • CheriLynn

    I used splenda for awhile till it caused bloating and gas! So out the window goes that! So I tried xylitol the same thing! I started drinking sobe lifewater 0 calories sweetened with purevia and I have figured out the I am having the same problem! I am ruleing one thing at a time out! Cause I also believe maltitol does the same thing!

  • Cl5567

    Well i bought the Truvia loose grains in a tub, only usedi t once, to me it tastes realy bad and smells worse, then i spent the night sat on the toilet.
    Needless to say i wont be using it again, coffee with no sugar for me.

  • Alle

    Maybe I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate here, but I think I’ll just continue to stick to good old regular sugar. Since I have no health issues and eat sugar in moderation, it really isn’t an issue for me. No need to take a chance on a potentially risky sweetener when you don’t have to. Right?

    • Sugarless

      Actually, mounds and mounds of science shows that sugar is toxic and is the cause of many major ailments. And since we consume a moderate amount everyday, it catches up to most people. Nor do we know what amount of moderation actually equals “safe”.
      I highly recommend watching on Youtube: Sugar – The bitter truth.

    • L A

      Go with Sweet Leaf brands of Stevia,a smaller company from AZ. stay away from these big corporate Pepsi & Coca cola brands, up to no good. plus one of them uses GMO CORN :( ((

  • CJW

    If PureVia has any form of Sugar Alcohols, I will not be able to use it. I just purchased a bottle of SOBE Water as I wanted to try it. I can do well with Stevia, even
    Aspartame, and Splenda. Sugar Alcohols such as used it diet bars, especially Protein bars are very dangerous with anyone with a severe colon disease…(Diverticulosis…when activated – Diverticulitis….) I learned the hard way by eating low sugar yogurts and kept having attacks over and over….If I eat an Adkins diet Protein bar, it could send me to ER with major pain. It is just not tolerable for me….Others may not suffer, but I want no part of it. If I have any pain at all, I will give the SOBE waters to a friend who does not have my problem. I just had to share!!….

    • Danalyne

      Your experience just helped me make sense of mine. I have been off all sugar and eating healthy for 2 weeks now. I sweetened my tea last night with an artificial sweetener and my stomach got so upset. It was the sweetener! Also have had similar pain with protein bars and couldn’t understand why until now. It must be the sweetener. Thanks for posting.
       

  • Angie

    If Rebiana is derived from the herb plant stevia, how is it actually different from stevia?

  • Sally

    I love them both! If you go on CouponSuzy.com and look on, I think one of the last pages, you can get a 75c off coupon for Truvia. There arent any coupons for PureVia, though. However I own and tried both products and they are both wonderful!

  • J. MARTIN

    STEVIA (Stevia Leaf Extract) is what I consumed with a very serious negative side effect. It caused a bad case of VERTIGO (dizziness).  Desperate for relief from this disease I eliminated one food at a time. After eliminating Stevia for two weeks the vertigo disappeared never to return again. I can consume it in occasional very small amounts without any re-occurrence of the vertigo. Earlier I had been using it in massive amounts, putting it in everything I drank & all foods that needed sweetening.        Other than that, I think Stevia is one of the best tasting sweeteners on the market without any aftertaste whatsoever.  It’s sad that I cannot use it any more on a regular basis. VERTIGO is a horrible illness to have.  Has no one else had this problem beside me???? BE FOREWARNED – - – - this was my personal experience.   

    READERS TAKE NOTE.  Just because a product is “natural” does not mean it can’t do any harm. Of course, it can!!!!! Rattlesnake venom, cyanide, and tobacco are also very “NATURAL”. Consuming steviosides, in my estimation, needs much more testing over more time. FDA should rightfully issue warnings about it.    DO NOT CONSUME IT IN LARGE AMOUNTS !! TAKE CARE TO USE IT LIGHTLY ONLY UNTIL CERTAIN OF NO SIDE EFFECTS IN YOUR BODY.

    • Marie

      I have been using NuNaturals stevia for two years, a 1/3 to 1/2 packet in a cup of tea. I have had vertigo attachs several times and dizziness (a milder form of vertigo). Thank you for your comments. I am going to stop using it and see if the vertigo goes away.

      • marie

        I wrote the above and was off the Stevia for over 3 months and still had a vertigo attack so I am sure it is caused by a crystal dislodging in my inner ear as the ENT Dr said and didn’t have anything to do with using Stevia.

        By the way, Stevia has been used for 1500 years without any side affects so it shouldn’t have to be approved by the FDA. I love the NuNatural’s stevia as it is not bitter like the old stevia that I had tried. Dr. Hull has said that it is actually good for you as it helps stabilize your blood sugar.

    • Jenny H

      I have started drinking VItamin Water ZERO for the past 2 weeks, to try to help lose a few pounds. I had one yesterday that tasted excessively sweet and within two hours had bad VERTIGO. It feels like the room is spinning (I do not drink alcohol, but when I did, it is the feeling like the room is spinning). Going to drs today and I will be stopping the Vitamin Water ZERO sweetened with Truvia.

      I feel awful. I did not realize the TRUVIA was not all natural. Thank you for posing all of this info. I am glad I was not the only one with this side effect.

    • Jenny H

      I have started drinking VItamin Water ZERO for the past 2 weeks, to try to help lose a few pounds. I had one yesterday that tasted excessively sweet and within two hours had bad VERTIGO. It feels like the room is spinning (I do not drink alcohol, but when I did, it is the feeling like the room is spinning). Going to drs today and I will be stopping the Vitamin Water ZERO sweetened with Truvia.

      I feel awful. I did not realize the TRUVIA was not all natural. Thank you for posing all of this info. I am glad I was not the only one with this side effect.

  • Coby

    I am having a hard time because of tissue damage.  I have to lose weight and have been struggling with the sugar issue.  I use Splenda in moderation now because using stevia years ago had awful side effects.   Has anyone tried Agave nectar?  It is a fructose but does not seem to effect the insulin levels.  I would appreciate hearing your comments.

    • SuperDave

      I have used agave nectar. It is good, but you need a graet quantity ti get the sweet flavor from sugar. Theerfore its rather expensive when compared to the small amount of stevia or natural sugar that produces the same amount of sweetness.

    • Lynsqd

      I am a big fan of Agave. I put it in tea, coffee, avocado(nice dessert), some other cooking/baking recipes.  I tried the Stevia in the Raw, and many of the others Splenda, Equal, Sweet Low (many moons ago).  I am not a big fan of these and would prefer Agave.  But as Super Dave said it can take more and you may want to play with your recipes some before you try to cook for someone.  But I think it is worth having around the house.   I will put a small amount of Agave in a portable squeeze container and keep it with me.  I am not diabetic, but my father is and he uses Agave.  

      As for Truvia, I tried it today, its one of the best ones I have had, but I will still have the Agave.  

  • SuperDave

    Right. Regular sugar in “normal” amounts is a pebble on the proverbial beach when it comes to calories. I would use more natural sugars however. But I am a big fan of Stevia.

  • Alan

    After changing my diet and using stevia/truvia and the like for around 3 months, my high blood pressure has not dropped a hair. I was trying to stay away from medication but looks like bad genetics wins out so far.

  • YellowBird

    im a Canary… it seems i inevitably react faster & worse to the chems in my environment than the next guy. I’m not an “allergic” person per se, no truly natural food has ever seemed to be a problem for me- but synthetic food additives are some of my worst reactions ever.
    so from this canary’s personal experiences, here goes:

    STEVIA: if it is truly the pure, whole dried & powdered herb- with NOTHING ELSE added- for me it seems to be fine.  of course, the flavor of the natural whole herb is overly sweet and also a bit funky… it has sort of a “healthy greenish” taste and a slightly bitter/metallically after bite that’s not real appealing to palates used to refined sweeteners. Its definitely got to be an acquired taste. Hence, all the dinking around that goes into making highly refined products which are much more appealing to the fast food generation but filled with the processing residues & additives that give me so much grief.
    Folks with Ragweed/Chrysanthemum allergies should beware this plant & avoid it altogether as it is in the same botanic family- but for most everyone else, its just another green leaf.  Just one that tastes supremely sweet and a little strange.

    ERYTHRITOL/XYLITOL/SORBITOL/etc… you name it, if they end in -OL then chances are they are SUGAR ALCOHOLS:  and they are very very bad news for moi. i get instant cramping, bloating, wind, bad ibs flares, rumbling & gurgling & nausea that lasts for hours. Many people have trouble with sugar alcohols yet never make the connection. For me, once the immediate pain in my gut finally passes, the next 2-3 days are filled with misery of a different sort as every joint and bone in my body aches and crashing waves of fatigue put me out of commission until i can “sleep it off” as the poison eventually passes out of my system.

    ISOMALTULOSE: i admit, i have never knowingly encountered this one. however it is obviously a highly processed, entirely synthetic substance which does not exist in nature and cannot logically bear more than faint passing resemblance to the honey or sugar cane juice from which it was originally derived. for that reason alone, this highly chemically sensitive person wants to stay far far away… it is NOT honey nor cane sugar juice. only once upon a time it had a parent substance which was. but the end product undoubtedly still bears residual amounts of solvents or other chems from the intensive processing required for its manufacture, amounts which are too microscopically small for the FDA to deem clinically significant, yet which my highly sensitized body would pick up on for sure…. what would it do? i dunno. and don’t wanna find out. 
    it sounds like another sweet tasting (Malt), possibly alcohol (Iso), soluble fibre (Ulose) of some sort, and concentrated dietary fibre, especially synthetically derived ones, tend to tie my innards in knots

    CELLULOSE: see my final comment above: nothing but tum troubles and inner knots. i have read this additive frequently comes from wood pulp but i wouldn’t know if that is true or not.  i do know my insides behave as tho i’d just eaten a chunk of wood. The amounts of cellulose naturally found in crunchy fruits & veggies have never been a problem for me.  Concentrated, synthetically produced cellulose fibre/gum on the other hand… owwww….
    Why is it used at all? well, its a very cheep filler

    and finally, the ubiquitous
    NATURAL FLAVOURS:  the recipes always heavily guarded trade secrets, these “proprietary formulas” are constantly being used to churn out more & more new and novel flavour combinations. Hasn’t anyone noticed how freekin many flavour choices have appeared all over the market shelves in the last few years? Even more disturbing, have any of you been seeing the odd flavourings now appearing in any given ingredient list you might happen to take a glance at? Just try to find a box of honey graham crackers which don’t list “honey flavour”" &/or “graham cracker flavoring”… and “butter flavoring” in packages of butter?? i mean really! and why?? Don’t our foods taste like foods anymore, without them?
    Not to mention every fancy flavour combination under the sun for beverages, candies, ice-cream, syrups, etc etc etc etc  Ive even seen “Citrus flavour” added to cartons of orange juice for goodness sake
    Ever stop to wonder what any of it is made from? i sure have… especially as i discovered these things were responsible for the very bad heart palpitations keeping me awake late at nite! But no matter how i searched, i still have no idea what these things are, they are simply “proprietary” which means in industry speak: Top Secret.  The one thing i have learned is they are produced using some sort of intensive process utilizing chemical solvents with 20cylinder names… and those solvents leave residues, again which the FDA does not consider clinically significant, but again which my extremely sensitive body does.  i am highly sensitive to chemical solvents, even ingested in tiny microscopic amounts apparently- becoz as soon as i threw over all added “flavorings” of any sort, my palpitations went away.  And they only return when I’ve accidentally gotten into something “flavoured” again. True extracts made the Old Fashioned way with plain alcohol or glycerine- not a problem. Whatever industry is using to produce this Amazing Rainbow of Flavours? very, very different effect on my system to say the least. And the worst reactions of all, for me, come from “Lemon”, “Citrus”, any of the “fruity” ones especially ridiculous combinations such as “TuttiFrutti” or “BubbleGum”, also all the “nutty” or caramelly ones which are so fun in coffee, like “Hazelnut”, “AlmondRoca”, “Dulse de Leche” etc. 

    so, all this to say…. if you think you are having a reaction to Stevia, first & most important you should investigate the possibility of true Chrysanthemum/Ragweed allergy- it could be life threatening to ignore.

    but if you are confident that’s been ruled out: consider the other ingredients in the packet of whatever brand of highly refined stevia PRODUCT you are likely using.  i noticed many people complaining about Truevia and Purevia. please investigate for yourselves the possibility of the fillers and additives being the source of your symptoms. Take it from a Canary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donald-Holzum/100000775423426 Donald Holzum

    Describing sugar(a basic building block of life) as a toxin is irresponsible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000966474274 Phyllis Denison

    My biggest concern is the “40 step process” used to extract the Reba from the leaf. Acetone, other chemical solvents??? Really??? I have severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and now realize that it’s quite possible that the rash and itching I have constantly is not only related to my Fibromyalgia, but to the use of Truvia. I’m going back to Raw Sugar and honey – organic and not pastuerized!

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