Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stevia -- the Holy Grail of Sweeteners?

In the last couple weeks, I've been getting a lot of questions about the sweetener Stevia.  Is is natural?  How does it effect blood sugar? Is it the perfect alternative to sugar in light of the "sugar is toxic" debate that is now raging?

Marion Nestle, of Food Politics, recently put together this post.  If you're interested in Stevia being the solution to your desire for your insatiable urge to eat sweet, it is worth your time to check the whole post out.

Here are some highlights:
  • Stevia is extracted from leaves with ethanol.  Whether this process can be considered natural is currently under debate in Europe.
  • A class action lawsuit filed in California this week argues that steviol glycosides should not be considered natural, owing to the “chemical processing” sometimes used to extract them from the stevia leaf.
But here's something to keep in mind -- people marketing stevia aren't doing so to help you be healthier. 

They are trying to sell you this stuff because they want to make MONEY. 

That's not a moral issue with me -- I like capitalism -- just keep it in mind because it will help you assess their marketing a little more critically (as well you should).

And as always, I'll end with my perspective -- which is:  If it's worth eating, it should be worth taking the caloric hit.

Do you really want your sweets to have an aftertaste you have to get used to? 

Do you really want to reinforce the idea that you can eat and eat and eat and not worry about whether your hungry or not because you assume you can't gain weight on something that doesn't have calories? 

Maybe you won't gain weight on that particular food -- but you are definitely teaching yourself some bad habits that are going to have you over consuming foods with calories in them too.  Are those the habits you want to keep teaching yourself? 

I'm just sayin'.....

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