There is more to the Stevia vs. Truvia debate than just a matter of skimping on the calories. Both are marketed as natural substitutes to high calorie and sugar-laden table sugar. They are considered healthier options compared to artificial sweeteners like aspartame, neotame, and acesulfame potassium. So, whether you choose Stevia or Truvia, you are quite assured to be on the winning side of the debate about which sweeteners are safe and which aren’t.
However, fine distinctions between the Stevia vs. Truvia camps still exist. These two sugar substitutes may be considered to be of the same mold, but there are still some differences between Stevia and Truvia. For example, in terms of chemical properties, it can be noted that Truvia is actually Stevia plus more. These distinctions in chemical properties may actually be proven to be the decisive factor in the Stevia vs. Truvia debate.
A consumer’s preferred sweetener may ultimately boil down to the sweetener with the best market accessibility, taste, and/or price. The better way to choose the best sweetener, however, is to appraise the health benefits and associated health risks of each of the sweeteners. Stevia vs. Truvia: Which is better for you? Before making a decision, check out the basics, benefits, and associated risks of both sweeteners below.
Stevia vs. Truvia: The Basics
Stevia is a natural sweetener extracted from the leaves of Stevia Rebaudiana – a low-growing shrub cultivated originally in South America and in Asia. Compared to refined sugar, the liquid extract of stevia is considered to be 15 to 30 times sweeter. Meanwhile, stevia powder created through a chemical process of crystallization is touted to be sweeter than sugar by as much as 200 to 300 times.
It is the concentrated sweetness level of Stevia that Truvia banks on. Unlike Stevia, which can be produced naturally without the aid of additional chemicals, Truvia is a compound of at least two ingredients including Stevia. Truvia has Stevia as its major ingredient, but it also contains the chemical erythritol. This chemical is a zero calorie natural sweetener that is added to Stevia leaf extract to serve as a bulking agent for the tabletop version of Truvia. As a bulking agent, erythritol adds volume and texture to Truvia.
Erythritol is extracted from fruits such as melons, pears and grapes. It is also found in mushrooms, and in fermented products (cheese, soy sauce and wine). While Stevia is produced from whole leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, erythritol is chemically processed to extract and retain only rebiana, which is the sweetest component of stevia leaf. This is why Truvia only has a small amount of stevia leaf, but the same amount of Truvia can be a lot sweeter than the same amount of Stevia. The downside, some experts say, is that Truvia retains less of the associated health benefits of Stevia. It also makes Stevia the purer, more natural option in the Stevia vs. Truvia debate.
While stevia leaves have been used for thousands of years as sweet tea especially in Latin America and Asia, Truvia was only recently developed (by Coca Cola and Cargill companies) to use in their sugar-free beverage line. Other companies later followed suit to develop tabletop versions of Truvia.
Stevia vs Truvia: Benefits and Side Effects
When it comes to the difference between Stevia and Truvia, the saying “Like father, like son” holds true in terms of health benefits. More studies in the future may find more definite characteristics, benefits, and even side effects in either Stevia or Truvia. For now, the known benefits and possible side effects of Stevia can be safely extended to Truvia since they are basically derived from the same plant origin.
Stevia does not lead to conditions such as tooth decay or gum disease. These are usually associated with refined sugar. It also has zero calories which makes it ideal for dieters who are conscious of their carb intake. Stevia also does not have a glycemic index and does not trigger blood sugar swings since the human body does not require insulin to metabolize it. These health benefits are the same as those from Truvia.
Stevia has had relatively longer market exposure than Truvia. There is now an abundance of commercially available Stevia products. Some are extended versions – fortified, with additional fiber, to aid digestion. This may not be true, however, for Truvia—or at least for now.
Since the chemical process involved in extracting Stevia is much simpler and shorter compared to Truvia, Stevia may actually contain more nutrients such as Ascorbic Acid, Beta-Carotene, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Protein, and Zinc. Although, there is no conclusive study on the matter yet, these same nutrients may have been lost in the process involving the extraction of Truvia.
So, is it Stevia or Truvia for you? Because the two are almost one and the same, the basis of your choice in the Stevia vs Truvia debacle may after all be just a matter of taste or availability.
Category: What is Stevia