The debate over sugar substitutes is deeply rooted in a concern for health, diet, and lifestyle. Certain types of health complications and illnesses, such as diabetes, limit the amount of natural sugars and artificial sweeteners one should eat. To add to the confusion, there is an overabundance of information readily available on the Internet, which may or may not be founded on science. One of the most popular comparison of artificial sweeteners in articles and grocery store shelves is Truvia vs Stevia.
While both alternative sweeteners offer options beyond refined table sugar, they each have their benefits and drawbacks. The overall final choice for a consumer will depend on highly personal considerations.
What Are Truvia And Stevia?
Sugar is one of the biggest obstacles to living a healthy diet. Sugar can be found naturally in whole, unprocessed foods such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, and grains. The largest threat is the hidden and added sugar found in store-bought and processed foods such as baked goods, soda, and fruit juices. In many cases, people drastically overindulge in sugar consumption each day; men should only consume 150 calories worth of sugar per day and women 100 calories, which translates to 9 teaspoons and 6 teaspoons, respectively.
The overconsumption of sugar can lead to a myriad of health problems, notably obesity, type II diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. Artificial sweeteners paved the way for more natural options such as Truvia and Stevia. The comparison of Truvia vs Stevia is based on personal taste preference, scientific construction, and natural origin.
What Is Truvia?
Truvia is a natural sweetener launched in 2008 and is derived from the stevia plant. It is comprised of a stevia leaf extract called rebaudioside A and erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols are found as being naturally occurring in trace amounts in fruits, but can be easily duplicated in a scientific lab without the natural benefits. The rebaudiosideA gives Truvia a distinct sweetness with fewer calories than sugar. Truvia is much sweeter than table sugar and Stevia. However, it contains lab-produced chemicals and is not a fully natural sweetener alternative. Truvia is used in sugar-free beverages and as a table sweetener for items such as coffee and tea.
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is also from the South American plant stevia rebaudiana but without added sugar alcohols or other chemicals. It is actually part of the sunflower family and its leaves are used for sugar substitutes and traditional medicinal purposes. It is far more natural than Truvia. The leaves of this plant are much sweeter than table sugar and can be produced in powder and liquid forms as well as crushed or whole leaves.
While Stevia is naturally sweeter than table sugar, Truvia is even sweeter than Stevia. Stevia is used in sugar-free and reduced-sugar sodas, beverages, energy drinks, and processed desserts. Using Stevia can lower the amount of calories without sacrificing the sweetness. The best type of Stevia to use is 100% stevia leaf extract either in powdered or liquid form.
Pros And Cons: Truvia Vs Stevia
Both Truvia and Stevia are great options for those struggling with their weight or health issues. Hypertension, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases can be alleviated by using alternative sweeteners. Both Truvia vs Stevia are virtually calorie-free, which is a great boost for those trying to lose or maintain their weight. However, neither Truvia nor Stevia are without risks.
Highlights And Risks Of Truvia
Truvia was released in 2008 and quickly became the second most popular sugar substitute in the United States. Although Truvia is a better alternative than sugar, it is not entirely natural. The chemical compounds and sugar alcohols that make up Truvia can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. There are also no active stevia compounds found in Truvia, and the derivative of the stevia plant found in Truvia has no health benefits. More concerning is the so-called "natural flavors" additives which are patent-protected and virtually unknown.
However, Truvia can provide better blood sugar control than refined table sugar. One of the compounds that makes up Truvia imitates the sweetness of sugar but avoids the adverse effects that sugar undergoes by being broken down by the body.
Highlights And Risks Of Stevia
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Stevia has become very popular with a huge boost in sales between 2014 and 2018.
Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, which means many people use less of it. For example, some serving sizes are noted as one-80th of a teaspoon! However, it has a slightly bitter aftertaste or a licorice taste which can be unappetizing to some palates.
Stevia can also be costly the closer to 100 percent pure extract. Less expensive versions may include sugar alcohols or other added chemical compounds. Stevia is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women because research is still lacking and generally inconclusive.
Stevia has very few natural side effects, which explains its long-time medicinal usage in South American and Central American countries. It has also been cultivated and used in Asia with no adverse effects. Research has shown that stevia may be effective in lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients and help control blood sugar. Some studies have found that stevia reduces both glucose and insulin, decreases sugar cravings, and even has a positive effect on the brain.
Health Benefits Of Alternative Sweeteners
Choosing either Truvia vs Stevia depends on personal taste, medical issues, and lifestyle goals. Despite the abundance of research, more studies need to be conducted to truly conclude the Truvia vs Stevia debate one way or the other. Here's how you can benefit from alternative sweeteners:
Cutting calories in cooking and desserts is easy with natural alternatives. Sweeteners containing stevia, such as Truvia, can be used in baking and cooking. A recipe that calls for sugar will use much less Truvia, resulting in fewer calories. Some manufacturers recommend using only a third as much Truvia in place of sugar. It is also available in ready-prepared blends for table sugar and brown sugar. Truvia is also gaining popularity with its honey-like "Truvia Nectar" blend; this is another way of reducing the natural sugar-and-calorie content that plagues weight watchers.
As mentioned earlier, Truvia and Stevia are both virtually calorie-free. This helps with calorie-restrictive or carbohydrate-controlled diets and meal planning without sacrificing a sweet tooth. Truvia also cuts down on bloating, which can frustrate those dieting.
Truvia and Stevia are also said to be beneficial to dental health. Some research studies has discovered that stevia and its derivatives do not cause tooth decay and help stop bacteria growth. Unlike natural table sugars, stevia does not cause cavities and may even prevent them and gingivitis.
Stevia has also been linked to immune support and boosting the body's metabolism of vitamins and amino acids. In addition, it has been said that certain glycosides dilates blood vessels and increase sodium excretion which is a great help to those with or predisposed to heart disease and high blood pressure.
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Consuming high amounts of refined sugar can have detrimental effects on health resulting in illnesses, diseases, and other concerns. Using Stevia does not cause the production of insulin since the body recognizes stevia as a natural sweetener.
For those struggling with or predisposed to diabetes, stevia is the best choice since it boosts insulin resistance. Lower insulin results in lower inflammation, lower fat storage, and lower cholesterol. Like Stevia, Truvia also does not affect blood sugar nor cause weight gain and is a great choice for diabetics.
Those seeking a natural or organic lifestyle will find Stevia to be a great option as an alternative sweetener to table sugar. Powdered or liquified stevia leaves are as close to 100 percent natural as possible. Truvia also may cause side effects because of its chemical composition; there are virtually no side effects with stevia since it is natural. Additionally, due to Stevia's natural origins, it has many more nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, potassium, zinc, and protein. These nutrients are lost in the creation process of Truvia.
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Overall, the Truvia vs Stevia debate has no clear winner. Both are excellent alternatives to refined table sugar and are healthy options for those with medical issues such as obesity and metabolic disorders. The final decision weighs on the health concerns. Truvia is recommended over Stevia for pregnant and lactating women since the studies on stevia are inconclusive concerning pregnancy.
For those who are seeking a more whole-food, organic, and fully natural option, Stevia is the best choice; Truvia, on the other hand, is lab-created and supplemented with chemicals. Truvia also has more side effects due to its compounds. Consumers should choose Truvia if they are seeking a very sweet option or something that can be used in cooking and baking. More scientific research is needed to identify which sugar alternative is the best and healthiest; therefore, the final decision rests on your personal health and preferences.