What exactly is Truvia you may ask? Well, it is a natural Stevia- based sweetener which is being claimed to be good for keeping blood sugar in control. It was jointly developed by Cargill and Coca-Cola and launched in 2008. It is the second highest selling natural sweetener after Splenda. Now, the debate arises, can we take it to be a healthy option?
Though Truvia may be advertised as a “Stevia-based” sweetener but it isn’t the same as Stevia. While Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the Stevia leaf Truvia does not offer any health benefits as it does not contain any components of the Stevia plant.
Truvia- the reality
What is Truvia exactly made of ? Blend the following three ingredients and you will get Truvia:
- Erythritol which is a sugar alcohol;
- Rebaudioside which is a sweet compound isolated from the stevia plant
- Natural Flavors (still unclear about its composition)
As mentioned before,Erythritol is the primary ingredient in Truvia which is actually a sugar alcohol that can be found in some natural foods like fruits. Cargill manufactures this Erythritol by processing corn which is finally converted into Erythritol crystals.
What differentiates Erythritol from other sugar alcohols is that it cannot be broken down or digested which allows it to pass through the body unchanged. So almost no calories and none of the harmful effects of excess sugar. This makes Truvia safe for consumption.
Coming back to the “Natural Flavors” in Truvia, their composition still remains a mystery. Their method of production or the ingredients is neither specified on the label nor on their website. Cargill in 2009 patented the combination of these ‘flavors’ with Rebaudioside which does not legally bind them to disclose what these flavors actually are. However, it is most likely supposed to be an assortment of chemicals which aren’t really “real”.
Coming to the nutritional benefits of Truvia, it has only 0.24 calories per gram while table sugar has 4 calories per gram. This makes it virtually calorie free and impossible to consume enough to affect the body weight. This is why it proves to be a good alternative to sugar for those who are over-weight or diabetic.
Finally when we try to explore any side effects of Truvia, Erythritol may be responsible for causing some digestive problems but it really depends on the tolerance level of each individual. Just remember if you have had problems with sugar alcohols in the past, then you may have to be cautious with using Truvia.
The strong marketing claims by Cargill may be seriously bogus and the “natural flavors” mystery may be completely flawed but still, Truvia seems to be fine.
It is actually healthier than other sweeteners and contains almost no calories. It does not affect the blood sugar or the insulin levels. They have little or no side effect in most people.
Truvia may not be counted as a natural sweetener but it is a healthier option than other sweeteners.
Do you think Truvia is a good choice for health?
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