7.27.2011

Alternative to Sugar



Disclaimer: I have in no way received any compensation for this review from any of the companies or brands mentioned herein. I have not been requested by anyone for this review. This is my honest and plain assessment due to our search for a decent-tasting stevia.

My husband and I are making an effort to reduce the amount of sugar we eat, for health reasons. For me, also because I'm just so sick of everything being so sweet. Maybe I really am starting to get old, but the super-sweet of so many products is starting to get on my nerves.

In this particular life adventure, we've come across stevia. Stevia is an herb that is up to 100 times sweeter than sugar (up to 300 times, depending on the information source). It can be just as bitter as it is sweet, all in the same taste.

So, here's a short review of four brands we've tried so far.

First, was Spring Valley. Not good. Extremely bitter. I actually tried to wipe it off my tongue, it was so bad! Seriously, I couldn't even taste the sweet. I'm not positive, but I think it contains 0 carbs. Honestly, we'd had a box of it in our cupboard for about two years, so I tossed it. Obviously, we're not going to use it.

Next, I found a coupon for Stevia in the Raw, from the Sugar in the Raw people. Not bad, but still had a pretty strong bitter aftertaste. It has about one gram carbohydrate per teaspoon.

Third was a free sample of SteviaCane I found online. Absolute best tasting thus far. No bitterness at all. There's a caveat, though. It's made from stevia and sugar, not stevia alone. I balked a bit because it contains sugar, but I found the nutritional info on their website. I was surprised, to say the least. Two grams of carbs per 1/2 teaspoon serving. Hmm. Not bad, but not great. Pure sugar has 2.5 g per 1/2 teaspoon (5 g per teaspoon).

Finally, we tried Truvia. I first found it at our local Woodman's and decided to give it a try. Honestly, the packaging won me out. There is a danger in being a graphic arts geek. Anyway, we gave this one a shot, and it's pretty smooth. There's a slight aftertaste, but it's tolerable and not sharp at all. I may be able to get used to this — I've added it to the cup of iced tea next to me. We shall see, but my husband does like it. It also has 3 grams of carbs per teaspoon. Also a caveat: it's a stevia derivative, not pure stevia. Don't know if this is bad or not.

I bought a tub of Truvia, but honestly, I may switch to SteviaCane when this runs out. I also have not yet tried any liquid stevia options. I'm seriously considering it, though. That may be my next step before the SteviaCane. I've also heard a lot of good reviews for NuNaturals, but have yet to find it locally. Might have to order it, we'll see.

And there you have it. Our current adventure into stevia, helping reduce our sugar intake overall!