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Truvia™ is a substitute for sugar used to sweeten beverages, as well as foods. It is made by steeping the leaves of the stevia plant. These leaves have been used for centuries in South America and Japan as a sweetener, but in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had to deem it safe before it could be mass marketed. Truvia™ was developed by the Cargill Corporation and the Coca-Cola Company. It became available to the general public in 2008.
The stevia plant, which belongs to the asteraceae family of plants, can be found mainly in South America. Steviol glycoside, found in the leaves of this plant, give it its sweetness. Glycoside is thought to be as much as 300 times sweeter than sugar, but it does not impact blood glucose levels. This means that it can be a safe alternative sweetener for people who suffer from diabetes, or those who are on limited-carbohydrate diets. One packet of Truvia™ is said to equal two teaspoons of sugar.
Rebiana, also known as rebaudioside A, is one of the ingredients found in Truvia™. Erythritol, which is also found in Truvia™, is derived from wheat, corn starch, and sugar beets. This carbohydrate mixture is fermented and processed. It is dried and crystallized before being added to the sweetener.
The ingredients found in Truvia™ do not affect the body the way that most sugars do. For example, this sweetener will not cause tooth decay. It does not contain any calories, and it is also considered a kosher food additive. When Truvia™ is used as directed, it typically will not cause any digestive discomfort. The FDA has determined this sweetener is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
Truvia™ generally does not cause side effects, unless it is used in large amounts. In this case, it may cause gastrointestinal discomforts. Stomach bloating and excessive gas have been experienced by some users. Constipation and a hardening of the stools have also occurred, as have severe headaches. Some allergic reactions have also been seen with this product, but this is typical complaint when using plant extracts.
Most types of substitute sweeteners are used to reduce sugar intake and to lose weight. Using this product does not mean this will happen. In fact, it is thought that artificial sweeteners can actually slow down the metabolic process.