There are a number of documented side effects of Truvia™, but stomach cramping and gastrointestinal problems like gas and diarrhea tend to be among the most common. Clinical tests of the product have also found occurrences of dizziness, headache, and occasional nausea, and muscular issues like tension and twitching have been reported, too. In addition, skin rashes and allergic reactions are possible. Some people have reported that the product triggers an intense craving for carbohydrates, but this particular claim is not as well documented as the others. In general most health authorities believe that small amounts of Truvia™ are safe for human consumption, though there does tend to be a lot of controversy surrounding both it and other sugar alternatives; in fact, a number of countries have banned Truvia™ sales pending further tests and more conclusive studies. The sweetener is widely available in the United States and much of Europe, though.
Truvia™ is made from extracts from leaves of the stevia plant, which has a naturally sweet taste but contains no sugar. Stevia extract isn’t the only ingredient, though. Much of the product is made up of erythritol, an alcohol compound, and undisclosed “flavoring compounds.” Manufacturers market it as an “all natural” sugar substitute and promote its use as a wholesale replacement for sugar, both as a sweetener for things like drinks and cereals and for use in baking. Some packaged and prepared foods use it, too. It usually looks like sugar and is about as sweet, though it contains no calories.
Stomach and Gastrointestinal Problems
By far the most common side effects of Truvia™ concern the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Many people who consume it report intense abdominal cramping that can last for several hours, as well as painful intestinal cramps, blockages, and general distress. Diarrhea has been well documented in a number of clinical studies of the product, as has gas, bloating, and more general feelings of discomfort.
Nausea and vomiting are less common, but are still reported in enough cases to count as a known side effect by most market standards. Most studies and reports have to classify known effects by their likelihood of occurrence in an unknown member of the general public, which to some degree depends on how frequently they were documented both in clinical trials and unsolicited consumer reports. An unusual aftertaste, along with foul breath, are also frequent complaints.
Dizziness and Headache
Some individuals who have used the sweetener have also reported suffering from dizziness, headaches, and extreme fatigue. The degree of these problems does tend to vary a lot from person to person, with some people feeling mildly dizzy while others say they nearly passed out. A lot depends on how much of the sweeter was consumed as well as individual body chemistry and metabolism.
Rarer but still documented side effects include muscular cramping and twitching, usually in the arms or legs. This tends to happen several hours after Truvia® consumption and can be difficult to definitively trace to the sweetener.
Other side effects of Truvia™ that consumers have reported include itchy skin, irritation, and blotchy rashes. Individuals who are sensitive to yeast reported experiencing skin welts while consuming this sweetener. Some studies have suggested that this sort of reaction is most likely in response to the presence of erythritol rather than the stevia leaf extract itself, though no matter the root cause a person with this sort of reaction should generally avoid the sugar substitute.
Other Less Common Reports
There are a number of potential side effects to the sweetener that some people claim to have but that either don’t occur very frequently or have never been officially documented in a clinical or lab setting. These include unusual cravings and urinary tract infections. Though there is some traction among consumer groups claiming that both are likely, there is little evidence to definitively link the sweetener to either one.
Controversy and Sales Restrictions
There is a great deal of controversy in the health community when it comes to the safety of using sugar substitutes, even ones that claim to be “all natural” like Truvia™. In the case of Truvia™, most of the concern isn’t actually centered on the stevia plant, which most experts acknowledge really is all natural and isn’t known to prompt any serious dietary concerns, but rather is focused on erythritol. This alcohol does occur in nature, but only in very small quantities. Truvia™ manufacturers typically create it synthetically, then use it liberally in their product.
Some governmental health authorities remain skeptical of the sweetener’s safety, and have halted sales in certain countries pending further studies and research. Truvia™ was created in the United States and remains widely available there, and was approved for sale in most European Union countries in 2011. It can be harder to find elsewhere.