Friday, December 19, 2008

All About Truvia; the natural sweetener

A plant by the name of Stevia has been getting a lot of attention recently. It seems promising as a new generation of no-calorie sweetener: Great news for people watching their waistline as well as people with diabetes who limit their intake of sugar. One company, Cargill, manufactures a product made from Stevia under the brand name, Truvia. Here's the scoop:
Truvia is a combination of the compounds Rebiana and Erythritol. The first of these comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. The companies that manufacture it (Cargill and Coca-Cola) report it "only consists of the best-tasting components of the stevia leaf". The sweet leaf of the stevia plant is dried, steeped in water, and further purified to provide a calorie-free sweet taste.
The second compound, erythritol, is a sugar alcohol which acts as the carrier for truvia. It is a sugar alcohol with a digestive pathway that results in very little of it remaining in the large intestine (as happens with some other sugar alcohols), reducing the likelihood of gas or bloating.
The Truvia product has been studied and found not to contribute calories, or to affect blood sugar of people with type 2 diabetes. It has also has claims of "no aftertaste", even though many products containing Stevia do have a lingering aftertaste for many people.
Coca Cola is ready to release some beverages containing Truvia, even while the compound is pending FDA approval. Cargill and The Coca-Cola company are working together to bring rebiana to consumers around the world as an ingredient in a variety of foods and beverages. Look for it on grocery store shelves real soon!

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