Talk about festive right?!
My mom and I had some bonding time earlier this week and decided to try our hand at a baking project we saw in Family Circle magazine.
Ours, of course, were not as professional looking as the magazine’s versions, but they were really fun to make and pretty easy too! You can find the recipe here!
And on to some other sweet stuff…a discussion about stevia!
If you haven’t noticed I am one of the few bloggers who hasn’t jumped on the stevia train. It’s not that I have a huge problem with it or anything like that but it’s just not something I am really interested in using.
A few weeks back a reader asked me to write a post on Stevia to explain a bit about what it is and my thoughts on it.
Stevia is one of the most popular sweeteners used nowadays and is known for being calorie free. Tons of companies are using it in their products now, so I definitely think discussing it is worth while! Hey, the more informed you are the more knowledgable you’ll be as a consumer!
So thank you to the anon who asked the question!
On to the facts…
The text book definition:
A composite herb native to South America whose leaves are the source of a noncaloric sweetener.
Stevia is classified as a natural sweetener. It contains no sugar and unlike artificial sweeteners, it is not derived artificially from chemicals. Stevia is derived from the extremely sweet leaves of the stevia plant, making it a safer option than artificial sweeteners.
The FDA’s position on Stevia is somewhat ambiguous. In 1991, citing a preliminary mutagenic study, the FDA issued an import alert which effectively blocked the importation and sale of Stevia in this country. Ironically, this was the year that a follow-up study found flaws in the first study and seriously questioned its results.
In September of 1995, the FDA revised its import alert to allow Stevia and its extracts to be imported as a food supplement but not as a sweetener. Yet, it defines Stevia as an unapproved food additive, not affirmed as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) in the United States.
Today, the FDA has put Stevia products composed of 95% of reb A (like Truvia and PureVia) on the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list, but the Center for Science in the Public Interest contends that it isn’t adequately tested. They note that early research linked reb-A-type substances with DNA damage, a potential cancer risk.
How is Stevia processed:
Extracts of Stevia leaves can be prepared by a number of methods some of which are patented. The production of commercial Stevia involves water extraction from the dried leaves, followed by clarification and crystallization processes. Most commercial processes consist of water extraction, decoloration, and purification using ion-exchange resins, electrolytic techniques, or precipitating agents.
I have never been a fan of artificial sweeteners or sugar alternatives in general. So using stevia has never really interested me. With that said, something about the fact that it is zero calories rubs me the wrong way. It makes me feel like its not real food. And also, the fact that is looks like table sugar turns me off to it as well. I just feel like if it was really ‘natural’ it would look like something I could find in the ground rather than be refined and processed extensively.
I guess I just prefer things that are naturally sweet! I especially love sweetening baked goods with fruit.
Maybe I’ll use stevia more often someday, but as of now, I am not a big fan. [The one time I did try it, I put a little bit on my tongue and almost threw up because of how bitter it was! Blech! I don’t know about those claims that people make about it having no after taste!]
(Sources: http://www.elliekrieger.com/the-scoop-on-stevia, http://www.stevia.com/Stevia_Article/Frequently_asked_questions_FAQ/2269)
So what are your thoughts on stevia? Fan, not a fan?
Hope your weekend is just as sweet as this post! Ha!
Today’s Healthy Help: Helped a fellow yogi with a posture at Power Yoga today while the instructor was busy helping someone else!