Friday, October 16, 2009

Splenda vs. Stevia

My nutritionists have indicated that Stevia is "better". Me being me, I wanted to know why. I bought a box of Splenda packets and a box of Stevia packets. After doing a taste test, I preferred the taste of Stevia. It takes a smaller amount for the same degree of sweetness, and there was not any kind of odd aftertaste with the Stevia--I barely noticed it was there. I also did some reading on the two.

Splenda's chemical sweetener, Sucralose, makes up about 5% of the product. Sucralose is basically sugar modified with chlorine. The other 95% of Splenda is Maltodextrin and Dextrose, which bulks up the volume of Splenda, making it seem less expensive than Stevia--the folks who sell NutraSweet do the same thing with aspartame. The glycemic index of Splenda is 80.

Stevia has zero carbs, zero glycemic index, and zero calories. There are no chemicals involved--it comes from an herb related to the chrysanthemum family, a plant native to Paraguay. Stevia leaves can taste up to 30 times sweeter than sugar. Some studies have shown the leaves contain proteins, fiber, carbs, iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A and C.
Given the glycemic index or lack thereof, Stevia would be the safer choice for diabetics. People in South America have used Stevia to sweeten their food and beverages for centuries, and people in Korea, Japan and China have used it for the last two decades or so. It is becoming more widely used in the US all the time. It can be obtained in the leaves, in liquid form, or in the packets. The packets are the only thing I've tried.

Recently, Splenda has formulated a new variety that contains a gram of fiber in each packet. Since fiber is really hard to fit into a post-gastric bypass diet, I may have to bite the bullet and stick with the Splenda.

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This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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