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View Full Version : Stevia: Natural or Artificial?



Tannerman
01-06-2009, 12:43 PM
I recently posted a news item on BevReview.com (http://www.bevreview.com/2009/01/01/coke-pepsi-introduce-drinks-with-stevia-artificial-sweetener/) about the whole Sprite Green/Sobe LifeWater/Stevia sweetener buzz that has been making news here on BevNET and other places.

My article prompted some interesting reactions from folks on various websites. For example, take a look at the comments to the story (http://www.bevreview.com/2009/01/01/coke-pepsi-introduce-drinks-with-stevia-artificial-sweetener/#comments) or this post (http://forums.tannerworld.com/showthread.php?p=66648#post66648) on another forum

There seems to be a contention that this new sweetener is considered "natural", while I made the claim in my article that it was "artificial".

Now, I don't claim to be the expert on such things, so I figured I'd open this up to folks who may know more than me. Reading what I've linked to and what you know about the new Truvia/PureVia sweeteners, etc., would you consider this new breed of sweeteners to be natural or artificial? Would you place it along side sugar, or would you group it with aspertame, Ace-K, and sucralose?

meetingpeopleiseasy
01-06-2009, 02:34 PM
I recently posted a news item on BevReview.com (http://www.bevreview.com/2009/01/01/coke-pepsi-introduce-drinks-with-stevia-artificial-sweetener/) about the whole Sprite Green/Sobe LifeWater/Stevia sweetener buzz that has been making news here on BevNET and other places.

My article prompted some interesting reactions from folks on various websites. For example, take a look at the comments to the story (http://www.bevreview.com/2009/01/01/coke-pepsi-introduce-drinks-with-stevia-artificial-sweetener/#comments) or this post (http://forums.tannerworld.com/showthread.php?p=66648#post66648) on another forum

There seems to be a contention that this new sweetener is considered "natural", while I made the claim in my article that it was "artificial".

Now, I don't claim to be the expert on such things, so I figured I'd open this up to folks who may know more than me. Reading what I've linked to and what you know about the new Truvia/PureVia sweeteners, etc., would you consider this new breed of sweeteners to be natural or artificial? Would you place it along side sugar, or would you group it with aspertame, Ace-K, and sucralose?
I have only smoked it, so I'm not sure how I feel about it.

popologist
01-06-2009, 04:48 PM
it will never be "natural" enough for some people... and the rest of us won't care either way.

CitrusCola
01-07-2009, 07:25 AM
The whole "natural" vs. "artificial" argument is silly. Food and drink makers like to call their products "all-natural" because many people believe that anything produced naturally is good for you. That's the basis of the organic food craze.

Just because a chemical is man-made, however, does not mean that it's bad for you. Many drugs are artificial compounds, but they have huge benefits.

Likewise, just because something occurs in nature doesn't mean that it's good for you. Aflatoxins, for example, are all-natural:

Aflatoxin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin)

popologist
01-07-2009, 09:02 AM
well said!!!


The whole "natural" vs. "artificial" argument is silly. Food and drink makers like to call their products "all-natural" because many people believe that anything produced naturally is good for you. That's the basis of the organic food craze.

Just because a chemical is man-made, however, does not mean that it's bad for you. Many drugs are artificial compounds, but they have huge benefits.

Likewise, just because something occurs in nature doesn't mean that it's good for you. Aflatoxins, for example, are all-natural:

Aflatoxin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin)

greg
01-07-2009, 01:09 PM
I have to agree with Popologist on this one. Just because it is man made does not mean it is bad for you.
IMO the man made ingredients can substitute for the flavor or sweetner while not having the negative impact on the body. For instance, when a pure cane sugar drink is ingested the body will be triggered to raise insulin levels and start to store the carbohydrates as fuel for later,,,,hence, fat accumaulation. When an artifical sweetner is used the mechanism that triggers responses on receptor sites are essentally void so no reaction takes place, therefore no fat accumulation.

With that being said there are exceptions, some artificial sweeteners, known as sugar alcohols, can allow for the same process to occur or not occur but will wreak havoc on the digestive system beause these will be attempted to be broken down as regular carbohydrates and absorbed through the intestines but the body will not be able to do so resulting in severe cramping. Uusally the sugar alcohols are found in low sugar or no sugar candies and just a few drinks.

Mr Zabe
01-07-2009, 03:08 PM
I too agree with Poplogist and Greg.
Mater (atomic) is universal to all elements
maintained on the earth. Grown from the ground
up, mater is equal to mater created by man.

a simple view of atomic structure (http://www.chemguide.co.uk/atoms/properties/gcse.html)

Joey
01-07-2009, 05:30 PM
Stevia typically undergoes a natural refining process. So you have a natural product that is rifined without chemicals. This is why stevia is considered a natural product. Im sure there are extraction techniques that could involve chems but I don't believe it's standard practice.

Android
01-07-2009, 06:28 PM
I agree too, a lot of mincing of words here depending on who you are talking to. There's the government's definition of whatever "natural" is supposed to be. Yet, how much refining does it take to make granulated sugar? Is the result "natural"? Of course not, it's not like picking a fruit off of the old Sugar Tree, squeezing the juice out of it and putting it in your cola!. However, the source was natural, even if the processing wasn't. I don't know how much processing it actually takes to produce a Stevia sweetener, but I think I'd lean more towards grouping it into the same category as sugar. (Uh, so what does, "natural refining process" mean then?)

Remember all the fuss over sucralose? That's a derivative of sugar, but chemically altered to make it undigestable, so to me that's more on the chemists/artificial side of the column.

-Andy

Dumas Walker
01-19-2009, 03:51 PM
Stevia typically undergoes a natural refining process. So you have a natural product that is refined without chemicals. This is why stevia is considered a natural product. Im sure there are extraction techniques that could involve chems but I don't believe it's standard practice.

What Joey said.

It is a plant extract, not something that Monsanto or Dow created in a lab. Not saying that makes it better or worse for you, just saying that is what it is & isn't.

mjb1124
01-20-2009, 09:23 PM
If it doesn't have any nasty effects, I'm fine with it. I finally decided to lay off the aspartame after I saw a list of side effects and realized I was experiencing a lot of them.

gottago12
01-22-2009, 11:20 AM
Stevia is natural and it is not a new sweetener. Been around forever.

Can only be used in supplements, however, not food, and not as a sweetener.

Coke is not using Stevia but a refined isolated component of Stevia. Still cannot use stevia in food.

Jim.
02-01-2009, 04:59 PM
Are there any mainstream products using it yet? I want to try one. I'm a big fan of Splenda, I want to know if this is any better.

Tannerman
02-02-2009, 11:20 PM
Are there any mainstream products using it yet? I want to try one. I'm a big fan of Splenda, I want to know if this is any better.

Well, not fully mainstream, but the folks at Zevia out of Seattle have 4 flavors of soda sweetened with the stuff. They sent me a couple samples but I haven't had a chance to give it a full review yet.

Also, as far as packets, I believe the Sugar in the Raw folks have a Stevia Extract in the Raw product.