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Stevia vs. Artificial: What’s In Your Sweetener?

For diabetics, or anyone looking to cut excess sugar from their diet, artificial sweeteners are a great substitute. They have gained incredible popularity over the past few decades for their diet and diabetes-friendly nature. Surveys show that artificially sweetened Diet Cola is second only to normal Cola in terms of popularity. Due to this popularity, a variety of artificial sweeteners have been created. This includes artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sugar alcohols like xylitol, and natural sweeteners like stevia. 

When it comes to comparing sweeteners, though, these options are far from the same. Though relatively new, stevia is arguably the best sugar substitute available. Stevia, or more commonly its extracts, have a variety of advantages over other sweeteners. 

The raw, green leaf version of the stevia plant used for sweeteners.

Sweetener Additives

Chemical sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose, are similar to sugar but differ in a significant way. Though they sweeten like sugar, these sweeteners are actually up to 600 times sweeter than sugar. To produce the products available in stores, these sweeteners need to be diluted with fillers or bulking agents. These fillers commonly include substances like dextrose, which can spike glucose, and maltodextrin, a thickener.

Two spoons with sweetening substances balanced on top.

Stevia, on the other hand, is only 30-40 times as sweet as sugar in its raw, leafy form. Raw stevia leaves contain a variety of chemical compounds though, including some that create a bitter taste. Some even claim that they do not like the taste of this unrefined form for this reason.

Stevia extracts are much sweeter and enjoyable. Steviol glycosides, the compounds that produce a sweet taste, are what make up most stevia-based sweeteners. Rebaudioside-A, or Reb-A, is the most common extract and is 200-300 times as sweet as sugar. This lower level of sweetness means companies like Greeniche can sell it without chemical fillers. Instead, Greeniche simply adds purified water to ensure that Flavorall is not overpowering. For this reason, stevia extract sweeteners like Flavorall are considered safer and healthier than chemical sweeteners filled with – well, fillers!

Glycemic Index of Stevia

The glycemic index is a scale from 0-100 that ranks how much a food could affect your blood sugar. This even includes foods like bread and raisins, which can cause a spike in glucose despite being low in added sugar. The glycemic index of a food is incredibly important to anyone living with diabetes as it helps control glucose levels.

Someone using a glucose meter to measure their blood sugar.

Sugar alcohols, such as xylitol and sorbitol, rank relatively low on the glycemic index, with a 13 and 9, respectively. That being said, they are not calorie or carbohydrate free, like many other sugar substitutes. Overuse can cause health problems for someone living with diabetes, as they still turn in to glucose. This in turn raises blood sugar, which can cause issues. 

Stevia, in contrast, has a glycemic index of 0. Rather than turning into glucose, the steviol glycosides pass through the body unaffected. Eventually, they are urinated out without increasing blood sugar levels. Reb-A, which is present in all of Greeniche’s all-natural sweeteners, is completely safe for use for everyone.

Stevia vs. Stevia?

Believe it or not, all stevia is not the same. As mentioned earlier, some brands sell raw, slightly bitter stevia. These raw leaves often create a bad reputation for the natural sweetener due to this bitter aftertaste. When included as a sweetener, or as a substitute in cooking, it can ruin the overall flavour. This raw version is also 

Raw stevia plant sitting against a white background.

often hard to find, as the unrefined form is rarely in grocery stores. Though permitted for sale, raw stevia does not have a definitive Health Canada approval. Stevia extracts, such as the Rebaudioside-A found in Flavorall, have undergone a full health and safety review, though. This means they are Health Canada approved!

In addition the green leafy version is “altered” stevia, which includes both highly refined or genetically modified (GMO) stevias. These brands often require lengthy refining processes that use chemical solvents to achieve the finished product. Other brands use genetically modified yeast to create stevia-like compounds without the need for the plant. Both of these options are then further degraded with filler ingredients, sometimes including sugar itself! Though they are often sold for a lower price, these products are considered cheap and often disliked.

Stevia extracts, like the Rebaudioside-A in Flavorall and Greeniche’s line of stevia, are safe, natural, and delicious! All 25 flavours of Greeniche’s Flavorall use four simple ingredients; Rebaudioside-A stevia extract, natural flavouring, purified water, and vitamin C. This all-natural sweetener is free of calories, sugar, and additives, but loaded with flavour! The only exception is our Pure flavoured Flavorall, for anyone looking to add some sweetness without adding flavor.

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Discover 12 Delicious Recipes Made With Flavorall!

Pomegranates

Pomegranates are some of the healthiest fruits on Earth. They contain large amounts of phytoestrogens, which helps moderate some menopausal symptoms. It can reduce hot flashes, sleeping problems, depression, exhaustion, and irritability. They also contain powerful antioxidants that provide cardiovascular protection.

Caffeine

Caffeine increases your energy levels to help you stay active through your workouts or daily activity. Caffeine also boosts energy levels even when your body is in a resting state which can contribute to weight loss. It also stimulates thermogenesis, which is one way your body generates heat and energy from digesting food.

Chromium

Chromium works with in the body to metabolize carbohydrates. It is found in many multivitamin supplements and food such as whole grains, fruits and veggies. 

Green Coffee Bean

Green Coffee Bean gives your day a boost and can increase resting metabolic rate, drive weight loss, fat loss and reduce fat absorption. It slows the release of glucose into the body after a meal. These beans are just normal coffee beans in their natural state before being roasted. Who knew coffee beans were naturally green?

Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia Cambogia is a tropical fruit also known as the Malabar tamarind and is a popular weight-loss supplement. It can drive weight loss and fat loss which could help keep your body’s blood sugar and cholesterol levels healthy.

Forskolin

Forskolin is made from the root of a plant that grows in Nepal, India and Thailand. It has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a fat-burning supplement.

Black pepper

Black pepper contains piperine which can improve metabolic performance and suppress fat accumulation in the body.  Black pepper also helps the body absorb nutrients and can strengthen immunity. 

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is a medicinal root that is used to treat women’s hormone-related symptoms such as, menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and painful menstruation.

Chaste Tree

Chaste Tree, also known as agnus-castus is a plant from the Mediterranean and western Asia which grows violet flowers and berries. It is commonly used by women to help with problems related to hormone imbalances.

Red Clovers

Red clover is a flowering plant and is a legume. Red clover contains isoflavones, which is a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogen has a similar chemical make-up as estrogen which is why it has long been used to ease common menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Estrogen production is at its lowest during the evening, which is why night sweats are so common.

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Maca

Maca is a Peruvian plant grown in the Andes mountains. Maca root has many potential benefits for women but it is known for alleviating menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and interrupted sleep. Studies also suggest that Maca can help protect bone health.

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Trans-Resveratrol

This powerful antioxidant neutralizes free radical damage that leads to signs of aging. Resveratrol helps protect the skin surface by interrupting and rebuffing negative environmental influences to brighten complexions and boost collagen production. It has been shown to be effective in preventing UVA damage and abnormal cell growth. This antioxidant is shown to contain anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and skin-calming properties that help revitalize the skin.

Zinc

Zinc is part of your skin’s natural dietary defense, found in many foods we eat and helps to fight off the formation of free radicals. It protects the skin’s lipid, or fat barrier and the fibroblasts that make up collagen. Collagen is your skins support structure that protects against UV light, pollution and other aging influences. Zinc boosts the immune system which may help to control the inflammatory response. Also, Zinc regulates cell production and turnover which may reduce oil production and prevent clogging of pores. Zinc is also used to help heal wounds and treat skin conditions like acne, foot ulcers caused by diabetes, leg ulcers, warts, and aging skin.

Radish

Great in salads and our supplements for their antioxidant ability to fight free radicals, their bile-increasing ability that fights bad fats, and their general detoxifying qualities.

Dandelion

While not wanted in your lawn, dandelion contains a variety of biological properties that promote liver health and provide liver detoxifying properties.

Artichoke

A familiar vegetable packed with free-radical fighting antioxidants. Cynarine, a substance found abundantly in artichokes, is believed to promote healthy cell growth and reproduction in the liver.

Turmeric

A common spice that can reduce cellular inflammation, and can increase the flow of bile which helps detoxify the liver by breaking down unhealthy fats.

Raspberry Ketone

Raspberry Ketone is found in red raspberries which gives the fruit their strong aroma and flavour. It can increase your metabolism and higher the rate at which your body burns fat while also reducing appetite. It can also increase levels of adiponectin, which is a hormone that helps regulate metabolism.