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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