By now, you’ve probably seen the ads for Truvia. And if you’ve been reading the eTips for awhile, you might remember that we started talking about it a year ago, when some of the biggest giants in the food industry — namely Cargill and CocaCola — decided to respond to the increasing public demand for safe, natural sweeteners with none other than stevia, the herb Dr. Wright and his colleagues have been recommending for years. But this is no time to celebrate…
At the time, they were using Truvia’s generic name, rebiana, but the buzz only got louder when the product was awarded its brand name and the long-awaited stamp of approval from the FDA.
As I mentioned last year, this news appears to be the stuff natural medicine dreams are made of: FDA approval — and widespread advertising — of stevia. But before you run out and stock up, there are a few things you should know.
First, it’s true that Truvia is natural. And since it’s natural, it’s far less likely to cause problems than completely unnatural chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose. But even though it’s natural, Truvia is actually an incomplete version of stevia, using only a fraction of the whole herb.
What’s more disturbing about it, though, is just how dramatically the FDA’s tune about stevia changed when two multibillion dollar companies finally plunked down the hefty sum required for "approval." They went from referring to stevia as a potentially dangerous "supplement" to considering it harmless — essentially overnight (or however long it took the check to clear).
Yes, on one hand, it’s a great stride for a natural sweetener to gain this sort of status. But buying Truvia just helps propagate a hypocritical system that only has its own thickly lined pockets — not our best interests — in mind.
The good news is, there are many versions of whole stevia available. They may not have fancy marketing campaigns behind them, or an exorbitantly priced stamp of approval from the FDA, but they’re just as safe and even MORE natural than Truvia. MORE natural than Truvia.
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