Stevia and other sweeteners

Can I rant about Stevia and really other super-processed sugars here? Yesterday once again I was fooled by a low sugar food that didn’t show that Stevia was used as a sweetener prominently displayed on their packaging. I took a small spoonful of yogurt and immediately knew I made a mistake. The taste of the sweetener was unmistakable. I checked the full list of ingredients, and sure enough embedded in the long list was Stevia towards the end, and so the cup of yogurt promptly went into the trash.

A cup of yogurt here or there, I might not be so annoyed, but I’ve literally poured out whole jugs of juice and giant size containers. I know it’s on me to double check that label, but it really irritates me that LOW SUGAR or only XXgrams of sugar are in 200% font all over these products making us think it’s a good alternative, but that stevia or truvia and any other fake natural sweeteners are embedded in a list of ingredients in tiny tiny print. These sugars are so refined, they should not be considered natural and should be more readily visible. I have no issue or judgment towards anyone who likes any of these sugar alternatives, but please help us, who choose to avoid them, by making it more obvious when they are used. That is all I ask! For me, there’s a real taste difference, so I can’t even just suck it up and eat it to avoid the waste. Am I being over the top here?

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Vegetarians have had this problem for years–chicken broth, shrimp, beef fat, and so on are buried in the middle of six lines of ingredients in tiny print. (One might argue that animal products should be as highlighted as allergens such as wheat and soy, but that’s probably topic drift.)

All I can suggest is reading ingredients closely and settling on the products/brands that meet your needs.

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As much as I enjoy trying new things sometimes I just don’t want to wade through the fine print and simply buy what I know!

Echinacea is another thing which is often hidden in beverages. I’m very allergic to it and have accidentally ingested it a few times in “green” beverages.

Recently, a recipe asked for agave nectar, i don’t really know what it was, but it didn’t sound offensive. I looked it up online briefly before shopping, just in case. Ooops, I decided to cross it off on my shopping list and never touch this thing.

As for stevia, I believe it’s fine with the natural state. I used to have a stevia plant one summer, I found it not too easy to use, as it has a strong note of licorice, and also difficult to apply in baking as the colour will be green.

Why ?

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I’m not a fan of stevia either, but I’d say 100% of my friends who use it and buy products made with it are Type 2 diabetics - and stevia is not as nasty as saccharin. As with every pantry product you really do have to look at the ingredients label if you know there are ingredients you are not going to want to ingest.

I’m angry when I see more and more claims here in UK of lower sugar and less sugar, and what they mean is ‘sweetener.’ While I’m not convinced these things are harmless, that’s not the point. To me less sugar means less sweet, which I’d love, but they are often just as, and very often even sweeter tasting than they were with just sugar. There’s hardly a soft drink left without sweetener in the UK, even the big brands. I don’t drink them often but these days I don’t even bother. They absolutely have to stop with this Less/Lower Sugar claim and be more open/bold about it being sweetener. instead. If we’re trying to educate people’s palates away from ‘sugar,’ this won’t do it. Make things less sweet!

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From what I understood, the traditional sweetener of agave makes miel, which when fermented, is used in the making of tequila. This has been used in Mexico for hundred of years and claimed to have medicinal benefits.

While the recent agave syrup, with several articles that I read, lead me to a conclusion that it is a product of marketing, making believe that it is a far healthier product than consuming sugar, it is in fact highly processed product with a high concentration in fructose, not too different from a corn syrup, which is not considered as a very healthy sweetener. Taste wise, it has a more neutral flavour compared to honey. And since I usually have a few jars of honey and some pure maple syrup around, and the usage is not very often, I don’t need to stock another syrup on my shelves.

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About sugar addiction, anybody knows if there are some effective ways to break away this addiction?

I don’thave that much of a sweet tooth, but I like having the various sweets around. I liked the agave syrup at first because it was falsely touted as being healthier. That got shot down, but as it happens, I like the taste and texture,so it’s part of my pantry,as they say. I use it once in a while, which is a good way to think about anything that’s sugary.

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I keep a small bottle of agave too. I use it when a mild honey is called for since most of my honey’s are on the robust side. The milder ones I have are too expensive to cook with!

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The main audience for agave syrup is vegans, many of whom won’t use honey, which they consider to be stolen from bees.

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Yes, that’s exactly what I want too. What’s wrong with just adding 2 grams of sugar to a small cup of yogurt? I thought that sounded great – not secretly then loading tons of other sweeteners in there! I suppose that’s exactly my frustration; I just want food not loaded with sweetness and saltiness to hide bad taste. Not load it up with something else so you can say you have less sugar (unless you’re diabetic).

@eleeper – ugh, I feel for the vegetarians. That is annoying. I had a vegetarian co-worker who didn’t realize that miso soup was made with bonito fish flakes and was aghast when I told her (more like I asked “Wait, you ordered miso soup??”). Many may chalk this up to her not taking the time to learn what goes into miso soup, but I can’t blame her for missing it. Even in Chinese food, things like dried seafood are often used in oyster sauce or broths and some folks may not remember this to inform someone.

@naf – I understand that stevia is derived from a natural plant too, but I question at what point you can call something all natural. Boiling and then drying or crystallizing sounds harmless enough, but anything that is refined with alcohol or some other additive just sounds wrong to me. It’s like calling cocaine all natural because it’s derived from coca leaves. I guess the biggest reminder we have to have is that “all natural” doesn’t mean it’s good for you, even though we often make that association.

And people who live in the Southwest, who think of it as a regional thing. (That’s been true of some of the folks I know in Arizona.) And people who get caught up in the whole Southwest food thing in general.

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For me stevia (and stevia based sweetners) have a very specific flavor that I really really really dislike. I’ve also ended up throwing out something because I didn’t scrutinize the ingredients- most recently a bottle of “no calorie” iced tea.
I’m not anti-faux sweetner, I actually use Splenda on a fairly regular basis, but any stevia products are a hard no for me.
I keep agave and maple syrup on hand for when i need a liquid sweetner, I don’t especially avoid honey it just can be difficult to measure/work with and after reading many articles about fake honey/adulterated honey issues i gave up on it.

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I like agave in my margaritas if I don’t have simple syrup made up.

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