A plant by the name of Stevia has received a lot of attention recently. It looks promising as a new generation of calorie-free sweeteners – great news for people who watch their waistlines, as well as people with diabetes who limit their sugar intake. One company, Cargill, makes a product made from Stevia under the brand name Truvia. Pepsi-Co is working with The Whole Earth Sweetener Company and they call their version PureVia. Here’s the scoop:

Truvia and PureVia contain Rebiana. This is derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. The companies that make it (Cargill and Coca-Cola) report that it “is only made up of the best tasting components of the stevia leaf.” The sweet leaf of the stevia plant is dried, soaked in water, and further purified to provide a sweet taste with no calories.

Truvia also contains erythritol, a sugar alcohol that acts as a carrier for the sweetener. It is a sugar alcohol with a digestive tract that leaves very little in the large intestine (as is the case with some other sugar alcohols), reducing the likelihood of gas or bloating.

Rebiana has been studied and found to provide no calories or affect blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. The Coca-Cola company claims their product has no aftertaste, despite many products containing Stevia They have a lingering aftertaste to many people.

Coca Cola is set to launch some beverages containing Truvia, even while the compound is pending FDA approval. The Pepsi company will follow shortly, but they are awaiting final assent from the FDA, which was expected in November. The rebiana product itself is allowed in food products under the GRAS list (generally considered safe) under FDA law. The sweetness of rebiana makes it less suitable for carbonated drinks, so look for it in teas and juices at your grocery store very soon.

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