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Soda Giants Wake Up and Smell the Stevia

December 19th, 2008


Coming soon to a Coke label near you: Stevia

First Coke and Pepsi, and now Dr. Pepper have all announced their intention to begin marketing drinks sweetened with stevia.  Meanwhile, millions of people are wondering what the heck took them so long. What is stevia? Stevia is a a zero-calorie ‘herbal sweetener’ made from the leaves of the South American Stevia rebaudiana plant.

Stevia is cultivated for use as a ZERO CALORIE HERBAL SWEETENER. Feels good to finally be able to say that!

Stevia is cultivated for use as a ZERO CALORIE HERBAL SWEETENER. Feels good to finally be able to say that!

Health food stores and supplement retailers like have been supplying stevia to the in-the-know public for decades. Millions of people currently use stevia extracts in powder and liquid forms to sweeten foods and drinks of all kinds.  But because stevia had, controversially, never been approved as a sweetener (technically a ‘food additive’) by the FDA, manufacturers couldn’t refer to it as a sweetener and it remains marginalized and under-utilized.  If the stevia-sweetened sodas turn out to be a big hit, we can expect to see stevia in a lot more drinks and foods since the public is eager for safer and more-natural sweeteners than aspartame, sucralose and others.

You don’t have to wait for Coke or Pepsi to try stevia though, it’s inexpensive and available right now. Try the packets or liquid to sweeten foods and drinks.

Packets of powdered stevia are a great way to go. Did we mention stevia is a ZERO CALORIE HERBAL SWEETENER?

Packets of powdered stevia are a great way to go. Did we mention stevia is a ZERO CALORIE HERBAL SWEETENER?

Stevia is sweet, but if you use a lot of it, you begin to pick up a characteristic stevia taste, which is similar to licorice or fennel. It’s not unpleasant, but it does means that stevia works great in certain things – iced or  hot teas, plus gingerbread and other spicey-sweet foods – but not so well in others, like coffee, cereals or protein shakes. For that, you should try xylitol or erythritol both of which are 100% natural and safe, both of which look and taste like sugar, both of which contribute only a small fraction of sugar’s calories and most importantly, have next-to-no impact on your blood sugar levels.

5 Responses to “Soda Giants Wake Up and Smell the Stevia”

  1. December 19, 2008 at 11:13 am, Mark B said:

    So does this mean that the Soda companies will be getting rid of the High Fructose Corn Syrup?

  2. December 19, 2008 at 1:31 pm, MarkTaylor AllStarHealth said:

    Perhaps they will eventually, but I doubt it will happen soon or as a direct result of stevia now being an option. If, however, it turns out that using stevia raises their customers’ awareness of sweeteners, that could lead to pressure or incentives for them to move away from HFCS. But from the press reports it sounds like they’ll definitely be using stevia to launch entirely new products, and possibly to update the formula of their current sugar-free products.

  3. June 16, 2009 at 5:01 am, Gerard Brands said:

    I was just searching for a ‘pretty picture’ of Stevia.. Recently I bought myself one.. I was surprised to find it in a local garden store..

    In a more broader sense, I think that every household has to grow their own vegetables and herbs (if possible), or get your veggie’s and herbs from local biological grower. I only have a balkony, but recently started to do as much I can there.

    There is also a warning.. when you want to eat and drink more safe/healthy, avoid ‘light’- and ‘sugar-free’ products, or read the label carefully!
    ‘Sugar-free’ or ‘light’ means very often that aspartame is added. Also be aware of MSG (monosodiumglutamate) a taste amplifier.

    When you want to lose weight, light-products are the number one bad choice..! Just eat healthy, and try to find out to what foods fit and enhances your body and mental constitution.

  4. July 25, 2009 at 11:18 am, Melissa said:

    I have been using powdered stevia in coffee for several years now. If you don’t use toooo much, there is no aftertaste. We recently found flavored liquid stevia — in dark chocolate, chocolate raspberry, orange, lemon and vanilla. They are perfect for teas and coffee — again if you don’t put too much. When i had it demonstrated to me, the woman put way tooo much in — about 8 drops for a 8 oz bottle of water. I use two drops in a large tea or coffee.

  5. February 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm, Leetta said:

    I’ve been using Stevia on my morning ceareal for over a year and I don’t have an “after taste” that articles mention. I haven’t bought any cane sugar in all that time. I love CocaCola and hope they hurry and get on the ball using Stevia !! I’ve even called the CocaCola Company in Atlanta asking them about it and they said it was being marketed in Chicago as a test market- that was last early year. So where is it now ????? I’m thinking I may just start making my own “soda” and did find a recipe on line.

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