Stevia has gained a loyal following since it was approved for use by the FDA in 2008. The zero-calorie sweetener is found in soft drinks, yogurts, and in stand-alone packets that people can use to sweeten whatever they like.
Stevia is a plant with leaves that are very sweet. When synthesized through a relatively complex process, the resulting extract is 300 times sweeter than table sugar.
What many people don’t realize, is that the stevia powder they are adding to their food is not 100% pure stevia. In fact, there is hardly any stevia extract in it. Because stevia is so sweet, only a tiny amount is required. Most of the powder in the packet is simply filler.
Take Truvia, a very popular stevia sweetener, for example. Here is its ingredient list:
Erythritol, Rebiana, Natural Flavors.
Rebiana is the stevia extract.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol occurring naturally in fruits. However, it is much cheaper to produce industrially. It is the product of fermenting glucose with yeast called Moniliella pollinis. In the US, the glucose feedstock for the yeast is usually sourced from GMO corn.
So while this stevia powder is not genetically modified per se, purists may object to its use. That’s what a company called Steviva is betting on. Their Erysweet product is made from non-GMO ingredients sourced in Europe.
Are you a stevia fan?