Truvia: Honestly Sweet or Dishonestly Marketed?

There’s a new No. 2 zero-calorie sweetener in town. According to AC Nielsen, a company that tracks sales of grocery products, Truvia grew retail sales last year by almost 80% and knocked Sweet ‘N Low from its artificially sweetened perch in the tabletop sugar substitute market. That’s a pretty amazing feat for the two-year old brand launched by processed food agri-giant Cargill and co-developed by beverage goliath Coca-Cola. And if the online ad below is any indication, Truvia has moved on and is targeting the segment leader, Splenda.


One of the reasons for Truvia’s meteoric growth is that it claims to be a completely natural, guilt-free, zero-calorie sweetener made from the leaf of the stevia plant. Take a moment and watch its quirky television campaign and see how Truvia comes to life:

No wonder Truvia is growing like gangbusters. It’s Honestly Sweet. Yum! Where has this product been hiding all these years? But if all this marketing hype sounds too good to be true, you’re right. After digging to discover Truvia’s TRUE story, you may not be so excited to jump on its bandwagon.

Stevia leaves

First things first, is Truvia made from a leaf? Well the answer is kinda, sorta. Truvia has three ingredients: erythritol, rebiana, and natural flavors. Rebiana is made from the stevia leaf by soaking it in water. Although Cargill whitewashes the process as similar to making tea, the truth is revealed in Coca-Cola’s patent where it outlines a 40+ step process that includes the use of acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol. I don’t know about you, but when I make a cup of tea, I’ve never used any of those ingredients. To give just one example of why not, in case you were not aware, as the Storemasta website explains, methanol is a light volatile flammable poisonous liquid alcohol used especially as a solvent, antifreeze, or denaturant for ethanol and in the synthesis of other chemicals.

The second fallacy of Truvia’s “guilt-free” naturalness is its main ingredient, erythritol. Now while erythritol is a naturally-occurring sweetener found in many fruits, in nature it is present in such small amounts (less than .005% by weight) it’s impractical to use natural sources. So Cargill manufacturers Truvia’s erythritol by chemically converting genetically modified corn into a food grade starch which it ferments to create glucose and then processes further to create erythritol. Ah, the gentle hand of Mother Nature. Sorry for the sarcasm, but really Cargill? All Natural? Truvia sounds more like a GMO lab experiment than a sweetener straight from nature.

Finally, Cargill uses “natural flavors” to round out the taste of Truvia. On Truvia’s website it says “… Natural flavors are used to bring out the best of our natural sweetness, like pepper or salt would be used to heighten the taste of a meal.” The processed food industry’s dirty little secret about “natural flavors” is unlike regular table salt or pepper you and I use, food companies manufacture many “natural flavors” since the only legal requirement is that they are chemically equivalent to a natural flavor. So get back out the test tubes, beakers, and distilling equipment. Mother Nature’s not needed here either.

So when it’s all said and done, is Truvia really “Honestly Sweet”? I don’t think so. While it may pass the FDA’s sniff test, as we’ve seen in my series “All Natural … Really?” that really isn’t so hard to do.

What’s your opinion? Start the conversation and comment below. And if you have any ideas for products to review in my “All Natural … Really?” series, suggest them in a comment below or contact me by clicking the “contact” tab in the menu above.

Interested in learning more about how big food companies market their food? My new novel, Fat Profits, has just launched. Although its primary intent is to entertain, Fat Profits brings to life how big food companies work, illustrates the greed that drives food marketing, and shows how the forces surrounding our food (lobbyists, government, etc.) enable highly processed junk to become elevated in the minds of consumers as healthy foods. Interested? You can learn more about Fat Profits at its website or you can download a free chapter now.

As always, thanks for reading my blog. And if you’re new here and you’d like to learn more about the tricks, traps, and tools Big Food uses to get people eating more processed food, please subscribe here.

87 Responses

  1. Having once worked in a homeopathic clinic I got to hear and research a lot about Stevia/Truvia as a sugar substitute. We got a mix of patients looking for a healthier alternative to natural sugar due to a medical condition (diabetes being the most common) but many were looking to better substitute their already unhealthy habits. They wanted the next easy diet “solution”. In my opinion, we need less unhealthy alternatives and more self-control and moderation. Just because you no longer put 8 packets of sugar in your coffee does not mean putting 8 packets of artificial sweetener makes it any better. I do acknowledge that some people need to have the alternative due to pre-existing conditions. There are certain brands that carry 100% pure stevia without any additives, which would be the lesser of two evils. If you must, try the 100% stevia. It is a little bitter for my taste but can be tolerated if necessary. In my own endeavors of healthy eating and weight loss, I bit the bullet and consumed less sugar. The results were a healthier lifestyle and a 50 pound (and still dropping!) weight loss that has been maintained over several years.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I totally agree that self-control and moderation are keys to healthy living. Unfortunately processed food companies don’t preach or market moderation. After all, if they did, food consumption and their profits might fall.

      Congratulations on your success with a healthier lifestyle. I’m sure it took some adjustment, but the health benefits and just feeling better and having more energy are so worth it.

      1. ALD–Congratulations!! An additional benefit of your new “lifestyle” is being able to look in the mirror and say to yourself, “Hi, guy, you did something neat for yourself yesterday. What can we do today to keep you feeling good about yourself?”.

  2. Is any Stevia ok? I’ve always steered clear of Cargill, but do use other types, including Trader Joe’s. I don’t use other fake sweeteners, but do like something in my tea in the morning. Are you saying sugar would be better?

    1. Pure, natural stevia has been used safely by many cultures for centuries. I’m am not familiar with Trader Joe’s version, so I can’t comment on that. The main sweeteners I try to use are organic agave (it’s low glycemic), honey, and sugar. In general, I think artificial sweeteners should be avoided, but I realize some medical conditions like diabetes make avoiding them very difficult.

        1. Agave is very high concentrate of carbohydrates per serving which is the reason i have chosen to avoid it, however if it is determined these are complex carbs i would reconsider. Seems to me this high carb count would spike insulin levels which is why i seek alternatives to sugar in the first place. Maybe a little sugar is the best way to sweeten ones tea?

          1. Agave is really high in fructose, but fructose is a natural sugar (apples!) and because agave is so much sweeter than sugar, you’re supposed to use less of it.
            I like stevia, the pure kind – I use Sweet Leaf. Same thing, it is SO much sweeter than sugar you don’t need to use much at all, and it’s not an artificial sweetener. It is natural. I’ve liked using NuNaturals stevia as well, it’s cut with a teeny bit of maltodextrin to take out the bitter aftertaste, but since maltodextrin comes from corn, and most corn is a GMO crop, I don’t want to support that.

      1. After reading this post, I went to the cupboard to look at the container of Trader Joe’s Stevia extract that I use to sweeten Iced tea. The only other ingredient listed on the package is lactose.

        1. Sharon:

          Thanks for visiting my blog and for your question. I’m not familiar with Trader Joe’s stevia extract, but based on its name and its ingredient list, it sounds good. Stevia in it’s true extract form is minimally processed. Unfortunately version like Truvia are highly processed yet still market themselves as natural.”

          Thanks again for visiting. Hope to see more comments and questions in the future!

        2. Trader Joe’s Stevia threw me a curve. I used it to sweeten my yoghurt. Guess what the yoghurt beasties live on ?? That’s right! Lactose. So I found a version that is pure stevia extract and nothing else. Alternatively, I grow my own and dry the leaves. That works very well in anything that can cover the green color.

        1. According to the WebMD article some agave is highly processed, and some is not.
          I choose to use one that is cold processed (under 118 degrees), and is certified to have less than 50% fructose. AND, I then use only a very little (3/4 tsp a day).

    2. You can buy whole stevia leaf powder in health food stores. Navitas Naturals has a raw, organic version…you can order online if your store doesn’t carry it. It’s the only thing I like in my tea anymore.

  3. I just came across your blog and I want to tell you I thinks it’s fantastic! I am so happy that you wrote about Truvia. I am a RD and have been telling my clients for years to use stevia. When Truvia came out on the market I told my clients “lets wait and see”. I was skeptical because I knew Coke was involved. I am now going to look further into their patent.
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comments. It is often so very hard to dig out the real truth about processed food products like Truvia.

      My blog is only a few months old, but I feel like it is starting to have enough content to make it meaningful. If you’ve enjoyed it, please share it with your friends, family colleagues, etc.

      Thanks again for your comment.

  4. Great piece!

    I think the underlying issue here is not just what sweetener we choose, but the fact that we’ve become addicted to sweet tasting food as a direct result of heavily sweetened processed foods. I’ve found the only way to deal with this is to cut back drastically on sweeteners of all kinds, and return to a balance of sweet, sour, salty and bitter (we have taste buds for a reason!). Then, the natural sweetness of whole foods (like brown rice, apples, and even zucchini) comes out.

    By the way: agave nectar is not as natural as the marketing makes it appear. It’s higher in fructose than HFCS. A teaspoon here and there should cause no problems, but it definitely should not be considered a “safe” or “natural” sweetener. The most read post on my blog has been one on this very subject:

    Thanks for your very important work–keep it up!

    1. Thanks for your comment Alan. I agree. In general we have dulled our taste buds with super sweet or super salty tastes. Unfortunately that is one of the by-products of processed food. You should check out my video blog post about this if you haven’t seen it already. Here is the link: All Food is NOT Created Equal.

      Thanks again … I look forward to hearing more from you in our comments!

  5. I think if you feel the need to sweeten something then use honey, i use organic raw fair trade honey. its cost a small fortune but its much better than putting chemicals in.

    Love your blog just found you today and have spent several hours reading over it.
    Thank you!

  6. I have low blood sugar and have to watch my sugar intake. I prefer to use true natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw sugar, local honey, and real maple syrup. In moderation these do not send my sugar in a tailspin. Thanks for the info on Truvia and Stevia. I had considered trying these and now I know better. I avoid Splenda (sucrolose) totally as they affect my blood sugar levels the same as refined white sugar. I do use products such as a diet tea or soda containing aspartame as they do not affect my blood sugar, however I am trying to cut these out of my diet as well..

        1. Yeah. Really. You’re on here tearing apart a sugar substitute and trying to put the fear of death in others for even thinking about ingesting it, but there you are chugging aspartame, probably THE worst sugar substitue out there. Yeah, wow is right. I’m done here.

  7. Hello Bruce! Welcome to the “dark side”! LOL!!!! For those of us seeking Real Food alternatives to the processed garbage that has proliferated for 50+ years, it’s great to have a Big Food convert on our side! You will find that there is a very strong grassroots movement underway and I believe that we will win!!!

    I must say that I am completely disgusted about Truvia, but not surprised. While all of us really do need to watch the sugar consumption, there are a few good sugars that are produced correctly and can be used in moderation – organic pure cane sugar and succanat are two of my top choices as well as real honey from a local farmer.

    Keep up the great work! I look forward to reading more! I’ve written about you and your blog on my blog, A Misplaced Trust.

    BTW, I’d really love to know more about Sweet ‘n Low. As the first artificial sweetner, it would be interesting to find out the history, etc.

  8. I have been irritated recently when Stevia started showing up in various ‘natural’ products. Stonyfield yogurt is now using Stevia in their fat free yogurt. Lately there is also the add that shows artificial sweeteners ‘enhanced’ with vitamins. It’s so scary out there. I do have to read all of my food labels closely because Truvia, Stevia and other similar products are showing up in things that are (or used to be) natural. Like yogurt.

    1. Great point, Leah. I don’t buy Stoneyfield, but you’re right this is VERY alarming!

      Update: I just took a look at Stoneyfield’s website, and it looks like they are just using stevia extract vs. the sweetener, Truvia, so this product may be okay. You may want to call Stoneyfield’s 1-800# to confirm. Pure stevia I don’t have a problem with. Only when it’s been highly processed into something like Truvia (or PureVia in the case of Pepsi products) does it become a GMO, chemical experiment.

      1. I’m very disappointed regarding Truvia. I’m trying to retain my sugar intake and make better substitution and use Truvia instead of sugar or artificial sweetener has been one of my resolution. Too bad… I understand that stevia per se is not bad, right? Do you suggest any 100% stevia brand? Thanks.

        1. I found out 10 years ago that I was allergic to chemical sweeteners, I had vertigo every day for 4 years. Went to 11 dr’s and no one had any answers for me until a friend asked if I drank a lot of diet soda. After 10 years of research you’d be amazed how bad this stuff really is and disgusted that it’s actually allowed in our food supply. I’ve had to find an alternative over the years and Stevia has been my go to for a long time, before it was FDA approved I got mine from health food stores, now that it’s on the supermarket shelf I still get mine from health food stores, I have a reaction to the processed stevia but not the pure stevia. Anything you find in a Whole Foods or similar store that is stevia extract is probably a good product. I use the liquid drops which is great for iced tea that always has a hard time dissolving the powders.

  9. I just found your blog today, when I began researching the latest suspect ingredient: castoreum. I have been reading labels for many years now, and that (along with severe food additive sensitivity) has gradually led to a complete change in my diet. I cook almost everything that we eat from scratch, I research food nearly constantly, and I write about the recipes that I create and the information that I uncover. Thank you for your blog, I look forward to reading what you have to say.

  10. Bruce, thanks for this- I am a private chef running an integrated fitness company with a strong nutrition/food-coaching component. Most of my work is with individuals + often couples + families struggling with dietary & digestive issues which have spilled over to become lifestyle issues. I train people on both sides of the country with disparate careers, health histories, age ranges & genetic backgrounds, and yet, and YET!! The one, universal, overarching thing that these folks share is their sugar dependence. In all its (insidious!!!!) forms.
    I conduct dietary restarts that involve intensive food journaling as well as an expectation that my clients open their drawers (ermm, that’s PANTRIES, people) to me & one thing I inevitably find is some progression through what I liken to “The Seven Stages of Grief”: 1. Refined, bleached white granulated sugar, 2. Sugar in the Raw 3. Splenda/Sweet n’ Low/Equal (aaaack!!), 4. Honey, 5. Raw Honey, 6. Agave, 7. Stevia, & very often it’s Truvia.
    The worst part of this, as I am sure you know, is that the Truvia peeps feel “evolved”!! They are cutting-edge!!! I just wish every single person who’s ever wondered about their stubborn mid-section could read your blog on “Natural Flavorings”!!! I am folding it immediately into my teaching/coaching. You rock, thanks for your much-needed voice.
    Chimene Macnaughton,
    PS- It’s gotta be cold-turkey on those diet drinks, bub. Don’t MAKE me start sending you links!!!

    1. Hi Chimene, about four months ago I made the switch to an all natural whole foods lifestyle, more specifically Paleo. I don’t eat out and cook all of my food, and if I do buy food it’s not processed…except for diet soda. I love the caffeine and flavor of diet mountain dew but I feel increasing uneasiness about drinking it, just because nothing about it seems natural. I recently found out that it contains brominated vegetable oil which curiously is banned in Europe but not in the United States. My question for you Chimene is, what links can you provide to help me kick this awful habit for good?

  11. I’ve used NuNaturals for a couple of years now. But it has me wondering. They are quite blunt on their website about not disclosing what their natural flavors are.

    Thank you for all your efforts Bruce……maybe if enough of us ban together and continue to spread the word we can obtain control of our food chain again and make it healthier.

  12. I admit, I am a product of the 70’s and I am addicted to sugar. After admitting this to myself my husband and I set out to go on a sugar fast for 2 weeks. We were AMAZED to say the least that sugar is in everything we eat from your favorite bread to potatoes. This was the hardest thing we’d tried to do for our health by far. I thought I was gonna starve to death! But the results were amazing-more energy,calmer moods(Less mood swings),clarity in our minds and the list went on and on. My husband was determined not to drink anymore pop EVER and almost immediately lost 10 pounds and kept it off so I believe what you say when you report weight loss without much effort all we have to do as a society is quit blaming and start doing what you know is right. God gives us the perfect foods and we process it to death to suit ourselves and add unmentionables at every chance to save an almighty buck or two. And at what cost to our children – Obesity out of control and our 8 year old’s are having heart attack’s. Time to step up as parents and demand the food company’s take responsibility for their part in making this all happen.

  13. I thought Stevia was ok before I read your blog! Although I do not use it,or other similar artificial sweeteners,many friends and relatives do! I will spread the word about this,plus your other blog topics,such as high fructose corn syrup,which I also do my best to avoid!I I do use honey which a friend says has now been “messed around with” by removing the pollen so the source is obscured. Also a “manufactured” dairy “ingredient” with a “healthy” sounding name is milk protein concentrate, that is imported for “glue” and “industrial” purposes, but is now reported to be in over 5000 food products! Where is FDA?

  14. I just found this today, and sent it to a friend who has been facebooking about giving up sugar. I want to advise people to love themselves more, think about what they want and why (conditioning), and streamlining their lives; when you eliminate sweet cravings you dump a huge amount of baggage, physically and psychically. Sometimes taking care of yourself is hard, and you have to face yourself and keep asking yourself, do I want this; why; repeat. Thank you Bruce.

  15. I remember when Truvia came out and it was featured on Martha (tv show). I just kept thinking to mysef, “made from stevia, why not just use stevia? if it isn’t green like the real thing then it can’t be natural at all.” I never looked into it, because I had no intention of falling for their lies by ever using it. I am glad that you have exposed the truth about it here. I wish everyone would think a little more instead of believing all the marketing thrown at them.

  16. Dammit! Here I was thinking that I was doing the right thing by kicking Sweet and Low to the curb and getting on the Truvia bandwagon! Guess I’ll finish off the box I have now and look for something else. Thank you for this blog! Keep up the good work!

    1. haha thats exactly how i feel. let me know what you find. i am starting to realize how limited we are as consumers. i am tired of giant cooperations deciding what goes into my body.

      1. aww me too, with a half box of truvia packets in the cupboard! I do also use organic honey and organic maple syrup also. My name is Maxine and I am a sugar addict!

  17. What about other Stevia products such as SweetLeaf that only list Inulin Soluble Vegetable Fiber and Stevia Leaf Extract as ingredients?

    1. Matt:

      I’m not that familiar with SweetLeaf and have not tried it myself. In general I think the closer you can get to a real extract of Stevia, the better off you’ll be. Truvia is a highly processed version of Stevia that is on one extreme. Personally, the only time I use stevia is from leaves off of a stevia plant in my herb garden. That said, I’m sure there are some varieties that come close to right off the plant.

      Thanks for your question!


  18. Hi I stumbled on this website because of my scared experience with Truvia today.
    last nite I made homemade protein bars in the ingredient it said to use a 1/2 cup of Stevia or Truvia. I have always heard nothing but bad towards Stevia so then I bought Truvia, that night I had a hard time falling asleep and my heart was pounding pretty hard, the next morning I woke up with extreme cottonmouth, I did not feel like myself, later that morning went to have breakfast with a friend and I had a couple of cups of coffee along with my breakfast. When I got home I felt extremely dizzy and my heart was pounding like crazy I honestly felt like passing out I threw up and have been feeling real sick all day long. I believe that this was a mixture of the truvia along with the coffee..I will never buy or use Truvia again. Thank you for exposing the truth.

    1. Glad you are enjoying my blog. Wish the real truth about Truvia had reached you before you’re scary incident!

      Hope to see you back on my blog making comments and asking questions.

  19. Organic stevia is very good for you. Don’t let Coca-Cola go and ruin your perspective of a natural plant sweetener. I am a very conscious eater and I know this to be true.

  20. Dear Bruce.

    Just a quick question for you regarding “Natural Flavoring” . My daughter often has aggitated and agressive behavior after eating what we call “trigger” foods. A clear culprit is chocolate but recently we’ve noticed products that contain “Natural Flavoring” , also appear act as a trigger. Is this possible? Many friends say no way but sure to artificial flavoring and colors. Is there something manufacturers are hiding in “Natural Flavoring” ? We noticed yesterday after eating Nature Valley Granola bars which contain natural flavoring resulted in a sudden mood and behavior swing. Any insight would be super. Thanks Bruce,


    1. Steph:

      Thanks for reading my blog and for your question. Sorry it’s taken me a little while to reply—I’ve been out of town.

      Natural flavoring means relatively little and could definitely be a trigger to your daughter’s reaction. I share some info about so-called natural flavors in my post Sun Chips: Creating the Aura of REAL Food. The bottom line is, don’t think natural means it’s necessarily good for you. Unfortunately, thanks to Big Food, we have to be just as diligent with all types of Natural foods and flavorings.

      Thanks again for your comment.


    2. Your daughter may absolutely be reacting to “natural” flavorings, as that term simply means that they have some natural source, but may still be highly processed. For example, natural vanilla and raspberry can be derived from castoreum (dried secretions from a beaver’s scent gland). (Check out the “60 Minutes” segment link in this Huffington Post article: Also, this PDF from has been invaluable in helping me to recognize hidden MSG sources; notice the list includes “flavors” & “flavorings”

      I hope this helps you.

  21. I have a question relative to Erythritol. Since: 1) Erythritol is derived from cornstarch; 2) since most cornstarch is most likely derived from GMO corn. My question: is it safe to assume that most Erythritol contains GM cornstarch?

    Thanks ~ james

  22. Hi Bruce, I just found your article. I use Truvia in my baking a lot but now I am rethinking this. I am curious about natural xylitol – what are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Sarah. Thanks for your question. Although xylitol occurs naturally, the majority of what you find in food is manufactured. In general I try to steer clear of it and all artificial sugar as well as limit the amount of regular sugars I consume.

      Hope this helps!


  23. Interesting how ” sweet” can spark so many comments. This was an eye opener for me. esp. learning Coco Cola is in on the production. I enjoy using liquid stevia when I use a sweetener…Truvia falls into the if it’s processed don’t use it.. so my questions is…Liquid Stevia is essentially ” processed”…where does this fall in regards to a healthier choice of sweetener?

    1. Joanne:

      Thanks for your comment / question.

      Liquid Stevia is minimally processed compared to Truvia or other sweeteners. That said, I don’t use it. As always, it’s important to trust who you are buying your food from, so do your research. Or you can also consider making your own stevia extract. Here’s a link for how to do it:

      Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope to see you on here again making comments. We all learn from each other!


  24. Hi Bruce,
    Just found your blog while looking for a sugar free alternative to Splenda. After a stay in a working vineyard, ants got into my Splenda and other food, all the ants in my Splenda died! SO now I need to find something that won’t kill me! Thought Truvia might be an option, but I guess not. The sad truth is we really don’t know what is in our packaged food and many won’t take the time to find out. I’ve lost 60lbs removing sugar and most carbs, without any major changes to my lifestyle. Food is the key and real food is the golden key. Thanks for sharing the knowledge!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sara. I totally agree … food is the key to a healthier lifestyle. I don’t think there are any “silver bullets” out there in the land of artificial sweeteners. So, just do you best to minimize use of natural sweeteners and forgo the fake stuff.



  25. Terrific post. The Coca Cola patent speaks volumes to the authenticity of the “natural claim.”

    After being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer nearly 12 years ago at age 38 I no longer consume highly processed, franken-food products that require a PhD in chemistry, lab coat and clean room to “manufacture.”

    I’ve changed what’s on our plates at our house and now follow Hipprocates ancient advice:

    Let food by your medicine and medicine be your food.

    Best health!

  26. I’ve grown Stevia in my yard and it is good that way and easy to grow…I just tasted the Truvia and I must say it tasted exactly like Aspartame…you can taste the chemicals.

  27. i just want to say thankyou for this information on this website. I was happy when I first tasted truvia and I was suprised how good it tasted, but I knew it was too good to be true. I saw on ingredient list “natural flavors” and I knew that was bad from previous materials I have read over the years.

  28. I recently purchased a HyVee product marketed as Stevia and was in the process of converting it into a standard recipe. In looking over the actual ingredient list, I see that it is actually erythritol and rebiana with natural flavors. Thanks to all the comments I am finding on your blog and other sites, I will not use it. It is important to me to find a sugar alternative as my spouse is borderline diabetic. I was excited after reading about the true stevia as it may actually increase insulin production. The challenge continues…. Thanks for all your help.

    1. Meg:
      Glad you found my blog useful. Look for real stevia options vs. the fake stuff that has been processed with erythritol and rebiana. Also, you may want to check out some emerging research into maple syrup where it was found that “certain antioxidant phenolic compounds in maple syrup inhibit carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes associated with the onset of type-2 diabetes.”

      Best of luck!


      1. I am SO frustrated and disgusted! I am an extreme diabetic and have to count carbs in everything I eat. I thought I had discovered a miracle in truvia. What I’ve read here makes me inclined to sew my mouth shut and sit in the closet with a quilt over my head! I have removed the better percentage of sugar from my diet. ( I do, however, use salt judiciously. I understand more now why salt – not sugar – was used in trade commerce and kept under lock and key.) I have been searching for unchemically altered sweetners that will not send my blood sugar on a roller coaster. I will rethink maple sugar and honey (my neice has bee hives) in small amounts. I will also frequently revisit this blog. I thank you very much for providing this source for accurate information and excellent suggestions!

        1. Thanks for reading my blog, Cheryl. I know it’s not easy. My mom is a diabetic, and she faces a similar struggle. Maple syrup (in small amounts) and pure stevia (vs. the adulterated kind that’s in Truvia and other products like it) might be the options to at least try first.

          Keep us posted on your progress. Best of luck!


  29. OK, so Truvia is not so natural. Here’s an idea: Don’t drown your system in it. Like most other things, it is perfectly OK when use in moderation or sparingly.

      1. Because it applies to almost everything in life. I refuse to be held hostage by claims of health hazards of this or anything else when I know that limited consumption poses no risk at all. Even too much of some “healthy” foods poses risk, but there is little or nothing being written about those. Please understand, Bruce, that I respect and appreciate the word you are getting out as I believe that the more information we have, the more informed, and better, choices we can make as consumers. But I would also like to see you include the tipping point(s) for dangerous consumption. Truvia, for example, does not sound so appetizing now, but if I drink one soda a month, will it harm me?( I doubt it.) Or is that tipping point five or ten or …??? What is the amount of Truvia I can drink in a specific time period that will harm me (a rhetorical question)?

        1. Steve:

          I agree. With many of these ingredients I talk about “a little” isn’t going to kill you. While it would be wonderful to understand the tipping point, too often the case is manufacturers do very little, if any, safety testing. Studies that varied levels of exposure over lifetimes would be ideal, but these are expensive to field, especially for individuals like me. I do think corporations launching new food ingredients should be required to meet the much higher standard that your question raises: at what point does exposure to these chemicals/substances lead to negative consequences? GMOs would be a great example. Although Monsanto makes over $2 billion a year on their GMO human experiment, the longest research they ever fielded to prove the safety of GMOs was a 90 day rat study. GMOs are in over 80% of our processed foods and we are exposed to them and the pesticides that help them grow constantly. Shouldn’t we know more about where exposure might lead to health risks? I think so.

          Hope I answered your question. Sorry if I ranted on a bit.


          1. I think Bruce made a good point in saying, “….why not just choose moderation with a safe, truly natural sweetener vs. opting for something like Truvia?”. A small amount of most poisons, by themselves, probably wont kill us, but you should also take into account the myriad chemicals and toxins that we come in contact with every day, especially those that we have no control over. Personally, I want to minimize any voluntary toxins as much as possible, to give my body the best fighting chance.

            Also, Steve, you mentioned the ‘tipping point’, but that can vary drastically from person to person, partially based upon other health issues and also according to each person’s toxic load and tolerance. It would be irresponsible for Bruce to essentially prescribe a safe amount for his readers, so instead he alerts us to the issues, and we can make informed choices. In this case, a company that touts their product as ‘natural’, when the end product has been taken a considerable distance from pure. Thanks to blogs like this, consumers know the facts of Big Food’s concept of natural. Thanks, Bruce, for taking the time to put this information out there.

  30. I am a Mom to a 9 yr old type 1 diabetic and hated the thought of using artificial sweetners. I have make recipes using pure maple syrup, molasses, homemade unsweetened applesauce, or local honey. However, there are times where I use organic sugar. I try to be optimistic with her diagnosis and look on the bright side that she is young and I am hoping to instill great eating habits now.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Anjullah. Diabetes does create challenges. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. I personally don’t feel artificial sweeteners are the answer, either. I’m afraid they confuse our bodies even more. Minimizing the use of all sweeteners and then using natural sweeteners like you listed is what I would try as well.

      Thanks for visiting my blog. Optimism is always the best route. Your daughter is lucky to have such a caring, special mom.



  31. Nasty! Such deception they use. And most of us have no idea how to decode the ingredient lists, so thanks! Never bought truvia and now never will.

  32. Checking to see if castoreum is in Truvia and came across your wonderful blog. I’m becoming a food activist. Being type II diabetic, I’ve decided to use my diabetes as a diet aid. Yup, even made a line graph so I could learn more about what I’m doing wrong. Well, just bought a box of Truvia on sale for $3.99! Whoopie-do. I had already returned some President brand brie cheese that had an ammonia aftertaste. It was also on sale at $5.49. Will be returning it, pronto. So, are you suggesting that real sugar, in moderation, would be best? Thanks or being there, Bruce. See you on Facebook, along with my almost 700 friends!

    1. Thanks for your comment. When you have diabetes, it’s a much more challenging situation. I’m not a doctor, so I don’t provide medical advice, but you may want to look into trying plain stevia extract as a sweetener. You can find it in most food co-ops, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s.

      1. Hi Bruce, I did what you suggested and found some “Pure Liquid Clear Stevie.” Reasonably priced at about $5. Ten drops per cup of coffee tastes OK.

        I also came across something interesting in my quest for Raw Food. It cost $17, 6 oz. jar, and has 36 servings. about 50 cents a serving. it’s a paste. Melanie Archuleta was displaying three different flavors. I’m always looking for a good morning smoothie, and this is the best so far! I like “PRO Hemp powder, glass of milk, cinnamon, four ice cubes and use a blender, for sure. It comes out fluffy and delicious.
        Sure would appreciate feedback. Thanks, MJR

  33. Bruce,
    Thanks for this article. I’ve ready some bad things about how agave is processed and would love to learn more from you about how it works. Someone told me the process is similar to how they produce corn syrup and that it’s not good to use. Do you have any insight or would you be able to find out the truth behind this? At this time, I only trust honey and 100% pure maple syrup.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Donna. I’ve used agave in the past, but it is processed more than other common sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. So, I will prefer honey, maple syrup, or occasionally organic sugar, sucanat, or coconut sugar. One of the most important considerations … don’t use a lot of sweeteners of any kind, and I avoid all artificial ones. Hope that helps.

  34. Just bear in mind those of you that eat Stevia (natural or otherwise…it also shows up in juice as Reb-A)…there’s a warning on WebMD that people on blood pressure meds SHOULD NOT EAT STEVIA

  35. I grow & use my own stevia and bees / honey for sweet in my foods, and barter for molasses. I make my own liquid sweetener from the dried leaves and water, then freeze or process (can) what I am not going to use in the immediate weeks. The dried leaves keep (so far) indefinitely and I can make this as I need it and it seems to be an alternative to white sugar. It does not irritate my autoimmune troubles or my migraines and I do not need to lose, only maintain weight as I get plenty of exercise / movement in my small farming and work.

    1. Kathy:

      It’s hard to know exactly what you disagree with given your comment. All I can say is that Truvia does not fit my definition of natural. It is a HIGHLY processed ingredient. Truvia wants you to think they’ve just crushed up some Stevia leaves, but that’s far from the truth.

      If you like to use stevia as a sweetener and you want to reduce your use of highly processed foods and additives, choose a brand that is just a stevia extract.


  36. Just found this blog today – thank you for publishing it! Personally, Aspartame tears up my stomach, I can not even tolerate one soda. Yet I can eat all the hot pepper dishes and sauces, and that seems to help my stomach. I quit all sodas and white sugar years ago. I recommend a little LOCAL honey (helps reduce allergies from local pollen), real natural maple syrup, or molasses for sweeteners. Here is a tip- on pancakes, make your own syrup – warm up lemon juice and honey, bit of butter, pour on. Delicious and cheap – lots of flavor and healthy. Yes, natural products have a higher price, but have much more flavor, so I use less. And it is actually good for you! Great site – PB

  37. People are so easily fooled by the word natural. After all, arsenic is natural. Research before you buy and don’t believe everything advertisers tell you.

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