Whole Foods Lifestyle - Stevia and Blue Agave syrup

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06-08-2007, 03:47 AM
Who enjoys these natural options as sweeteners? I love them both and feel much better sweetening my teas, etc, without artificial chemical-ish packets of stuff like Splenda and Equal. There has been some controversy with Stevia and the FDA... it has been approved as a dietary supplement, but not as a food additive.

Stevia has been used practically forever in many places such as Japan and areas in South America. The FDA has been criticized for not testing enough or giving it the seal of approval to be used as a food additive. If approved, it may cause damage to the artificial sweetener industry... you can't patent a naturally growing plant, yanno?

Regardless of any of that... I'm happy just sprinkling it on cereal and in tea. Same with Blue Agave, which comes in the form of a syrup usually. The Blue Agave has calories but is low-glycemic, unlike regular white sugar. It also has a unique flavor to it.

I've actually talked about it with a M.D, who has focused on holistic health here in the US. I asked her about the safety, etc, and she said that both are completely safe and all of this FDA stuff is rubbish.

06-08-2007, 12:04 PM
Yes, stevia is a great option for non-caloric natural sweetener. The FDA, like all other government agencies, seems to bend to the will of the industry lobbyists that have high stakes in keeping the status quo. In this case, keeping your options restricted to artificial sweeteners or processed white sugar.

It can be a little more costly and you might have to go out of your way to find alternatives, but they exist. Iíve used stevia, xylitol, agave, brown rice syrup, molasses, maple syrup, honey. Some of these are low-glycemic and lower-cal and some are not, but all of them are better than refined sugar or artificial stuff IMO.

06-08-2007, 02:16 PM
I haven't been able to use stevia due to it's bitterness, but I'm very sensitive to some bitter tastes. I do think it is safe and I may keep trying stevia to see if I can develop a taste for it.

I agree that FDA approval/non-approval is complete rubbish! When they do approve something, they are usually only looking at studies done by the companies that make a product. Lobbyists and manufacturers have more sway with the FDA than "real" fact based scientific studies do (in my opinion at least.)

06-08-2007, 02:37 PM
Many stevia products do have a very strong black licorice like aftertaste, which I can't stand. I use KAL brand, I don't find it to have any bad aftertaste. It comes in powder and liquid extract.

Suzanne 3FC
06-08-2007, 03:18 PM
I use agave nectar :) As far as I know, it's environmentally friendly, unlike traditional beet or cane sugar production. One agave plant can produce up to 2500 liters of nectar a year :T

06-08-2007, 05:10 PM
I just don't use sweeteners enough! I have some dark honey at home for tea and I get sugar free syrup in my lattes at Starbucks. I have some pure maple syrup that I keep meaning to drizzle on sweet potatoes when I bake them, but I keep forgetting. I don't bake..I just don't know what else I would put sugar/sugar substitute on!

06-08-2007, 09:02 PM
I use agave syrup to make barbeque sauces for chicken or salmon, Once in a while. I'll drizzle a little bit on my eggwhite-oatmeal pancake, but I usually put some blueberries or other fruit on it and it's sweet.

I've tried stevia is various forms and brands, and it's been an expensive experiment. They all taste dreadful to me.


06-08-2007, 09:13 PM
I just don't use sweeteners enough!

Is this even possible? How did we end up expecting that so much of our food needs some sort of sweetener added? (And aren't sweet potatoes sweet enough? I know there's the marshmallow Thanksgiving tradition, but as a grown-up I find that the vegetables on their own are plenty sweet. Adding sweetener to sweet potatoes seems to me like adding sweetener to Capn Crunch.)

06-11-2007, 02:01 PM
I have a Stevia plant, and it's growing out of control. I have some of its leaves drying so I can ground them up and see if I can have my own "organic" stevia.

I'm a recently converted stevia fan, having been addicted to splenda until having read some recent bad hype about it. I'm sure splenda is fine, but I'm trying to stick to a chemical free lifestyle as much as possible.

06-12-2007, 11:36 AM
I just read today online that Coca-Cola and Cargill have joined together and bought 24 patents for beverages and foods with stevia as the sweetener--very interesting!

06-14-2007, 05:57 PM
I am currently using Splenda and want to get it out of my diet. But I have to have something to sweeten my ice tea. I have tried Stevia in the past and thought it was bitter. So would Agave Nectar be a better choice to start trying? Or what else do you suggest?

06-14-2007, 06:21 PM
Agave is awesome. I love it! :carrot:

Stevia is good for many reasons as well but I don't think it tastes as good as agave.

06-18-2007, 02:56 AM
I use both stevia and agave. Do be aware that agave nectar has the same amount of calories as honey, though perhaps you can use a bit less of it. I'm becoming less enamored of agave though. For some reason I am liking the taste less and less.

06-18-2007, 10:44 AM
I use both stevia and agave. Do be aware that agave nectar has the same amount of calories as honey, though perhaps you can use a bit less of it. I'm becoming less enamored of agave though. For some reason I am liking the taste less and less.

The calories is definately a concern to me. I know Splenda is not the best choice with unknown reprocusions (?) but it has little to no calories. I drink alot of ice tea.

I will have to get to the co-op and compare calories and see what I should do. Hmm maybe use it part time to cut back on the use of Splenda. That would be a step in the right direction.

Does Stevia not have calories? Are some forns/brands of Stevia better/less bitter than others?

06-18-2007, 11:00 AM
Stevia is an herb, so the calories are negligible enough and you use such a small amount that I would call it calorie free. As I mentioned above I find KAL brand stevia to have the best taste. I mostly use the liquid extract, perfect for dropping in beverages and sweetening homemade dressings, though Iíve used the powdered for sweetening baked goods as well. You might also want to note that these extracts are very potent, a little bit goes a long way!