What's in Truvia and Is Truvia Safe?

What You Should Know about Stevia Sweetener

Truvia products on display.
Truvia products on display. Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Truvia is a sweetener derived from the plant stevia. Truvia is derived from a purified form of select parts of stevia plants. Truvia was created by Cargill (the agricultural giant) and Coca-Cola. The key ingredient in Truvia was found to be "without objection" from the FDA.

The History of Stevia

Stevia has had a bit of a mixed story in the U.S. This plant has been used for centuries in South America as a sweetener and is a common sweetener in places such as Japan.

In the U.S., however, stevia was banned from use as a food additive because of research that suggested stevia could potentially cause cancer.

Different Types of Stevia

Like sugar, stevia comes in a number of different forms. Liquid, powder and granules. There are also dessert products that use stevia instead of sugar such as ice cream, jams and jellies. You may also see Coca-Cola Life and Sprite Green on shelves, both are sweetened by stevia. Pepsi True is another stevia-sweetened product. While stevia is said to be natural, additional ingredients are added in processing such as erythritol, a sugar alcohol, and "natural flavors" as well.

FDA Approval vs. Non-Objection

The FDA's "non objection" results from data submitted by the industry that shows the safety of a stevia refining process that removes the suspect components of stevia. This process focuses on a component of stevia known as steviol glycoside rebaudioside A (Reb-A).

Reb-A (also called Rebiana), has a different safety profile than stevia in general. Truvia is made from Reb-A.

Truvia Safety

But is Truvia safe? Because the FDA doesn't object and it is likely as safe as any of the sugar substitutes out there - you could argue it is less safe because of the cancer finding in the past, but you could also argue that the "naturalness" of Truvia combined with the centuries of use (as stevia) in the world make is safer.

Of course, you can to decide for yourself. What's not up for debate is breastfeeding and using stevia. It is not safe for babies, so you'll have to skip it until your finished breastfeeding.

Side Effects of Stevia

While stevia is said to be natural, researchers have found side effects to be aware of. Those who are already allergic to ragweed, marigolds, chrysanthemums, marigolds or daisies should avoid stevia to prevent going into anaphylactic shock. Decreased appetite, nausea, feeling of fullness and bloating may also be symptoms caused by stevia intake. Stevia is also contraindicated in people taking high blood pressure or diabetes medicines as they may interact.

Choosing Stevia

Eating stevia may have its risks, but if you're already using artificial sweeteners, stevia may be a good addition to your sweetener options.

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