It’s Q & A Saturday! This is a special weekly post of answering reader questions in more elaborate detail.
This weeks question comes from a reader in New Zealand who asks,
"What should I look for when purchasing stevia?" What brands do you recommend?"
While I've researched quite a bit about Stevia I am by no means an expert, but I do know there are certain ingredients that I choose to steer clear of when purchasing stevia. I look for as few ingredients on the label as possible. I stay away from brands that have additives like rebiana, dextrose and maltodextrin and here's why:
Rebiana- is the trade name for high-purity rebaudioside, also known as Reb-A. It is a 42-step procedure to derive Rebiana from the stevia leaves, using chemicals such as acetone, methanol, acetonitrile, isopropanol, tert-butano. Rebiana is a chemically modified form of stevia, it is NOT pure stevia.
Maltodextrin- Usually made from rice, corn, or potato starch, maltodextrin is produced by cooking down the starch. It is a processed additive. It is considered safe by the FDA, which is not the same thing as healthy. It is a basically a filler with no nutritional value. It is one of the first two ingredients in Splenda. My post "3 Splenda Myths Busted" is all about why I no longer use Splenda at all and therefore stay away from maltodextrin as well.
Dextrose- Dextrose, fructose, and glucose are all monosaccharides, known as simple sugars. These sugars can combine to form more complex sugars, including the disaccharide known as sucrose, or table sugar. I personally need to stay away from white table sugar because of the way it negatively effects me. Read this post about my sugar free journey for the reasons I've eliminated white flour and white sugar in my life.
Here are my top 3 brands of stevia I use because they do not contain any of the above ingredients. If you do not see the product listed in liquid or powder it is because it either had one of the above ingredients or contained alcohol which I find produces a terrible aftertaste.
1. Sweetleaf Stevia in liquid or powder (any flavor)
2. NuNaturals, vanilla, liquid form, alcohol free
3. Now Foods BetterStevia, 75 packets
Hopefully this post was informative for you to at least question the ingredients on the label when purchasing stevia. You may have been turned off from using it in the past because one of the above ingredients caused an aftertaste.
Just because products have the label stevia on them, does not mean they are all created equal.
Here's my personal STEVIA CONVERSION CHART for you to view and pin which shares how to exchange the different forms of stevia in liquid, packets, powdered and pure extract. Needing some help in reducing your sugar consumption? Here's 5 steps to take to reduce or eliminate how much sugar you consume!
Have you tried any of my top 3 brands? If so, your thoughts?
Maltodextrin is a STARCH and as such, it has 4 calories per gram regardless of the govern,ent lies about "zero calories".
I shared above that it is a starch and I stay away from all products that contain it.
Thank you for your comments on stevia products. I look forward to reading more. Karin
Is there a 100% pute stevia packet
I guess one must buy stevia product based on ingredients. Because now a days a lot of brands are using additives&filters to make stevia even more tasty and are offering for a cheaper price. Never compromise for $3-$5 always look for right quality product with ingredients. I have used this new brand called FDS Stevia, but it is 100 % Pure & Natural and quality is very good.
Hope this helps everyone
I read your post and some of the comment/questions/concerns posted by others about the source of stevia and immediately contacted the SweetLeaf company to enquire as to the source of their stevia. I used it for years. The relevant factor for me originally using this company's product was a belief was sourced from South America.
Although transparent information is nowhere to be found on their current web site, SweetLeaf stevia is indeed sourced from China.
Interesting note: As I have purchase the liquid and powdered forms from Amazon. com over the years, I found that when I went to post my findings to provide facts to other consumers, Amazon refused to allow my negative review, and therefore I am thwarted in sharing this with others.
Here is the enquiry and response, I hope it is helpful for you and others as you gather factual information.
I wrote to the company 26 October 2016:
Message: Do you use stevia sourced from China?
Atiana Bowyer (Wisdom Natural Brands)
Our stevia comes from China, and the products are manufactured in the U.S..
Customer Service Representative
Wisdom Natural Brands
Do you have any scientific training?
hi, I bought stevia (pure via) here I was feeling happy that I will finally quit sugar , only for me to discover that there is dextrose as
part of the ingredient and am so not happy about it. which of the stevia is natural?
I have tried NuNatural and SweetLeaf but the best I found is Greeniche Stevia. First I tried their sample of liquid stevia and then I order Stevia Sachets and 1 Bottle of Stevia JAR. They gave me special discount too while ordering few other products on their site. They claim best tasting stevia with 99.8% Reb-A, halal, gluten free and no bitter aftertaste. I recommend to include them in the favorites list! Thanks
Obviously you haven't heard of Dukon Diet Stevia. There is NONE better, trust me! Pours like sugar, even though it's called a "powder." Has NOTHING else but natural, stevia and nothing else. Unless you are promoting/selling the products you list, there should be no other reason why you wouldn't post my comment.
I have no problem posting your comment and I've never heard of Dukon Diet stevia, but I can say if it pours like sugar and is called a powder, it certainly MUST have other ingredients to make it in baking form like sugar. I've never used a baking type stevia but I do know this, pure stevia extract is the purest form and does not include any other ingredients making it the strongest in concentration and can not be poured like sugar.
BetterStevia has Maltodextrin in it, i just look here and notice.
The link I have provided above in #3 does not include maltodextrin. Here's the ingredients to the one I have linked above.http://www.iherb.com/p/38959
Yours is the orginal and not the same as the organic option I have listed.
Sorry, in my previous comment, I meant to say "BetterStevia", not "Best." However, still a misnomer,
So what's bad about maltodextrin? Is it the no nutrional value or does it mess with something? I've been using spenda and truvia but neither of those are suppose to be healthy for you.
So, I've been looking for a good stevia brand. What's wrong with the sweetleaf packets? Isn't maltodextrin used to bulk it up since pure stevia doesn't dissolve well in liquid and you only need a very small amount?
And here is something I found on inulin : Inulin - one of the safest additives is a vegetable, prebiotic fiber known as inulin. However, don’t let the vegetable part fool you into thinking it’s necessarily healthy for you. Though it’s a good source of fiber, it doesn’t resemble broccoli or kale no matter how vegetable-based it is. Inulin has also been linked to gastrointestinal disorders such as bloating, gas, and general digestive upset.
Stevia is widely and commonly used as sugar alternative. Even people are adopting it in routine lives, cooking, drinking and sweets.
Thought I should warn people to read the reviews on products before they buy ! Learned my lesson! Nu Naturals have changed their formulations.
Oh? That's unfortunate, what's in the liquid alcohol free vanilla stevia that's different?
Sorry to inform you, but the NOW packets have rice maltodextrin. It says so right on the package.
The link I provided is for the NOW box that DOES NOT contain maltodextrin. Click the link and you will see it is still available for purchase through iherb.com
We recently went sugar free for the most part and per Mercola we got the Sweetleaf Vanilla liquid stevia which said it is organic stevia. I'm not sure you mentioned that particular brand. Any thoughts as to it being good?
Also, as I have a chocolate crush, I've discovered Lilly's Dark Chocolate Almond bars and wondered since it doesn't say organic, but only "Stevia Extract" if it is safe? It also has Inulin (ok), Erythritol (ok), and DEXTRIN - is this Maltodextrin???
Thanks for your site and all those who have commented - going to bookmark and pin you when I get home. 😉
Abner Pheisenbaum III
To the person who mentioned suddenly feeling tired as of late. KAL brand stevia now contains maltodextrin. VERY VERY VERY upsetting because I had been using KAL stevia for at least 7 years if not longer. I called them and they said it was made from non-gmo corn. Still, you may have an allergy to corn. Also, I heard (unconfirmed) that KAL brand stevia is not made in China. I am looking for a new bran.
I was also upset about KAL Stevia. I called them also and they said they started putting 1% Malodextrin inr their stevia because it's easier to get it to go though the machines. I wasn't to bothered by it at this point because I had a bottle and 1/2 of the pure stuff. A couple of weeks ago a friend said she had seen pure KAL Stevia at natural Grociers in a bottle that said organic. I said it was probably left from before. She didn't thin't think so becase she said the old bottles didn't say organic.
One of the products you list as pure has silica in it. Silica is unsafe to consume. So the Better Stevia is not pure stevia.
Please read the commenter above Jessica who has explained in depth about silica and here is an article to support it's use in small amounts. http://www.vitalhealthzone.com/nutrition/minerals/silica.html
"Silicon Dioxide Safety
Silica is not digested or absorbed in the intestinal tract, which means it poses no risk of toxicity. Silicon dioxide is "generally recognized as safe" -- or GRAS -- by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Although kidney stones may form with consumption of massive amounts of silica over a long period, the amount of silica in food, pharmaceuticals and supplements is not significant enough to cause stone formation or other side effects" http://www.livestrong.com/article/520897-what-is-silicon-dioxide-in-supplements/
I've been on the hunt for a good brand of stevia, yet seem to come up short on information frequently. Since KAL isn't as trustworthy as it used to be, I have been searching and stumbled across Jaja Stevioside. Does anyone know of its reputability, both as a good product and a trustworthy supplier?
Hi Brenda, very informative article, it really helped me figure out what to look for and what to avoid when purchasing Stevia.
I noticed that many commenters are worried about silica (silicon dioxide) being dangerous as an added ingredient. I just wanted to clear up that silica is only dangerous when inhaled over long periods of time. This results in a serious respiratory illness called silicosis but is only really a concern for potters working with clay (which contains silica-when dry/dust will go into the air and be inhaled), among other occupations. What it does is absorb a lot of moisture, which it will do in the lungs and over time and enough exposure will result in difficulty breathing. It is also not expelled from the lungs, so once it's in there it's not coming back out. But it would only happen after 30+ years working without a respirator.
I believe the silica is likely added to the powder in small amounts to keep it dry while stored, and since you're not sniffing the stevia there would not be any problems caused by it.
Thanks for the fantastic explanation Jessica!
Hi Brenda! Love all this info on Stevia! I bought Trivia ( without all this info) and it made at husband and I both sick. I did a search for pure dtevia and this is one that came up.
Any info or opinion? I can't read ingredients list. Thank you!! Connie
Just read your post on pure powder stevia on Amazon from Bulksupplements.com. I went to their website and searched for stevia. I saw the pure stevia powder and the only ingredients listed are 3 extracts Stevia, Steviosides, and Rebaudiosides which all come from the stevia plant. Under "other ingredients" the word "none" is listed.