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Stevia is the new Snow

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In honor of winter, which brings along everyone’s favorite white powder (unless you’re lucky enough to live in Miami…), today’s post is about a different sort of white powder: Stevia

What are your thoughts on sugar?

I’ll go first: I’m a bit wary of including a lot of sugar in my diet, not because of the calories (if anything, I try to eat as many calories as I can, not as few), but because of how sugar made me feel in the past. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t think sugar can be part of a healthy diet.


Why is sugar perceived to be so bad?

The media gives a bad name to sugar, but the truth is that if one isn’t trying to lose weight (and even if one is), there is absolutely no harm in including some sugar in one’s everyday diet.  Sure, it’s devoid of nutrition, but that doesn’t mean it has negative nutrition (as long as you brush your teeth thoroughly).  Also, some sugars, like maple syrup and blackstrap molasses do have nutritional value. Blackstrap molasses is an exceptionally-high source of iron, and it also contains calcium, potassium, copper, and magnesium. In other words, it’s a super sugar!

The main reason people are told to cut back on sugar is that they eat sugary foods instead of nutrient-dense ones.  But unless you have diabetes or another such illness, I’d argue that as long as you’re getting enough nutrients in your diet, there’s nothing wrong with eating non-nutritious, sugary foods too.  Sugar may not help you get in more nutrients, but it certainly won’t hurt you or take away the nutrients you are getting. (I’m not a doctor, so take my opinion with a grain of salt sugar ;).)

What about artificial sweeteners?

I admit that I don’t have much experience with these.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever tried Splenda or any products containing it.  My only encounters with artificial sweeteners: When I was younger, I hated soda (still do); therefore, at restaurants, my habit was to order iced tea.  My mom told me that Sweet-n-Low dissolved better than regular sugar in iced tea, so I’d use that.  But I kept getting stomach aches, so my doctor recommended I try nixing the Sweet-n-Low.  Surprise: the stomach aches went away!  Maybe it was a coincidence, but maybe–on the other hand–my stomach was trying to tell me that people aren’t supposed to ingest dangerous chemicals in place of real food!

What about stevia?  Is it safe?

As I said before, I’m not a doctor, so I can only tell you my opinion.  I’ve heard the lab-rat studies that claim to show stevia is unsafe.  But honestly, I think those studies are flawed because the rats were fed HUGE amounts of stevia, and anything in such a high quantity will produce negative results.  (Did you know that too much broccoli can cause acid poisoning?  Or that too much cinnamon damages the liver?)  Stevia, an herb, has been used for centuries in South America and Japan to sweeten teas and other foods, without evidence of harm.  So looking at historical evidence, it seems as if stevia—when used sparingly—is harmless.

Next up:

Ways I use sugar, followed by ways I use stevia.  Without much of a sweet tooth, I don’t really use much of either.  But I feel that there’s a place for both in a healthy diet.  Variety is the spice of life, right?  Well, that and some good-quality onion powder ;).

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. I used to drink sugar-free sodas sweetened with aspartame. Coincidentally, I had killer headaches every day. I finally made the connection and stopped drinking the sugar-free sodas, and the headaches went away. It was then that I decided if I were going to drink a soda, I’d drink a soda. (I’ve now been off sodas since 1/15, thanks to having surgery and deciding it was a perfect time to quit drinking them.)

    I used Splenda a few times, but it just never tasted the same to me, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it was doing to my body.

    Stevia I love. I use it occasionally in a tisane. Other than that, though, I just prefer to use sugar or agave or maple syrup, something real instead of something that comes out of a lab.

  2. Run Sarah says:

    I enjoy Stevia in cocoa or vitamin water on occasion. I actually have always hated the taste of other artificial sweeteners so I rarely drink diet pop.

  3. Abby says:

    One of my favorite things about your blog is that it’s so refreshing how you take the time to write your OWN opinions on subjects, instead of just copying and pasting facts from other sources.
    So like today, you could have just copied stuff about stevia from the internet like I see so many other sites do, but you took the time to write your own, well thought out facts and opinions. You really have a talent for writing, Katie.
    It’s always a joy to read what you have to say.

  4. EE says:

    I use some Splenda — certainly less than I did a year ago. I don’t bake, really (I plead the law school excuse), so I don’t even know if we HAVE regular sugar in the house. I do drink diet pop and own it.

    This is terrible of me, but when you said people’s favorite white powder, I thought, “Whaaaaat?” Forgive me. 😉 And I’ve always just been 100% drug-free — I just have a wandering mind!

  5. Jenny says:

    like anything — I think artificial sweeteners are just dandy in moderation. I try to limit myself to two packets of truvia per day… and i’m still alive – so I think they’re safe 😉

    happy hump day peaches!

  6. candice says:

    I did a research paper on stevia for my chemistry class. Personally, I don’t have a problem with it. Like you said, those rats had be fed huge amounts of the stevia extracts—more than any human could or would want to consume—before they experienced negative effects. I wouldn’t use it extensively, but a little bit here and there certainly won’t hurt!

    Oh, but I’m guilty of chewing sugar-free gum. It’s my life line during boring classes… I can’t help it. 😉

  7. joy says:

    I do use artificial sweeteners quite a bit but I prefer the stevia over splenda mostly!

  8. Kristie says:

    Such a well written and thought out post Katie! And I’m with EE – no druggie here but when you said everyone’s favorite white powder… well I was a little shocked 😉

  9. psychoj1 says:

    I do not have any problem with stevia! But the thought of eating something as artificial or splenda…that kind of scares me!
    <3 jess

  10. hypki says:

    Appreciate your opinions and writing about this topic Katie! It’s such a hot bed in the food blog world and in nutrition circles, but with any nutrition fad it’s got to be a personal choice which I think you have articulated well here.
    Personally, I have not met an artifical sweetener that I like…including Stevia. I can even taste it’s nastiness in protein powder where there is just a tiny bit added…YUCK!

    So that being said, I don’t use them at all. But I have chosen not to use refined sugars either, because I just don’t feel comfortable or responsible putting those into my body, whether I’m craving it or not.
    If I want something sweet I choose to bake with a small amount of molasses or maple syrup, and sometimes agave, but even that is not my first choice. Of course, this is all personal, and I respect everyone else’s choices as well. Like you said, our bodies all crave something different, and wouldn’t the world be boring if we didn’t?! :) Thanks for the fun blog and all the thought provoking discussion.

  11. I’m off artificial sweeteners now, though until last summer I was definitely a Diet Coke addict. Now it tastes gross to me, so that just goes to show bad habits can be broken! I use stevia in my coffee, but that’s about it. It doesn’t taste *quite* right to me, and occasionally it has bothered my throat. But as you point out, a little bit of anything probably isn’t going to hurt us, so I think unless I go dumping mountains of stevia all over everything I eat, I’ll be fine.

    And YEAH YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT’S CARROT CAKE DAY!!! The happiest news I’ve gotten this week! Although I wish I’d realized it in advance–now I’m not sure how to get my carrot cake fix. I’m short on time today! Not sure when I’ll find the time to make a Carrot Katie…I mean, Carrot CAKE inspired recipe! 😉

  12. the vegster says:

    I definitely prefer chocolates as my “sweets”, don’t you? 😛

    I try to limit my sugar intake as well, though sugars in fruits are great. A small dessert-type snack every now and then makes me feel like I’m not depriving myself but I don’t consume sodas or sugary/processed foods.

    I’m definitely a hater of artificial sugars (and fake anything really) because of how they are made – they are not natural and they can definitely harm your body if you eat consume them regularly. I don’t believe the body knows how to process them and stores in as fat instead. If you accidentally ingest a little bit, no it’s not going to kill you, but on a regular basis, who knows? There really aren’t any long-term studies on their effects.

    I do enjoy a little bit of stevia every now and then, though it has to be completely pure (unfortunately the NuNaturals has maltodextrin which is too processed for me – sadness!). Even then I still don’t consume copious amounts of it. I prefer raw honey or agave as my sweeteners of choice :)


  13. Marina says:

    Well, I avoid sugar and sweeteners, but when I use something, I usually use maple syrup, or honey, or brown sugar, although I know it’s the same as white. I am definitely intrigued with stevia, I’ve seen it a lot around blogosphere lately. And about artifical stuff, I avoid it pretty much. I’ve heard some bad stuff about it, and I don’ have any wish or need to use it :)

  14. tabitha says:

    i think artificial sweetners are evil
    and i think regular sugar is pretty bad too
    it’s highly processed and is cancer’s favorite food
    it has drug like effects on many people and it bad for your overall health

    i love it
    i’m trying to get off it :)

  15. Jessica says:

    I rarely use artificial sweeteners, but believe everything is fine in moderation. :)

  16. I’m not against artificial sugars- but if you wouldn’t eat the real thing, why are you eating the fake thing?

    The real thing might be bad for your waistline (when consumed too much) among other things; but artificial sweeteners are bad for everything else.

    [just so we’re clear- I sometimes get sugar free vanilla in my coffee- so I’m not trying to preach- but I often wonder this to myself]

  17. Katie says:

    I used to drink alot of diet soda. But, it gave me headaches and I wasn’t any thinner. I don’t drink soda now, but every now and then I’ll have a regular soda. Soda is bad for you, period whether it is diet or not.
    I tried splenda and it caused severe gastrointenstinal distress (I’ll spare the details). Most things containing splenda have this warning on the packaging.
    I have a real sweet tooth, so I try to sweeten things with dates, raw honey, or raw agave. I use organic Florida crystals in my coffee. Other than that..
    I have been interested in stevia after hearing so much about it, but I’m scared to try anything that isn’t natural. Can’t wait to hear your reviews!

  18. Katie says:

    I am really on the fence on this issue. I LOVE sugar (see my mean sweet tooth posts… 😀 ), but I also try to limit it in my diet, because I get mad headaches. I always cut the sugar by at least half in all the recipes I make. I also really love stevia, but sometimes the flavor can be a little too much. I found that if you add in double the vanilla in baked goods, it can mask the stevia flavor.
    Artificial sweeteners? The science is so mixed (and as a scientist I view all the studies with a very critical eye), but anytime there is even some evidence for bad effects, I take note. I can’t give up my sugar free gum though! 😀

  19. Yasmin says:

    I’ve learned to not trust artificial sweeteners since there are studies still being conducted on its tie to cancer risks. Stevia I’ve never tried but would love to try since it’s natural.

  20. Evan Thomas says:

    I love this topic
    Sugar– I try to limit it as much as possible, because no matter what form(white, powdered, brown, agave nectar, etc.) it’s still just empty carbs. But of course it makes things tastier so I give in(a bit)
    Stevia- I love it. I had a stevia plant that died. I use it to sweeten as much as I can.
    Artificial sweeteners– I haven’t touched them since Summer, and I never want to again. That being said, I don’t see them as a bad thing for an overweight America.

  21. I’m not a huge fan of stevia. Even though it’s totally natural, it tastes fake to me. I’ve been trying to limit unrefined sugar intake (I don’t eat any white sugar unless I’m eating out or at a potluck), but I’ve not so well with it. I do notice my body feels different when my blood sugar spikes after eating sugar. But the delicious taste is kinda worth it. :-)

  22. I have banned all artificial sweeteners from my body. I have yet to try Stevia but would love to give it a try!
    I use agave or organic honey if I need to sweeten anything up.

  23. Serena says:

    Hey there :) I have yet to try Stevia but I keep hearing wonderful things about it!

    Have you read The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone? She talks about the negative effects of glucose blood sugar spikes etc from too much processed sugar…which made me realize that I had to cut down on sugar. After eating less processed sugar, I’ve actually noticed my sweet tooth shrinking (and lo, I never thought it would be possible!) and my taste buds being more sensitive & rejoicing in simple pleasures and sweetness of a crunchy yellow bell pepper for instance…

    Now I use honey or agave if I need to sweeten something..or bananas which do a pretty good job by themselves!

    Anyway I just posted some pictures of banana hammocks that I made last month on my blog, so you can check it out if you like :)

  24. Kara says:

    I agree with you Katie. Why is white sugar seen as the devil? It’s not a chemical. People need to realize that a bit of white sugar is much better for them than some scary chemicals! It’s always amazing to me that people will shun sugar like the plague but down copious amounts of splenda and sucralose!

  25. Killian says:

    Cupcakes look great! I’d love to try some of the Artisana products! All over the net and I can’t get them :/ Haha when you said that today was about a different kind of white powder, cocaine was all I could think of haha but I know thats not what you meant (or was it?) 😛 Thanks for the post x

  26. I think your supply of NuNaturals will last you for years! lol!

    There is a problem with sugar consumption in America and other places as well. It’s like everything we eat, well processed foods anyways, have some form of sugar in it. We just need to learn to eat less of the sweet stuff for our over all health. I guess that goes back to the whole foods way of eating is the best.

    When it comes to sugars and artificial sweeteners I choose organic sugar, maple syrup or agave. I’ve tried stevia years ago and wasn’t a fan but I was never a fan of artificial sweeteners anyways, funny taste. I think when you change something chemically, it’s just not a good thing for you, because these sweeteners are chemicals that you are ingesting. I think stevia might be the better choice than splenda and all of the others if you want a sugar alternative.

    Here’s a story of too much consumption of Splenda. My mother-in-law drinks hot tea, like all day long, and she’ll put like 2-3 packs of splenda in it. I accidentally picked up her tea mug one day and took a sip, I almost gagged it was so flippen sweet! Anyways she is a good example of using way to much sweetener because she is consuming large amounts everyday! Can you say toxic!!! I just gotta think that it’s not helping all of her health issues that she’s got going on.

  27. Jessica says:

    I have mixed feelings on the subject. I like stevia, and probably use about 4 single-serving packets a week. I’m a little concerned because I heard it was linked to infertility. I do think it is fine in small amounts…

    I used to be totally addicted to diet soda. I was hooked at a young age and drank 3-4 cans a day for years, but then I gave it up cold-turkey about 3 years ago. I also used to bake with Splenda and ate just about anything sweetened with it, mostly because I was trying to lose weight. Now, I just eat smaller portions of things with real sugar. I generally eat one “dessert” per week. Note: I don’t consider fudge babies as dessert, hahaha! :)

  28. Lexi says:

    I agree with you that everything in moderation is fine. I avoid HFCS and other artificial sweeteners, but I don’t beat myself up about it if I had a product that contains those things.

    Ron sent me that same sample package that you put up!! He is so generous! I love all of the NuNaturals stuff :)

    Have a lovely day my dear!!

  29. I used to LOVE splenda. As in, I put everything that could use a little oomph. Only recently have I kicked that habit in favor of real sugar, agave, stevia or simply no sweetener at all. I’m not entirely opposed to artificial sweeteners–and I won’t NOT eat something because it is made with splenda–because I simply don;t think scientists know enough to make any sort of conclusive statement. I wanted to cut back because I was using, uhhh, 10 packets a day? No bueno. And while I don’t think scientists know enough to say Splenda’s going to kill us, I also don’t think they know enough to ensure that it’s safe.

  30. Adam says:

    My opinions on sugar have never really changed in that i consider natural sugars found in fruits (fructose) safe and harmless and i consume large quantities of fruit every week! But i try to limit any evaporated cane juices, brown rice syrup or any other kind of “sugar” in the foods that i eat along side. Artificial sweeteners of any kind are a huge sin in my house and i think this should be the same way world-wide. They are chemicals, period. Stevia: i wouldn’t consider artificial, but rather group it with all of the other natural plant-derived “sugars” that can be found throughout. Question: Where did you find your info on Broccoli and Cinnamon. I eat a lot and your info concerns me, lol… source? 😉

  31. fiveseed says:

    I think fake sugars (Splenda, Nutra Sweet, etc.) are dangerous. As you said, they are chemicals, and we should avoid chemicals as much as possible. I’d rather eat real sugar than fake!

    I do like Stevia. I don’t use it often – I stick to honey and brown rice syrup, usually. But it is nice to have.

  32. Quix says:

    In drinks, I ingest fake sugar before real sugar. Most of the day I drink water, but in my one cup of tea or occasional soda, it’s splenda (or diet whatever for soda). Always decaf though! Total tangent: don’t quit caffeine unless you REALLY want to, as now I have ONE ice tea or ONE soda and I am bouncing off the walls for hours. It’s hard to find anything out and about to drink that has no caffeine and no sugar. Two cups of decaf coffee will do it to me too, but I’m actually coffee free since October – I don’t really miss it but geez, the smell gets me sometimes.

    I don’t have a huge sweet tooth either, but when I do have desert, it’s usually just a small portion of something like a hershey kiss or a half cup of ice cream. So I’m split – I don’t like drinking my calories so I stay away from it in liquid form, but I definitely think that it’s also not necessary to eliminate sugar from your diet if it doesn’t cause you issues and you can moderate your intake well (also not a doctor so take that as you will).

  33. I have grown to love stevia and use it daily – lots of times, daily.

    Sadly I found this: that states that the EC has banned the sale of it in the uk (sorry if I just repeated something someone else said- no time today to read 32 comments :-) ) That’s my only concern. Wah. :-(

  34. SamWB says:

    Excellent blog, I haven’t heard of Stevia. I cut down as much as I can on sugar as it is full of empty calories. However, I do include some in my diet because I find sweet food to be mentally healthy. A little bit of something sweet can make you feel better some days and my mind is as important as my body. I just make sure that I don’t eat the over processed stuff. Manuka Honey is a good form of sweetness for me as is Agave syrup and I LOVE Maple syrup :)

    xx Sam xx

  35. Shannon says:

    Great topic! I recently heard bad things about agave, which i haven’t looked into… but man, studies can be skewed either way. i was once hooked on crystal light, but realized it was making me hungrier and thirstier, so i’ve stopped that for the most part. never tried stevia, although i’m interested!

  36. Susan says:

    I’m with you girl – artificial sweetners give me stomachaches. However, stevia is the exception. I wish it weren’t so darn expensive though!

  37. Katie says:

    I used to be a splenda freak…but kind of cut out artificial sweeteners when I realized that I was eating a very unbalanced diet. However, I’ve really been wanting to try stevia for a while!

  38. eaternotarunner says:

    I try to stay away from fake sugar as much as possible. Once in a while I’ll use stevia, but I like to use regular sugar!

  39. kathleen says:

    I generally have been avoiding white sugar and HFCS for a few years. For many reasons. I think they are causing the downfall of American society and the health care system (thank you monsanto). So I have learned to enjoy things that are less sweet or sweetened alternatively. My tastes have changed a lot. I enjoy many things unsweetened like coffee, tea, hot cocoa. For many recipes, I replace sugar with another sweetener and cut the amount in half. After making these changes, I don’t really like food sweetened to a normally accepted level sweetness, so avoiding sugar is not a self control thing. Its a taste preference thing.

    My fave sugar sources are grade B maple syrup, agave, dates, fruit in general and recently Erythritol crystals (I’m still deciding if its too processed for me, its made from fermented sugar). I’ve used one brand of liquid stevia in some things, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the taste. I’d like to try some others, though.

    But from a natural source or not, I try not to eat too much sugar because it makes me feel healthier.

  40. Stefanie says:

    Due to health reasons I most limit my sugar intake. If I eat too much I feel sick and miserable for a couple days after. I prefer to use natural sources in baking such as fruits or agave/molasses. I get more satisfaction out of fresh fruit then I do baked goods.

    Artificial sweetners scare me so I stay away from them. They also have a fake taste to them that is just not good. I do use stevia but in small amounts and not very often.

  41. radioactivegan says:

    I’ve tried a few artificial sweeteners, mainly out of curiosity. Splenda may be made from sugar but it does not taste like sugar. I know that the corn growers are trying to convince everyone that HFCS is safe, but I don’t buy that. Even if it won’t hurt me any more than sugar, I try to avoid it because it is so ubiquitous. By trying to not get any, I probably get a reasonable amount. I’ve not tried stevia, but I’ve always been curious about it. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with it. Maybe I’ll get inspired!

  42. Kate says:

    I rarely eat sugar — especially during cold and flu season. My biggest issue is that it causes so much inflammation in the body and feeds bacteria. If you want your cold to hang around – be sure and feed it lots of sugar. So for tea/coffee/cocoa I usually use stevia or honey and save sugar for once in awhile. I feel like I enjoy it more that way anyway! Once in a blue moon I will have a diet soda (and usually spend the better part of the day regretting it – feel yucky!) But there are so many things that are wonderfully sweet on their own — especially BANANAS!!

  43. courtney says:

    I am not against sugar at all, but it seems like a lot of recipes (not yours of course!) call for too much. I made a blueberry crisp yesterday, and when I tasted it, it was just way too sweet! Fruit is naturally sweet, and so I would cut the sugar in half next time. I think this can be done with a lot of recipes for sweet treats! However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with eating sugar in moderation 😉

    As for artificial sweeteners, I try not to use them too much because I also get a stomachache. I have a weakness for chewing sugar-free gum when I am bored at work, but I have to limit myself to just a piece or two per day, or I notice the effects almost immediately!

    I’ve never tried Stevia or NuNaturals, but it would definitely be something I would try, maybe in a Katie-inspired recipe!! Thanks for the honest review!

  44. Emma says:

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating sugar in moderation, especially if you choose raw, unrefined sugar. It is plant based, after all! But I stay as far away from artificial sweetners as possible. They’re just chemicals, and toxic ones at that. If you google ‘aspartame’ it brings up some seriously scary stuff! I used to drink a lot of diet coke then stopped then but a few months later I had a can. It made me feel terrible, it gave me some almost flu-like symptoms for about 12 hours after. So now I make sure to keep well clear! I would be interested to try stevia though but I’m not sure if it’s in the uk yet.

  45. Danielle says:

    I used to be obsessedddd with artificial sweetners. Particularly, Splenda. I think that loading up on chemicals is WORSE for you than loading up on refined sugar. I mean, both aren’t good…but I’d rather not mess around with my body’s natural chemistry 😕

    I used your idea for carrot cake cereal & had it for bFast!

  46. I love stevia! I have a huge sweet tooth, so its hard to say that I dont use any refined sugars what so ever (baking!), but I definitely use stevia in my oatmeal and coffee – its basically replaced everything that I used splenda in =)

  47. I am a big advocate of no sugar. It can cause a great deal more than just weight gain…sugar consumption leads to fluid retention and inflammation which can lead to higher levels of bad cholesterol (raises triglyceride levels in the blood) , cancer cells feed on sugar, sugar compromises your immune system, and it can deplete your nutrients. There is not one good think that comes from eating sugar. Again, not a fan.

    As far as artificial sweeteners go, again not good for us. They are made with chemicals are body does not recognize, but unfortunately, they are one of my weaknesses. I love sugar free syrup in my coffee. :(

    I’m a big stevia fan, but sill weary sometimes. I think I would probably be better off just not sweetening anything at all as I think the more stevia I use, the more sweets I want. I will say that out of all the brands I’ve tried, NuNaturals is the best tasting.

  48. Michal says:

    Yay on getting the free samples! I cant wait for your reviews. I use stevia and I love it. Its the only sweetner I really use. :)

  49. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce says:

    stevia is the artificial sweetener i feel most comfortable about, because it’s basically just a leaf, it wasn’t concocted in some crazy lab experiment, and it’s been used for yearssss in some cultures. those nunaturals sound awesome, iw ish i could try them but i never see them in stores! happy natl carrot cake day, yum!

  50. Monica says:

    I’ve been attempting to cut out all refined sugar from my diet, and I’ve noticed that I’m having less headaches and stomachaches–like you, I’m not sure if they’re related but it seems to me that they are! Also, the less often I use sugar, the less I seem to crave sweet stuff. Go figure.

    BUT I do use quite a bit of stevia to sweeten my coffee in the mornings, so maybe I lied about craving sweets…

    Also, I never ever do artificial sweeteners like aspartame, nutra-sweet, splenda, etc. Several family members have severe allergic reactions to those substitutes so they were always banned in my house and now I find them pretty nasty.

    AND I see that a couple people have used the actual stevia plant to sweeten things. I’m curious to see how they work!

    Sweet post! (hilarious.)

  51. We took a food science test today and one of the units covered was artificial sweeteners (and stevia, but that’s not artificial). I was so surprised to hear that most of my fellow nutrition majors approved of artificial sweeteners… I, on the other hand, am violently opposed. The taste… The chemicals… The questions and uncertainty about safety… Plus, I am convinced that there’s some sort of nasty and addictive compounds in artificial sweeteners that scientists don’t know about yet. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I do enjoy the taste of stevia and use it in small amounts, just like you. I have never liked soda or felt the need to try diet soda either…

    But there’s a study Purdue University is supposedly doing right now investigating the trick these sweeteners do on your brain…from what I gathered from hearsay, your brain and body get confused because the body is processing a low-calorie food, but your brain thinks it is getting a high-calorie food. The resulting mismatch between signals causes funky things…my speculation is that the appetite seeks more food.

    But this is all to say that I would prefer to adjust my palate to crave unsweetened versions of things. But a slice of vegan cheesecake here and there is a-okay with me!

  52. Hannah says:

    What I find amusing about my own experience is that I’ve never, ever in my life considered using artificial sweeteners (bar the VERY occasional Pepsi Max) until I visited America. Then, suddenly, it was everywhere, and my friends were all using it, and now I’ve become quite a fan of stevia.

    And partly for the same reason as you – I’m not trying to cut calories, but I do eat an awful lot of sugar in other things (e.g. vast quantities of chocolate) so I don’t mind using stevia in a few things here and there.

    But golly gee, I wish a company would send me samples of yummy things!!

  53. Christina says:

    I have yet to find an artificial sweetener that doesn’t bother my stomach. I just stick to normal sugar or substitutes like honey or agave.

  54. Veggiesmack says:

    I try to avoid most refined sugars. I stick to fruit, agave, and some xylitol (a sugar alcohol). I used to drink diet sodas, but I’ve cut them out this year. I like stevia in drinks, but not food, for some reason.

  55. ilanalala says:

    I have to try Stevia! I read about it all the time but I haveyet to seek it ot for use. I knew it was something worth looking into when my mother of all people turned to me and asked me if I knew anything about it.

  56. I like Stevia. I used to be a HUGE artificial sweetener junky, but I’ve tried to cut it out as much as possible. I’ve also tried to cut out most of the refined sugars, but it is in almost EVERYTHING! Craziness! I do use honey, maple syrup, and Truvia (which is stevia cut with something else, not really sure if it is clean or not, but it’s more granular then a powder).

    Not for anything, but I read an article that compared honey to HFCS. Not sure why! That just seems silly to me 😉

  57. Jillian says:

    As an avid baker, sugar is very important to me. I used to eat a lot of it but have been cutting back. And I’ve discovered that one can fairly easily adjust to doing so, if you really want to. I was formerly of the opinion that I needed sugar in my tea– but after trying it without I soon adjusted and don’t miss it. I try to bake less sugary recipes now, or if I have the urge to bake something high in sugar I just give most of it away. :) Or if I want something sweet I make a smoothie and rely on fruit for the sweetness. I have never used artificial sweeteners– I am trying to eat naturally. So I am also avoiding many processed foods and the fairly recent crop of alternative sweeteners– HFCS and the like. I think it is important to remember that sugar is just refined– it is naturally occuring and just purified out of the sugar beet or cane. But many other sweeteners are modified in some way.

    My grandmother grew stevia and I tasted the actual plant once, but I haven’t used any stevia products yet. I am interested in investigating it– so I am looking forward to reading your next posts.

  58. Sarah A says:

    Do you know what levels of cinnamon are damaging to the liver? My doctor recommended it a few years back to help with my bad joints and arthritis (at 23, most of my joints snap, crackle and pop like a rice krispie commercial; c’est la vie). I’d asked if he knew a safe supplement I could take, and I’ve been putting about a teaspoon in my oatmeal almost on a daily basis ever since.

  59. Ricki says:

    I haven’t used artificial sweeteners in over a decade–“foods” made in a lab scare me! I’ve used stevia as my only sweetener in cooking and baking for over a year, and I love it.

    That said, there are different types of stevia products. Here in Canada, all we get is the “pure” stevia, and it’s sold as an herbal supplement. That type is, in my opinion, perfectly safe; it’s when companies start extracting only PART of the sweet compounds in the plant that I get worried. I wrote a post about stevia and the different types, if you’re interested! :)

  60. elizabeth says:

    i’m a stevia girl, all the way. i have it with everything. I think it’s much bette than my previous addiction to splenda. once i found out they discovered splenda when trying to find a new form of ddt and a miscommunication turned “test it” into “taste it” Voila-sweetness!
    i have been trying ween myself off of sugary substances in general though. studies have been recently published that suggest that these non-nutritive sweeteners (stevia included. anything that is sweet but has no calories) make your body crave more sugar/calories. without that little fiber package or actually calories in a piece of fruit for example, your body isn’t tricked into thinking it has the real thing.
    the nature of sugar, and our love of it is a very interesting scientific topic.
    I’m so glad you’re doing this series Katie!

  61. catms916 says:

    Love love love NuNaturals stevia products! The only stevia products with no funny aftertaste I’ve ever tried. Yay for free samples.

  62. I use a little bit of artificial sweetener in my coffee everyday, and use sugar when needed. I think that both are fine in moderation. I’ve had Stevia once or twice and it didn’t like me – or my body didn’t like it, so I stick with sugar, maple syrup, honey, and artificial sweetener.

  63. Emily says:

    Okay, urm. A bit stumped! I was going to write my two cents worth, then I read Elizabeth’s comment. Rest assured Elizabeth, that Splenda WAS NOT discovered whilst they were searching for a new form of DDT. My Dad was one of the lab group who discovered the synthesis of Splenda/sucralose- you can check, it was a collaborative effort initially between Tate and Lyle of Reading and University College London, both in the U.K. I’ve talked to my Dad a number of times about sucralose, and its development, being interested in the debates swirling around the world… he said that the safety testing for sucralose was incredibly rigourous, check after check, study after study, and if there had been a hint of any safety concerns the U.K version of the FDA would have halted it in its tracks- you can see how strict they are by the fact that they are still banning stevia here due to a few studies showing questionable results! I’ve read about the new studies linking a possible mismatch between the brain and bodily responses to artificial sweeteners, its going to be interesting to see what subsequent studies come up with!
    I can understand the whole chemicals thing, but not all ‘chemicals’ are bad (we’re all made up of them!) Most of us wouldn’t be here without antibiotics. Besides, if alcohol came to the market now, it would be an illegal drug ;( So far there is a tonne more evidence on salt being harmful to us than artificial sweeteners. Mind you, after having lecturers from a Prof on the advisory committee for setting U.K. vitamin RDAs about the obesity/diabetes epidemic I try to steer clear of too much fructose. Although fructose is good for diabetics as it doesn’t cause insulin spikes, for the rest of us, it increases our risk of central (tummy) obesity, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes etc. (I could go into details but this is Katie’s blog, sorry Katie!) That means agave too- I don’t understand why the same ppl who avoid HFCS use agave instead- near 100% fructose. I say listen to our bodies, and use our minds to check things out, moderation is the key… and have fun making all that Katie has to offer 😉 (P.S. KAtie- I’m so sorry about the size of this comment, please feel free to edit it, or not post it up!)

  64. I like to use stevia where I can, but is it just me or does it have a slightly chlorine-like taste? The one I buy is pure and completely natural, but I still find it has a funny aftertaste that over-powers the flavour of whatever it is I’m making!

  65. Ann says:

    A bit late to this conversation, but you actually can call sugar negative nutrition because it throws off the body’s mineral balance.

  66. trajayjay says:

    I don’t think that a sugar-splurge on Christmas, or a birthday is going to do any real damage. But I try to avoid sugar because i heard that it spikes blood sugar, and if not burned of right away, converts to fat. And yes, it is maligned because it’s nutritionally devoid, empty calories. I’m honestly against things that’s nutrientless.

    1. Trajayjay says:

      Also, refined sugar is high glycemic, which makes you feel hungry about 2 hours later. So, if you’re trying to lose or, maintain, it’s really something to avoid.

  67. Savannah R says:

    For those of us who accidentally bought licorice-y stevia, can’t bear to throw it away, and don’t enjoy licorice-y flavours in our non-licorice-type sweetened foods, what vegan recipes/foods would you suggest making to use it up? I’m trying in particular to find baked goods recipes that can mask or work with the licorice flavour.

    Greatly looking forward to finishing these up so I can try out NuNatural’s reportedly better product!
    Many thanks.