This article is not to be misunderstood. We at Natural Protein Powder completely endorse and encourage the use of Organic Stevia. Stevia Leaf in its natural form has a plethora of health benefits which actively place it in the category of the world’s most useful plant food products.
In this article, I expose the three most common fillers and flavour enhancers used in the making of processed stevia.
When people who use stevia get asked what they like about stevia, they instantly start comparing it to sugar which is great, because people are health conscious and aware. To call me a huge stevia advocate would still probably be a huge understatement. In this day and age, if you know the statistics, it really isn’t a fair comparison at all anymore. However, when people compare Stevia on the same paradigm as sugar, people tend to look at the benefits and soon forget to ask questions about the stevia itself. While we’re so concerned that our stevia is a lot better than our sugar, stevia itself also has it’s own issues to deal with as retailers of stevia have strayed from selling it in its organic form.
What to watch out for when using processed stevia.
The Fillers and Flavour Enhancers
Stevia is categorized into three forms, stevia leaf, stevia powder and liquid stevia. It goes without saying, that all forms of stevia are most definitely not created equal. Obviously, a key element of a sweetener which needs to be done right is the taste. It’s not uncommon that a company will try and alter the natural taste of a natural product in an attempt to make it more appealing to consumers. Here are just a few of the known fillers and flavour enhancers known to be put into processed stevia.
What do we know about maltodextrin? Well you can start off with the ‘S’ word. No, not Stevia, Sugar. Maltodextrin is a group of complex sugars. It is digested very rapidly by the body, specifically as rapidly as glucose. Maltodextrin is produced from any starch, which is commonly either corn, or wheat depending on the region.
Whilst Maltodextrin is derived from plants, it is highly processed. Maltodextrin is used as a thickener and filler due to its low cost to produce. It is also higher on the glycemic index than glucose.
Xylitol is another one on the list of fillers that has its long list of questionable processes. Almost all of Xylitol comes from GMO corn. For anyone who is familiar with the ingredient, you would probably have been told Xylitol is derived from the xylan of birch trees, but what isn’t as known to many is that xylan is also found in corn cobs. As you could already guess, corn is the easier of the two options for manufacturers to get a hold of. Beware, if the label doesn’t mention where the xylan is from, it’s a safe bet that xylitol is from corn, and it’s an even safer bet that corn is genetically modified.
More often, glycerine is found in the liquid extracts of stevia. Glycerine is a solvent, sweetener, humectant which also can aid in helping preserving food. Glycerine has been used as a product in cosmetic care and is low G.I sweetener. Typically, Glycerine isn’t harmful, but what is scary to note is the amount of fillers and sweeteners in stevia, which should work singularly as its own sweetener.
Here’s my final thought on the matter. It’s certainly not uncommon for brands to advertise a product which is not exactly what your paying for. And it certainly isn’t uncommon that brands will abuse a product which is meant to be purchased and used to be a better substitute for your health. Our learning and understanding continuously has lead us to the realisation that whole foods and/or whole products are the solution to a healthier lifestyle. If you came with the intention of buying stevia, because you’ve heard of its variety of health benefits, I suggest you purchase the stevia product which is the closest to its raw form, which is the organic range. There’s always going to be that wall of miscommunication which companies want when you’re looking at what is advertised to you. In closing, make sure when you look for the stevia which is right for you, you make an educated choice.
At Natural Protein Powder, we only use organic stevia in all of our products. We always try to keep our protein and its ingredients as bare as possible.