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A Buyer's Guide to Sugar Substitutes

What you need to know about Splenda, aspartame, stevia and other sugar substitutes.

Stevia (Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf, OnlySweet) continued...

Sweetness Factor: 200 to 300 times as sweet as sugar

Take Note: Until December 2008, stevia and its derivatives could be sold in the U.S. only as a dietary supplement. But in 2008, the FDA affirmed a highly purified form of the stevia plant, called Rebaudioside A (a.k.a. Rebiana or Reb A), as a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) ingredient. This form of stevia (Reb A) is sold under different brand names, such as Truvia and PureVia. The FDA did not, however, change the previous ruling on whole-leaf stevia or other stevia extracts.

Our Taste Test: At the time of our tasting, none of the FDA-affirmed stevia-derived sweeteners (e.g., Truvia, PureVia) were on the market, so all our tasting was done with stevia sold as dietary supplements. The overall sweetness of stevia rated well in hot and cold tea, but most tasters detected an unpleasant aftertaste that was described by one taster as "corroded tin can." The sweetness, texture and appearance of the cookies sweetened with stevia were "unacceptable."

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