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Is This New Sugar Substitute Really "Natural"?

synchrony chirocare office blog truvia 2One of my ongoing goals is to educate my patients to question topics regarding their own health and the choices they make. Here is a glaring example of how a person may be tricked into believing he or she is choosing the healthy option simply by trusting its source....in this case the Harrisburg Patriot News.

This is an article recently written in the Body/Mind section of the Patriot News regarding their ongoing series on sugar substitutes. (Link)

Upon reading this seemingly trustful advice, I noticed several misleading statements and even an outright untruthful statement. The new artificial sweetener on the market known as Truvia is NOT Stevia. However, the author of the Patriot News article falsely uses the name Truvia and Stevia together as if they are one and the same. They are clearly not. In response, here is the letter I wrote to the editor of the Patriot News:

The word "natural", by definition, means "existing in or formed by nature." The article in the Sunday July 29, 2012 Your Health section on Stevia Sweeteners is extremely misleading to consumers interested in maintaining a healthy, natural lifestyle. Stevia is a natural substance safely used for centuries as a sweetener. Natural substances cannot be patented. Rebaudioside A, on the other hand, is an isolated chemical derived from the Stevia plant using multiple steps and multiple chemicals such as acetone, methanol, and acetonitrile. Since Rebaudioside A is a man-made chemical, it can be, and has been patented. Multiple times throughout the article the words "stevia", "natural", and "rebaudioside A" are falsely used interchangeably. Since Stevia and Rebaudioside A are functionally two different compounds, they are metabolized differently in your body. What are the long term effects of consuming unnatural Rebaudioside A? Nobody knows. It was never consumed by a human prior to 5 years ago. I believe it is not only misleading, but grossly irresponsible to be using the words "natural" and "Rebaudioside A" together.

Dr. Michael Bennese, DC
Clinical Director, Synchrony ChiroCare and BStrong4Life of Enola

So where can you find the real, all natural sugar substitute known as Stevia? You can still find it at your local grocery store. It is not located in the Sweetener aisle. Real Stevia can be found in the area where nutritional supplements are sold. It can also be purchased at area Health Food stores.

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