Stevia, Equal or Sugar?

Real sugar or artificially sweetened–what’s better?

With hot summer weather now here, many of us are reaching for cool refreshing drinks, and this raises a common controversy about choosing sweetened drinks, such as Coke, Pepsi and lemonade, or artificially sweetened beverages such as Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi.

Many of us probably remember the research findings that made headlines years ago that saccharine caused cancer in mice (so it probably does in people too), so many were delighted when newer and supposedly better sweeteners such as Equal (aspartame) and Stevia (a plant derived sweetener) came onto the market.

It’s quite well known that real Coke is loaded with sugar–39 grams (9 and 1/3 teaspoons) in a 12 oz can to be exact. And when Coke Zero did not fulfill Coca-Cola’s expectations for gaining market shares, it quickly changed the formula and the name to Coke Zero Sugar (both contain aspartame, the same sweetener that’s in Diet Coke).

So now the million $ question: are artificial sweeteners bad for us? Numerous research studies on thousands of people have found that they are. And an equal number of studies have shown that drinking artificially sweetened beverages does NOT help with weight loss, and in fact, it contributes to sugar cravings. Stevia seems that it should be harmless, since it comes from a plant, but it has not yet been approved by the FDA as a food additive. Many consumers are confused by this, as products such as Truvia (which claims to contain Stevia) actually contain Rebaudioside A, an isolated chemical that comes from the Stevia plant.

So, what should we be drinking? Plain filtered water with a squeeze of real lemon, sparkling water (without sweeteners) or unsweetened herbal teas are by far the best!

To learn more about this topic and other important ways to reverse chronic disease, lose weight, and improve your health, enlist the help of a Board Certified Holistic Nurse Practitioner, Karen Radtke.

Your initial 20-minute phone consult is always free. Schedule now at or by calling 815-985-7283.

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