Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stevia Coke

Stevia Coke 
Zero calories, sugar-free, no carb soda with bubbles, caffeine and SWEET. Sounds perfect right? Stevia Coke - What is it? Where can I get it?

Have you heard about the eagerly anticipated Stevia Coke? A sugar-free coke that doesn’t have the usual bad-for-you sweeteners aspartame or splenda.--sounds good to me. However, a second look at the “natural” sweetener that is added to this new sugar free coke or diet coke is in order.

Diet sodas are a huge part of the American diet. Diet coke and diet Pepsi are hugely popular and are most dieter's best friend. For zero calories you can have a little time with the bubbles, the caffeine, the taste of sugar but without the calories or side effects - or can you? Currently, the most popular diets are low carb diets and the offer of a diet soda that is sweet but a carb free drink is irresistible to slimmers.

First, let’s just be clear that aspartame (nutrasweet) and splenda are terrible for you. Both have cumulative long-term effects such as cancers, blindness, fatigue and more. Some people get headaches, feel dizzy or foggy when they have these artificial sweetners but some people see no effects at all. Just because you don’t notice or see the effects doesn’t mean that you won’t see the cumulative effects many years from now. So, in our quest to stay away from these toxic artificial sweeteners, people want something natural to sweeten their drinks. There are now diet sodas made with agave nectar, another natural sweetener with a low glycemic index but agave nectar does have carbs and does have calories. What are the alternatives to Diet coke or other bad for you diet sodas. The obvious sweetener choice is Stevia.

Stevia is a natural plant grown primarily in South America. With an intense sweetness concentration, as much as 200x sweeter than sugar – this plant seems like the miracle sweetener. For some reason, the FDA never wanted to approve stevia as an approved food or sweetener. Because of this, stevia has been somewhat of an underground favorite and is sold as a supplement currently.

You can buy stevia online, you can buy flavored stevia. I have seen orange stevia liquid drops, chocolate mint stevia drops, chocolate stevia, cherry stevia and more. Stevia is becoming more and more available. You can find stevia at your local health food store, some grocery stores do carry stevia now but you may have to ask which section it is in. Whole Foods carries a lot of stevia options that you can use for sodas, to sweeten tea and coffee and even for baking.

So, is stevia now being used to sweeten coke? Well, not exactly – instead of stevia – mega food producer Cargill wanted to be able to patent their sweetener so they re-engineered the natural plant stevia and mixed it with other ingredients so that they could patent their special formula and sell it to us as a “natural sweetener”. Is it better than aspartame or splenda? As far as we can tell at this point, DEFINITELY – but is it as good as stevia, the natural herb? No. Their brand of stevia is called Truvia. Truvia is not pure, natural stevia but it does have stevia in it.
Stevia coke will use this Truvia as its sweetener. Pepsi is going to offer a similar diet soda with their own artificial stevia based sweetener. They are starting with SoBe zero calorie vitamin water in fun flavors. Truvia has zero calories so diet coke, coke zero or whatever they are calling the stevia coke will be calorie and carb free. Pepsi’s version of artificial stevia is called Purevia – similar to Cargill’s Truvia, it is a modified, patented artificial product that uses stevia but is not the all natural plant stevia as you are lead to believe. You can do better. Rather than buying into these corporate giant's fake stevia products and enforce Cargill's plan to keep you addicted to diet coke, consider some other options for diet sodas.

Consider Virgil’s Diet Soda Virgil's Cream Soda - 24 per pack (Pack of 2) I buy mine at Whole Foods or my local natural foods store depending on where it's on sale. You can also purchase it online directly from the Virgil's website or Zevia Natural Diet Soda Zevia Natural Diet Soda, Black Cherry, 12-Ounce Cans (Pack of 24)  Virgil's Diet Cola has a wonderful flavor and is usually available Zevia natural diet soda in black cherry is outstanding. The Zevia stevia sweetened orange soda is excellent too.

Virgil's natural Diet Black Cherry Soda is a revelation. It is creamy, rich, sweet, and does not taste artificial. It is one of the best stevia sodas, make that THE best diet sodas I've tried to date. They Diet Black Cherry Cream soda is so sweet and perfectly carbonated - it's like a dessert. It's hard to believe it doesn't have pure cane sugar in it.

Virgil's diet sodas are also available in a diet vanilla creme soda and Virgils diet root beer and diet cola.
They aren't cheap online as far as I can tell so I'd recommend trying your local organic or health food stores to see if they carry Virgil's diet sodas. You can order Virgil's natural diet sodas through the Virgils website as well. These will definitely make your low carb diet feel so much easier. You can indulge and feel like you are getting a treat without poisoning yourself with artificial sweeteners and the taste is to die for. The price is definitely more palatable if you buy the Virgil's diet soda online in bulk than in small quantity. This will also offer you free shipping so the price per soda is not too outrageous. Because they make such a good diet substitute for dessert and satisfy my sweet cravings, I find the Virgil's diet sodas to be worth every penny.

Zevia Natural Diet sodas are easier to find at your local stores. They have several great flavors - for those who love Dr. Pepper but don't like the poison of Diet Dr. Pepper and the calories of regular, Dr. Zevia Soda is a must-try. It has a similar great flavor to dr Pepper but without the bad stuff. Zevia Ginger Ale and Zevia Lemon Lime are good if you are a ginger ale or sprite fan. Stay away from Diet Sprite, Sprite Zero, and Diet 7-Up - they have aspartame and should be avoided.

You can get Zevia Natural Diet Cola, Zevia Orange, and even a Natural Zevia Diet Root Beer. Don't create health problems for yourself with excessive aspartame intake which leads to dire side effects for many people in the long term. Google Glenn Beck and Diet Soda as many believe his current health problems are related to his consumption of Diet Coke.

On a side note, with all of the discussion lately in the news about caramel color and its cancer causing effects, I was concerned by the fact that I saw that Dr. Zevia and Zevia Cola had caramel color in them. So, I emailed the company. I got a quick and thorough reply from Zevia that I appreciated. It basically stated that the amount of caramel color in their soda is SO minimal and that you would have to drink a HUGE (impossible) amount each day to come up to the FDA limit of intake for each day. If anyone wants further info from the response from Zevia from the email that they sent me, feel free to leave a comment about it and I'll provide all of the information. They did ease my concerns and I feel great about drinking Zevia. I enjoy it every day and am so glad to have a natural and healthy sugar free soda option.

In other great Zevia related news, Zevia has added to their flavor line. In addition to the Zevia Diet orange soda, Diet Cola, Diet Root Beer, Diet Lemon Lime, Diet Dr. Zevia, Diet Ginger Ale and Diet Black Cherry -- Zevia now has Diet Grape Zevia Soda, a Diet Mountain Dew flavor drink, and a few other fun flavors. I've tried the Grape - so delicious - sweet and fizzy just like you want from a grape soda but without an icky artificial aftertaste that you find with most grape soda. Try it!

There are plenty of delicious and healthy sweet options out there to satisfy your soda and sweet cravings. Try Virgil's Diet Sodas, Zevia Diet Sodas and let us know if you have found any great stevia sweetened sodas that we should know about. Have you tried Stevia Coke? What are your favorite natural diet soda alternatives like Zevia or Diet Virgil's soda or stevia coke? 


erin said...

I've heard of Zevia, but haven't tried it...haven't even heard of the other one. Sometimes I like put a few drops of my SweetLeaf root beer liquid stevia in sprakling water...

AchieveExcellence said...

Thanks Erin! - like the idea of the sweetleaf root beer liquid stevia in sparkling water. I tried the vanilla stevia in a mint sparkling water and it was pretty good too.