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If you're trying to limit your calorie intake, but you're having a hard time taming your sweet tooth you may try different types of sugar substitutes. Truvia is a brand name that uses a blend of sweeteners, including the natural sweetener rebiana, which is a derivative of stevia 2. While Truvia and stevia are considered natural sweeteners, there's a possibility they could have side effects such as allergic reaction and upset stomach 2. Plus, some people have a hard time with the aftertaste.
Although not a common food allergen, there have been reports of allergic reactions to stevia. Food allergy symptoms may vary 3. Contact your doctor if you develop hives, an itchy rash, mouth or throat, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or difficulty breathing after using Truvia or stevia 2. A 2007 case report published in Allergy noted infants with a history of eczema experienced anaphylactic shock after being fed a tea made with stevia 4.
Glycerine Vs. Glycol
Although marketed as a natural sweetener, Truvia contains a sugar alcohol called erythritol 2. This sugar alcohol is usually added to low-calorie sweeteners to act as a bulking agent. Sugar alcohols are considered low-calorie sugar substitutes because they are not fully absorbed. In the colon, however, these sugars are fermented by bacteria and may cause gas and bloating. Additionally, when consumed in excessive amounts, sugar alcohols may have a laxative effect, causing diarrhea.
- Although marketed as a natural sweetener, Truvia contains a sugar alcohol called erythritol 2.
- This sugar alcohol is usually added to low-calorie sweeteners to act as a bulking agent.
Rebiana is a natural sweetener that's 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, but some people may have a hard time making the switch to a stevia-derived sugar substitute because it has a bitter aftertaste. The addition of erythritol in Truvia actually helps mellow out some of the bitterness, which might make it more palatable, reports the Center for Science in the Public Interest 12. At the time of publication, chemists are working on ways to make the natural sweetener less bitter, but that may also make it less natural.
Xylitol Sweetener Side Effects
The Food and Drug Administration considers rebiana a GRAS ingredient, or generally recognized as safe. However, CSPI reports that stevia and its derivatives have not been fully tested for cancer risk, and some test-tube studies indicate that it may cause genetic mutations that may increase risk of cancer. While animal studies have been conducted, CSPI advises that more studies are needed to confirm risk and safety. Like any sweetener, low-cal or not, it's always best to limit your intake.
- The Food and Drug Administration considers rebiana a GRAS ingredient, or generally recognized as safe.
- However, CSPI reports that stevia and its derivatives have not been fully tested for cancer risk, and some test-tube studies indicate that it may cause genetic mutations that may increase risk of cancer.
Glycerine Vs. Glycol
Xylitol Sweetener Side Effects
Allergy to Cane Sugar, Not Refined Sugar
Side Effects of Using Agave Syrup
The Side Effects of Truvia
Does Agave Nectar Produce Acne or Rosacea?
Side Effects of Sodium Cyclamate
The Benefits of Drinking Bitter Gourd Tea
Meal-Replacement Shakes With No MSG & No Aspartame
The Side Effects of Pure Via Stevia
- Centers for Science in the Public Interest: Food Additives: Stevia
- Truvia: About Truvia
- Food Allergy Research and Education: Symptoms: Food Allergy
- Allergy: Anaphylaxis by Stevioside in Infants With Atopic Eczema
- International Food Information Council: Sugar Alcohols Fact Sheet
- Truvia: Truvia Packets
- Ashwell M. Stevia, Nature's Zero-Calorie Sustainable Sweetener: A New Player in the Fight Against Obesity. Nutr Today. 2015;50(3):129-134. doi:10.1097/NT.0000000000000094
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Agency Response Letter GRAS Notice No. GRN 000253. Published December 17, 2008.
- Tandel KR. Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2011;2(4):236-43. doi:10.4103/0976-500X.85936
- Anton SD, Martin CK, Han H, et al. Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels. Appetite. 2010;55(1):37-43. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2010.03.009
- Ulbricht C, Isaac R, Milkin T, et al. An evidence-based systematic review of stevia by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Cardiovasc Hematol Agents Med Chem. 2010;8(2):113-27. doi:10.2174/187152510791170960
- Lohner S, Toews I, Meerpohl JJ. Health outcomes of non-nutritive sweeteners: analysis of the research landscape. Nutr J. 2017;16(1):55. doi:10.1186/s12937-017-0278-x
- Mäkinen KK. Gastrointestinal Disturbances Associated with the Consumption of Sugar Alcohols with Special Consideration of Xylitol: Scientific Review and Instructions for Dentists and Other Health-Care Professionals. Int J Dent. 2016;2016:5967907. doi:10.1155/2016/5967907
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for use in Food in the United States. Updated February 08, 2018.
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.