Pros: Healthful benefits; 100% natural; good for those on diabetic and low carb diets;
Have you heard or seen anything about Stevia or Inulin. I first heard about this was about 8 months ago while visiting some health conscious relatives on vacation. They gave us some Stevia packets to try and take home with us and we've been buying them ever since.
This review is on Stevia Plus With Inulin Fiber, 100 Packets by The Vitamin Shoppe. Before reviewing the product I will give you some basic information on just what this Stevia and Inulin is so you can have a better idea of what this product is about.
First off, what is Stevia? It is a perennial herb, in the sunflower family, native to Amambay Mountains of Paraguay, and was used by the Guarani Indians for centuries - way back to ancient times. The herb is extremely sweet and they used the leaves to sweeten the taste of bitter "tea" and medicines. They also chewed on the leaves for their sweet tasting flavor. The Guarani Indians called Stevia "kaa he-he" which translated into "sweet herb." It is also known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, or sugarleaf.
Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose or blood sugar levels. It is known to even enhance glucose tolerance making it very attractive as a natural sweetener for those on diabetic or carbohydrate controlled diets.
An interesting fact about Stevia is that this little plant has also been at the fore-front of intrigue and excitement in the United States in recent years primarily due to actions by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Stevia has been treated by the FDA as if it were an illegal drug with searches, product seizures, and embargoes on importing the plant or product into this country.
What???!!! Yes, Stevia can only be sold legally in the U.S. as a "dietary supplement." That is how all the containers and forms of Stevia you buy are listed - "Dietary Supplement." It cannot be called a "sweetener" or even referred to as "sweet," or according to the FDA it will again be prone to seizure as an "illegal drug."
Inulin is a naturally derived food fiber and carbohydrate. Inulin acts as a soluble fiber that provides the type of bulk that aids your body in the absorption of calcium and magnesium in the small intestine. In the large intestine it is broken down by beneficial bacteria. These beneficial products are believed to help in the prevention of colorectal cancer.
Inulin feeds the good bacteria (lactobacillus and bifidobacteria) in our intestines and helps promote gastrointestinal health. In addition, normal digestion does not break inulin down into simpler sugars, so Inulin does not elevate blood sugar levels and may be helpful in the management of diabetes and blood glucose levels.
Inulin has been a part of our diet for thousands of years, occurring naturally in over 36,000 plants (like chicory, bananas, wheat, onions, garlic). With the processing of foods in today's world we often lose the benefit that this carbohydrate would give us.
There is a lot of research and information you can find on the internet if this basic introduction to what Stevia and Inulin Fiber is about has spurred your interest in finding out more. Or you can discuss it on your next visit to the health food store.
Stevia Plus with Inulin Fiber by The Vitamin Shoppe sells this product in several forms, but I purchased the 3.5 ounce, 100 Packet box. I like the packet form as it is easy to use, you can toss a couple packets easily in your purse or wallet, and you do not have to worry about the freshness - you open and use just the portion you need.
Stevia Plus with Inulin Fiber gives a serving size as 1/2 of a packet, but I typically would use 1 packet on my bowl of oatmeal, and 1 packet on 3 pancakes (instead of syrup). My mom on the other hand will use 1/2 a packet on her cereal, so you should use to your own personal taste.
This product has ZERO Calories, ZERO Carbohydrates
You receive 500 mg of Inulin Fiber per serving (there is no established daily value recommended for this).
Stevia Plus with Inulin Fiber does NOT contain: refined sugar, maltodextrin, fructose or artificial sweeteners, yeast, corn, wheat, salt, soy, dairy, citrus, fish, animal derivatives, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. What the heck DOES it contain then??? All that is in Stevia Plus with Inulin Fiber is 100% natural Fiber (Inulin Fiber Fructooligosaccharides from chicory, fruits and vegetables) and Stevia Leaf Extract. That's it.
Each packet is marked to equal the sweetness of 2 teaspoons of sugar. Believe it - it is that sweet. It has been documented that Stevia extracts have up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar! And at ZERO Calories! Yippee!!!
The packets while foil lined have a heavy semi-glossy paper exterior. You do need to protect them from dampness as over time the packet could absorb water, possibly ruining the contents. I just keep mine in the box they come in and take out what I need. I keep a couple in my purse in a small zippered section. The packets are fairly sturdy, but they are also easy to rip open and use.
If I had not been introduced to Stevia Plus by my relatives I would probably have never discovered it's benefits and uses. The labeling of "Dietary Supplement" as opposed to having "natural sweetener" on the product does not help pass the word along that this is indeed a "sweetener," with lots of health benefits. No where on the box does the word "sweetener," "sweetens," etc appear. "Dietary Supplement" appears several times though.
Stevia Plus with Inulin Fiber is manufactured for The Vitamin Shoppe by SweetLeaf Company a division of Wisdom Natural Brands out of Gilbert, Arizona. A box of 100 packets runs about $8.99. To order or to get a free catalog you can call 1-800-223-1216; You can also order on-line at www.VitaminShoppe.com
If you are looking for a good healthy sweetener that gives you multiple benefits besides flavor, check out Stevia Plus with Inulin Fiber. You'll never go back to all those artificial sweeteners, and with zero calories you won't bother with calorie loaded real sugar either!
Thanks for reading! Judy