New products on the market coming out all the time. The beverage industry is becoming more sophisticated all the time, they need to be, it is an industry worth billions and billions. And this comes to us from the industry magazine, Food Business News. "... formulators are working with a variety of sweeteners in an effort to better pair flavor with perceived health attributes." PERCEIVED is the key word here, not that there is any health attributes to 10 calorie soda at all, but with the pictures of fruit on the can, the fancy ads, the hype, the insistence that the chemically produced "NATURAL" high potency sweeteners are good for you, then you may perceive that the can of 10 calorie 7up is healthy. Especially when at the local convenience market the price of bottled water is 50% more than soda. It's Healthy!
If you have read my blog before, you know I love stevia. (Stevia) It is a miracle, a sweet plant that has no known harmful properties. It is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar. Sometimes, it does have a sort of licorice or anise type aftertaste. To me, I don't mind it, it is way better than sucking down sugar all day. The thing is though the great and all powerful FDA for decades would not allow the use of stevia to be an ingredient in food or beverages. It was not approved. It was cheap, sweet and easy to use. The sugar guys were scared, so were the aspartame makers. So it was outlawed. Potassium Bromate and 700 other CLASS II CARCINOGENS were approved for use in our food, but stevia was not allowed. Well, that is up until big business decided that they could play god and make stevia better. By the addition of chemical solvents and harsh alkaloids, Coke made stevia "BETTER". And so the FDA approved it. (Stevia) Again, look at that bit of info. The thing is, if you look at the GRAS list from the FDA, there are about 28 different stevia compounds on it that are approved for use in food and beverages. But the FDA still does not allow plain old common unadulterated stevia, it's not on the GRAS. Gee, haven't I talked about how business makes the decisions for our government entities based on business needs and not consumer needs? Yeah, I think I have.
Many companies making stevia extracts use a host of solvents to extract the main sweetening constituent of stevia, rebaudioside A (Reb A). Everyone's favorite beverage bandidos Coca cola in fact has over 35 patents on the process. (Coke) Take 5 hours like I did and read through the patents, it is scary. They use a lot of toxic chemicals to make their stevia "better". (small list of processors) Wisdom Naturals, from right here in Arizona, uses water to extract the Reb A. It seems a lot better process, more costly to be sure, but proof that there are people out there that try to do the right thing. (Wisdom Naturals) To go to their site, I'm not an affiliate of anything, I don't make money if you click on the link, but I highly recommend that if you want stevia extract then go with a company that has integrity, and not the crap in the grocery store like Truvia, which is packed with very little chemically processed stevia and instead has mostly erythritol.
Let's go back to the mega giant coke. According to News, the biggest beverage bandido in the world introduced over 500 new products in 2012. Five Hundred NEW Products. Water, and sugar, and now chemically treated stevia are pretty much the basis for their empire. Well, the truth is, marketing is the backbone of the empire.
My friends at the cigar store like to make fun of me all the time because I bring in a mason jar with my mint tea in it. Filtered water, mint, real plain old stevia leaves. And a glass jar that has no BPA or BPB or any other toxic stuff in it. It won't find its way into the environment and litter the roadsides, or wash out to sea and become part of the floating pile of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean that is larger than the state of Texas. I wash it, refill it, head over to the cigar store, smoke my cigar, (thanks Mark and Grady for the very nice cigars you have given me) and feel good. I wish the whole world did the same.