Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stevia? I'm really trying to make it work for me.

I don't like artificial sweeteners, too much of a nasty chemical aftertaste. And I have to limit sugars to keep my blood glucose in a healthy range. Most of the time, I just have a modest serving of something sweetened with a "real" sweetener like cane sugar, honey, or maple syrup; and just plan the rest of my day's meals around it to compensate for the sugar spike. But sometimes I just want something sweet and don't want to fool around with planning meals and counting carbs.

I'd tried stevia years ago when it was strictly a health food store product and it was okay. But all you could get were little pellets, packets, or liquid with an eyedropper. Fine for iced tea, but pretty much that was all I found it good for. Lately, I've been seeing more and more products on store shelves with stevia in them, and decided to give them a try.  My husband drinks a natural energy drink sometimes that is sweetened with stevia, and it tastes pretty good. I also tried a naturally flavored water with a little bit of stevia in it and it was okay too. I had seen the Zevia sodas in the store, but at $7.99 a 6-pack that was a bit steep to give them a try, and I had never seen them sold by single cans. I had gotten a coupon for $3 off a 6-pack, and found them last night at Kroger on sale, so it turned out to be $4.79 for a 6-pack. Expensive for soda, but not so much that I wasn't willing to give it a try. They had Black Cherry, Ginger Root Beer, and Dr. Zevia (presumably a Dr. Pepper type flavor). I picked the root beer because I've just been having a taste for that lately and gave it a try when I got home.

First of all, it's a really complex root beer flavor. Very comparable to microbrewed "boutique" root beers. Being sweetened with stevia, it's much sweeter than something sweetened with cane sugar. The sweetness hit me like a brick at first, but didn't leave much of a lingering aftertaste. The more I drank, the less unpleasant the extreme sweetness became. Would I choose it over a cane sugar sweetened soda given an equal choice? No, but to be able to enjoy something sweet without having to worry about carbs and blood glucose, it was plenty good enough!  I'll finish off this six pack and see how well it grows on me before I try another flavor. The next one I'm interested in trying will be the Dr. Zevia flavor because I LOVE Dr. Pepper. I know it won't be the same, but for what it is, it might be as good of a substitute as the root beer was.

Zevia - Stevia sweetened root beer!

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