# Thursday, June 24, 2004

While I can't stand sweet coffee, I must admit to a craving for sweetened tea that I picked up while in Ireland a few years back.  There are some food stories there that I'll have to post some time.  Anyway, I love the occasional sweetened tea, but I'm pretty much totally off of sucrose.  The idea of adding aspartame to a hot beverage fills me with dread (it's not good for you) so I mostly just don't drink sweetened tea anymore.

Recently I decided to try stevia, which comes from a plant, is much sweeter than sugar, and comes from a natural source.  It also has 0 calories and supposedly 0 effect on blood sugar.  I got some packets of stevia mixed with FOS (a soluble fiber that's supposed to promote the growth of healthy GI bacteria) for bulk.  It's quite lovely in tea.  No after taste that I can detect, it's quite sweet.  I use a really big teacup, so a whole packet is OK, but in a regular sized cup it would be too sweet for me.  I haven't tried it in any cold drinks yet, but will soon.  I want to see if I can make it work for sekanjabin, which is one of my favorite summer beverages.

The only thing about it that inspires caution is that it hasn't been approved as a sweetener by the FDA, but I would tend to agree with some web sources that the lack of approval probably has a lot to do with the fact that stevia is a plant that isn't patentable and therefore doesn't benefit big chemical companies (the ones with all the lobbyists) who make stuff like aspartame and sucralose.  There are some references to studies on stevia.net that suggest that it's pretty safe, but of course many such studies can be made to reach whatever conclusion you want.  The fact that the FDA hasn't approved it as a sweetener (although they OK'ed it as a "dietary supplement") won't keep me up nights.

Thursday, June 24, 2004 11:01:45 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]
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