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Stevia Giveaway

March 19, 2010 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Last Friday I was zigzagging between exhibitor booths at the Anaheim Convention Center. One of the most pleasant surprises I discovered was the omnipresence of stevia-based items and finished products sweetened with stevia. Even the coffee shops and concession stands throughout the convention center provided only honey, sugar and stevia as condiments. There was nary an artificial sugar substitute to be found at this gathering.

One of the first booths I stopped at was featuring a new product by the name of Sooo Sweet. A voice somewhere inside of me told me to halt my forward motion and pay this particular stand a visit. It could have been some intuitive, mystical drive or possibly just common everyday thirst. You see they were offering samples of ice cold, stevia “supplemented” tea at the booth. Regardless of why I made that pit stop, I’m glad that I did. The iced tea was actually very tasty.

The most frequent criticism I hear about stevia based sweeteners is that they have a bitter or otherwise unpleasant aftertaste. My wife recently described it in this manner, “When I try a product that has sucralose/Splenda in it, I first taste the sweetness and then a little bit of an aftertaste. But when I use stevia, I taste the off-taste first and then I detect the sweetness”. I can preach day and night about the health promoting properties of Stevia rebaudiana, but if the taste isn’t to your liking, you’ll probably opt for something else instead.

Natural products are inherently prone to slight variations from brand to brand and product to product. Even if the labels claim to be identical, the effects and/or the taste is not necessarily so. It is for this reason that I’ve found that you really must experiment with multiple stevia products in order to find the one that suits you best.

The Sooo Sweet product is a blend of two ingredients: stevia extract and a soluble dietary fiber known as Fibersol 2. Here’s a brief overview of the most recent scientific research on both of these natural substances.

Over the past several months, there have been three major studies involving stevia extracts published in the scientific literature. A current paper in the International Journal of Obesity examined the effects of the non-caloric sweetener, stevioside, in an animal model. Two groups of mice were fed either a placebo or steviosides over the course of 12 weeks. The mice receiving the stevia extract demonstrated lowered glucose and insulin. Other key changes in the stevia-fed mice included: an increase in antioxidant activity and adiponectin, and improved blood sugar transport and insulin signaling. Perhaps the most notable difference between the two groups of mice was a reduction in aortic plaque and greater stabilization of artherosclerotic plaque in those receiving stevia. Together, these findings suggest potent protective activity with regard to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The remaining studies include a review of the relative efficacy and safety of stevia which determined that “Although stevia can be helpful to anyone, there are certain groups who are more likely to benefit from its remarkable sweetening potential”. The authors conclude by saying that, “These include diabetic patients, those interested in decreasing caloric intake, and children”. Another investigation from December 2009 tested the impact of a variety of natural sweeteners in an animal population. In that inquiry, stevia was found to be safer than fructose containing sweeteners such as agave, fructose and high fructose corn syrup. (1,2,3)

The secondary ingredient in Sooo Sweet may appear to be somewhat controversial. The technical name for it is “resistant maltodextrin”. In its unmodified form, maltodextrin has an extremely high glycemic index. However, resistant maltodextrin actually helps to moderate blood sugar and insulin response. In addition, some research indicates that it may help enhance the absorption of dietary minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc and possibly even decrease diet-induced elevations in cholesterol and triglycerides. (4,5,6)

Fibersol 2 (Resistant Maltodextrin) Blunts the Impact of Dietary Carbohydrates
Source: Am J Clin Nutr 89: 114-125, 2009. (a)

During my time at the Natural Products Expo West convention, I kept thinking about how cool it would be to have my readers at the show with me. That’s when it hit me: I may not be able to bring you all to the show, but I can bring a little piece of the show to you!

In order to do so, I’ve arranged for a free giveaway of the Sooo Sweet product. The deal is that I’ll receive and then distribute 10 boxes of Sooo Sweet which contains 60 packets of this proprietary stevia extract. The first 10 readers to send me an e-mail requesting a box will act as our test audience. Each and everyone who wants to try out the product for free will need to agree to provide informal feedback via email or a post on this site about their experience using the product. We’re counting on you to provide the real scoop for the rest of us. Offer your unvarnished opinions and even tips you learn during the course of experimenting with this novel sweetener.

This is a sign of things to come on HealthyFellow.com. I want to find ways to make the experience here more interactive. We have a wealth of good will and proactive individuals in our community. I want to tap into that wonderful energy so that we might all benefit from each others’ trials and errors. I hope you’ll participate in this and upcoming opportunities. As a final note, please be aware that I will only offer giveaways and promotions on products that I’m willing to try myself.

Be well!

JP

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46 Comments & Updates to “Stevia Giveaway”

  1. Allison Trottier Says:

    I am willing if I am not to late.

  2. JP Says:

    You got it, Allison. :)

    I should be receiving the shipment this upcoming week. I’ll send you your box then.

    Be well!

    JP

  3. Kathy Hall Says:

    I’d love to try it. Right now I find that I only like the taste of KAL brand stevia. I’ve tried others and they just don’t taste the same to me.

    I also have used Purevia which is a blend of erythritol and stevia but I have to use more of it for coffee etc. I do bake with erythritol and stevia quite often so I could give you a report on how it works in baking too.

    I was diagnosed as Type II diabetic 1.5 years ago. I went low carb and cured myself and have kept my fasting and A1C normal ever since.

  4. oscar rodes Says:

    Sorry we missed you at our booth at ExpoWest. We have farmed and extracted stevia since the late 80′s in Brazil – from the seeds to the final product we control the quality of our products – also, many years of research in the extraction process we have been able to practically eliminate any aftertaste of the final product…our products range from table top sweetener ( Stevita Supreme), clear liquid sweetener, flavored liquid sweetener, flavored powdered drink mix ( similar to cool-aid, tang, etc.)and chewing gum (SteviaDent). We offer free samples of our products by sending address to info@stevitastevia.com. Our web page is http://www.stevitastevia.com.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Oscar Rodes, Owner
    Stevita Co. Inc.

  5. JP Says:

    Kathy,

    I’ll make sure to send you a box of Soooo Sweet in the next few days. Your feedback about how it works out in baking and otherwise would be greatly appreciated.

    I’ve already e-mailed you in order to establish the best address to send the sample.

    Congratulations on “curing” your type 2 diabetes. Finding a natural way, as you’ve done, is so much better than relying on numerous medications, IMO. Keep up the good work!

    Be well!

    JP

  6. JP Says:

    Thank you for getting in touch, Oscar. Perhaps we can arrange for a similar test of your stevia products in the future. I’m all about helping my loyal readers find the healthiest and most palatable products available.

    Be well!

    JP

  7. Andrea Says:

    Please include me if there are any left. I have been using non-sucrose sweeteners for years and would love to try this one.

    Thanks,

    Andrea Tiktin

  8. JP Says:

    You got it, Andrea!

    I’ll be in touch to find out the best shipping address to send the sample to.

    Be well!

    JP

  9. Ginger Says:

    Hi! I would be interested in giving Sooo Sweet a try. I’ve tried several Stevia products and would love to see how this one compares in taste and how it dissolves once placed in liquid. I use Stevia quite a bit in baking.

    Thanks,
    Ginger

  10. Rosemary Says:

    I’d be happy to participate in your trial. I have used a number of sweetners and love experimenting with them.

    Thanks.
    Rosemary

  11. JP Says:

    Ginger and Rosemary,

    I just e-mailed you both asking for a mailing address. I’ll send over the boxes of Soooo Sweet as soon as they arrive.

    Be wel1!

    JP

  12. Mia B. Says:

    Hello JP~
    Thanks so much for all the ‘footwork’ you accomplish for us with these worthy products.
    I have been stepping up my experimentation with sweeting products, & I just think I need
    to make this one my next one… ! ; )

    Keep up the awesome investigations,
    Healthy Fellow!

  13. Nina K Says:

    Good Morning, JP :-)

    wish you both a very nice funny and relaxing weekend :-) …and i’m excited looking for next weeks posts ;-)

    Nina K.

  14. Mark Says:

    Another interesting article. I grew stevia 2 years ago, wanting to make my own sweetener. Some of the recipes on the web were questionable, so I never tried. Another article on the possibilities of making your own sweetener at home would be much appreciated

  15. Sylvia Stewart Says:

    Hello to my favorite health consultant!

    I have tried several powdered stevia sweetners but would be glad to give this one a whirl (or stir!) if you still have need for participants. Have a great weekend.

  16. JP Says:

    Mia B.,

    I’ll make sure to get you a box of Soooo Sweet to further your experimentation goals. :)

    Be well!

    JP

  17. JP Says:

    Thank you, Nina! I wish you the same! :)

    I hope it’s been a lovely weekend for you both.

    Be well!

    JP

  18. JP Says:

    Mark,

    I’ll see what I can find re: homemade alternative sweeteners. That may be a real possibility but I suspect that ending up with a “clean” tasting end product, one that’s sweet and relatively free of aftertaste, may be difficult. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a little good old fashioned kitchen-side experimentation. :)

    Be well!

    JP

  19. JP Says:

    Sylvia,

    Look for a box of Soooo Sweet in your mailbox in the coming weeks. Let us know what you think of it! :)

    Be well!

    JP

  20. Melina Says:

    I have tried a few different stevia products and the original green stevia leaf powder so I’d be interested in trying this product and comparing it if I’m not too late.

    Thanks!

  21. JP Says:

    Good timing, Melina! You’re the final stevia tester!

    I’ll be in touch about where to send the Soooo Sweet. :)

    Be well!

    JP

  22. Rosemary Says:

    My package of Sooosweet arrived today. It was a challenge to figure out what the sweetner equivalent is for a packet. Nothing is stated on the box. I checked the Soooosweet website and looked at some of the recipes and was astonished to see that they called for 1 pkt for 2 quarts of Koolaid and 2 pkts for a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I decided I’d better call the Soooosweet people and make some inquiries. The lady I spoke to said that 5 pkts was roughly equal to 1/2 cup sugar. I decided not to risk a lot of ingredients for my first experiment so decided to make a pitcher of Kookaid which would be refreshing on this 80 deg. day. One pkt was definitely not enough. Two packets was tolerable as a beverage, but not pleasurable. I tried 5 pkts and decided that, while it wasn’t sweet like traditional Koolaid, it was “good” as a refreshing beverage. My non-lowcarber husband said it was “okay” but I think he would have liked additional sweetener. It didn’t have any “off” flavor, just wasn’t as sweet as if I had put in the full 10 pkts which would be equivalent to 1 cup of Splenda or 1 Splenda Packet that I have used in the past.

    I was going to include the sugar equivalence list I had worked out but it’s downstairs and I’m upstairs. I’ll include it in my next post.

  23. JP Says:

    Thank you, Rosemary! What an excellent contribution!

    I think you’re right on the mark – they really should have a conversion chart like so many other stevia manufacturers do. I’ll e-mail my contact at the company and make that suggestion.

    Please keep us posted on your subsequent experimentation!

    Be well!

    JP

  24. Rosemary Says:

    Using Soooosweet info’ that 11 pkts or 5 tsps of Sooosweet yields the sweetening equivalent of 1/2 cup sugar, here is what I came up with as a rough guide for adapting recipes:

    If a recipe calls for 1/4 cup sugar or sugar equivalent, try 5.5 pkts or 2 1/2 tsps
    1/8 cup sugar would be 2.6 pkts or 1 1/2 tsps
    1 TBLS sugar would be 1.3 pkts or .6 tsps

    My plan is to round those numbers down. For example, I would start by subbing 1 pkt instead of 1.3 pkts for a TBLS and see if that was sweet enough in a particular application.

  25. JP Says:

    Thanks, Rosemary.

    I’m working on a new recipe and that conversion will be very helpful. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I hope to post a column about it on Tuesday.

    Be well!

    JP

  26. JP Says:

    Rosemary,

    It seems as though there’s an inconsistency between the figures in your first post and the second post.

    1st post – 5 packets of Soooo Sweet = 1/2 cup of sugar equivalent

    2nd post – 5.5 packets of Soooo Sweet = 1/4 cup of sugar equivalent

    Was the first figure (5 packets) supposed to read 5 tsp?

    Please let us know when you get the chance.

    Thank you!

    Be well!

    JP

  27. Rosemary Says:

    Yikes! I really messed up the first post–I mixed up tsps and pkts!!!

    I’m so sorry :-(

    The Soooosweet person I spoke to said 11 pkts or 5 tsps Soooosweet was the equivalent of 1/2 cup sugar.

    It’s interesting that 5 pkts (which would be less than 1/4 cup sugar equivalent) made such a good “Koolaid” beverage.

    I shall be more careful in future posts!!!

  28. JP Says:

    No worries! I just wanted to make sure I understood. Now I do!

    Thanks for clarifying. :)

    Be well!

    JP

  29. Melina Says:

    I received my Soooo Sweet a couple of days ago and have been using it as my sweetener of choice ever since. I have tried at least three different brands of stevia and I agree that this is the least bitter of any of them, in fact I can’t taste any bitterness at all. This stevia tastes really nice and floral. I am not wild about the resistant maltodextrin and I still prefer to use the fresh herb unextracted but this would be my choice out of the stevia products on the market. I give it 5 stars for what it is and for living up to their claims.

    Thanks for the sample, JP!

  30. JP Says:

    Thank you for the feedback, Melina!

    Great to hear!

    Be well!

    JP

  31. Sylvia Stewart Says:

    Dear Healthy Fellow,

    I’m writing to say that “So Sweet” is my new favorite Stevia product. It’s completely without after taste and really sweet! I can sweeten a large (16 ounce plus) glass of iced tea and it’s perfect! I thought the others I’d tried were fine/good but this is definitely better. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  32. JP Says:

    I’m happy to know you’re enjoying it, Sylvia! :)

    Thank you for the feedback. It’s great to know!

    Be well!

    JP

  33. Rosemary Says:

    Another successvul Soooo Sweet experience!

    I made some Coconut Bark today using 5 pkts of Soooo Sweet. I have experimented in the past with the same recipe and other stevia brands (both powdered and liquid) as well as half and half erythritol and xyiltol. What I made today was definitely the best tasting of all :-)

    So far, I am really happy with Soooo Sweet. I look forward to trying it again soon–perhaps I’ll give JD’s Cheesecake a try.

    Rosemary

  34. JP Says:

    Thank you for the update, Rosemary!

    Would you consider sharing your coconut bark recipe? Pretty please? :)

    I hope you enjoy the cheesecake if you try it out!

    Be well!

    JP

  35. Rosemary Says:

    There are a whole lot of Chocolate Bark variations out there. I started with this one I found somewhere and tried:
    =========
    Chocolate Bark

    4 T. (1/4 cup) Virgin Coconut Oil
    1-1.5 T. Cocoa Powder
    1/4 t. lowcarb sweetner, such as stevia or xylitol
    2 oz nuts (optional)

    Melt the coconut oil to a liquid, add in cocoa powder and sweetener. Stir to combine and blend well.

    Blend nuts into chocolate mixture (Optional)

    Have chlled a metal bakeware lasagna or cake pan or pans in freezer for 10 minutes or so. Remove from freezer and line with waxed paper. Then pour mixture into chilled pan and spread to desired thickness.

    Pop in refrigerator or freezer on level shelf and let sit 10 minutes or so. It will harden quickly and breaks with a snap.
    =======
    Over the years how I make it has evolved. I use the same basic directions as above, but have changed amounts and added ingredients. What I made yesterday had the following ingredients:

    1/2 cup coconut oil — 120 g. — I used LouAna Coconut Oil
    1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
    1/8 cup oat fiber
    5 pkts Soooo Sweet
    1 TBLS Monin SF Syrup — Vanilla
    1/4 cup coconut milk powder
    1/4 cup sliced almonds.

  36. JP Says:

    Thank you, Rosemary! :0

    I’m going to give your recipe a shot. If I change the ingredients at all, I’ll let you know what I did and how it turned out.

    Be well!

    JP

  37. Rosemary Says:

    JP, I look forward to hearing how your Chocolate Bark comes out and what new twists you may come up with. I’m hoping some of the other Soooo Sweet testers have some nifty low carb recipes to share, too.

    $ Rosemary

  38. Mark Says:

    JP,

    Just a note that I have finished the box of Sooo Sweet that you sent. Thanks for the opportunity to try.

    Likes:
    1: Sweetens better than the pink stuff. one packet was almost the strength as two of the other.

    2: Mixed fast and easy in cold or hot liquids

    3: Imparted a creamy aftertaste which was great especially in coffee

    4: Added fiber is a plus

    Dislikes:

    1: Tended to clump if poured into a hot cereal. If added before heating I had no problem.

    2: The powder was almost too ” powdery “, if that makes sense. Had to open packets slowly or I would get a small dust cloud.

    Likes far outweigh the dislikes. Overall a much better sweetener than what I currently use

  39. JP Says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Mark! It’s a valuable contribution! :)

    Be well!

    JP

  40. Bhaskar Sharma Says:

    One of my friend gave me two leaves of a herb plant and she called me it the leaves of sweet plant, Stevia rebaudiana. If you taast it, it tastes very sweet. I was excited that time. After that time I became very interested to know about any aspect of the plants. I am writing the information from Kathmandu, Nepal. I took a plant too from her as a present in my request and planted it in my planting pot. It grew well. Then I multiplied the plants vegetatively on the roof of my house, in Kathmandu, Nepal. If any body is interested to take the seedlings of the Stevia from my house (Kathmandu, Nepal, email: ngenetics@yahoo.com), please write me to the address in parentheses.

  41. John M. Says:

    Hi, I’am new to your web site but am inquiring if the free offer still has any boxes of sooo-sweet left. I hope to bring some insight to your product.

  42. JP Says:

    Welcome, John. I’m happy you found us. :)

    Unfortunately, all of the samples have already been given out. But I encourage you to try this product all the same. The response to the trial we conducted was quite positive.

    Be well!

    JP

  43. Earl Says:

    Hi, When I first tried Stevia, I wasn’t satisfied with the sweetness it provided. Since Dr. Weil mentioned it on his website, I kept on using it and soon became accustomed to it. I prefer Truvia brand and have been using it ever since Walmart started selling it. I use two packets in a cup of green tea, three times a day. I believe it has helped me lose weight with little exercise except for a morning walk for 30 minutes. I’m 81 years old.

  44. JP Says:

    Excellent, Earl. Sometimes our taste buds require a little time to catch up to what our intellect knows is best. ;-) I’m happy you stuck with it.

    Be well!

    JP

  45. Denise Walsh Says:

    Please tell me where I can buy Sooo Sweet. I bought a box at a discount store a year ago and LOVE it! Once the supply was sold it was gone forever. I have hunted high and low in Massachusetts. Is it sold in a specialty store, health store or anywhere else? Please advise. SOOO Sweet is the best stevia product I have ever tried.

    Thank you! Hope you will respond..

    Sincerely,
    Denise Walsh

  46. JP Says:

    Hi Denise,

    I’m not sure which stores in Massachusetts carry it. But, you can order it online: http://www.ezville.com/soooo-sweet/ I hope this help!

    Be well!

    JP

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