Truvia is a granulated sugar substitute.
I have tried many sweetener brands, but finally settled on Truvia as my preferred option. I now use it in all of my low-carb recipes.
Lately, I’ve been getting lots of questions and comments about Truvia.
There seems to be some confusion on whether it is suitable for low-carb dieters.
Why some of us are confused about Truvia
Truvia have several products in their range. Some are great for low-carb dieters, but some aren’t.
All Truvia products are sold under the same brand name, and have similar looking packaging. So it is potentially confusing for us.
Double check product names and nutritional information on the labels before buying.
Here’s what you need to look out for.
YES – Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener
Zero net carbs, PERFECT for low-carb diets
Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener is made from Stevia leaf extract and erythritol.
This product comes in sachets, in a spoonable plastic pack, and in a pouch.
It doesn’t contain any digestible carbs, and its net carb count is zero. So we can safely use it as part of a low-carb diet.
The nutritional label does show some carbs, due to FDA regulations. However, these all come from erythritol and are not digestible (otherwise it wouldn’t be marked up as zero-calorie).
The exact product name varies in different markets – I have seen it called “Calorie-Free Sweetener”, “Natural Zero Calorie Sweetener”, “Nature’s Calorie-Free Sweetener” etc.
The keyword to look for is “calorie-free”. There is also a “zero calories” stamp on the packaging.
NO – Truvia Nectar, Truvia Brown Sugar Blend, Truvia Baking Blend
Contain sugar, NOT SUITABLE for low-carb diets
Truvia range also includes products that contain Stevia blended with sugar – Truvia Brown Sugar Blend and Truvia Baking Blend, and with honey – Truvia Nectar.
The sugar content is clearly marked up on the packaging. These products aim to help people on standard diets lower their calorie consumption.
Note the stamp on the front of the packages says “75% fewer calories” – not “0 calories”.
These are great for people who would otherwise just eat pure white sugar. But not suitable for low-carb dieters.
Reasons to use Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener
There are many sugar substitutes on the market. Let me explain why I settled on Truvia as my product of choice.
Bulked with erythritol – no cheap and nasty fillers
Stevia extract is extremely sweet – about 200 times sweeter than sugar.
Measuring out 1/200 of a teaspoon is not exactly practical. Stevia extract is usually blended with bulking ingredients for granulated sweeteners, or alcohol for Stevia drops.
Some products are bulked with cheap and nasty fillers, such as maltodextrin or dextrose. These substances are not sugar-free, and can actually negate the benefits of using Stevia.
Truvia includes erythritol as the bulking agent. Erythritol is a naturally derived sugar alcohol (polyol), which contains no digestible carbs. Its texture and weight are similar to sugar. It doesn’t have a strong laxative effect like some other cheaper polyols. So it is the perfect option.
Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener contains no other ingredients except Stevia, erythritol and flavourings.
Ingredients do not affect your blood sugar
Do “zero calorie” and “zero carbs” claims seem too good to be true? I was sceptical at first too.
But Truvia Sweetener has been tested in clinical studies of people who have type 2 diabetes. The results show that consuming Truvia does not affect blood glucose or insulin.
I have used Truvia on many occasions without interrupting my ketosis.
One word of caution – our bodies are complex systems, and everyone is different. Sometimes simply consuming sweet-tasting foods (even without any actual carbs) can disrupt your low-carb diet progress.
The effect of sugar alcohols like erythritol also vary by individual, although most people don’t have any adverse affects.
If you are just starting out on a low-carb diet – or if it’s hard for you to get into and stay in ketosis – then be careful with Truvia or any other sugar substitutes. Perhaps try a small amount first and see how it affects you.
Right texture, smell and taste
The texture of Truvia is very similar to sugar, although the taste is sweeter.
The flavourings blend in Truvia is excellent. Unlike some other sweeteners, it doesn’t smell or taste artificial or laden with chemicals.
There is no unpleasant aftertaste – another common problem they somehow managed to eliminate.
Truvia works equally well in baking, desserts and beverages.
So it is a multi-purpose sweetener, unlike some other products.
For example, Stevia liquid drops are great for sweetening your tea and coffee, but you can’t bake with them.
The only time it didn’t work so well for me was in low-carb chocolate-making.
I tried to sweeten 100% cacao solids chocolate, melted over Bain-Marie. I guess the temperature wasn’t hot enough, so Truvia granules didn’t quite melt into the chocolate. I worked around this by powdering Truvia in a coffee grinder first – it worked ok after that.
Produced by a large company
Truvia brand is owned by Cargill Foods – a huge international food company. This gives Truvia two advantages compared to smaller brands.
First, it is quite easy to buy.
In the UK, Truvia is available from Tesco, Asda, Coop, Morrisons, Sainsbury and Waitrose.
In USA, Truvia is available from Whole Foods Market, Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club.
Secondly, thanks to its bigger production scale, Truvia is reasonably priced. Inevitably, it is a lot more expensive than white sugar. But cheaper than other sweeteners produced by smaller niche companies. And much cheaper than natural Stevia leaf powder (Although obviously not quite as natural).
Controversy – “Natural” claims
One word of caution regarding the usage of the word “Natural” to describe Truvia. The company does use this word extensively in their marketing and on Truvia packaging.
It is true that all of Truvia ingredients were real foods at some point in the beginning of production cycle. So it is more natural than artificially synthesised sweeteners, like aspartame and sucralose.
However, both Stevia leaf and erythritol are processed very heavily before they become Truvia.
So I would personally not use the word “natural” to describe this product. If you are on Paleo or just trying to eat clean, this is not the right sweetener for you.
I have reconciled myself with the fact that some ingredients do require a degree of processing. Pretty much all sweeteners (and real sugar) are processed.
You can find all-natural, unprocessed dried Stevia leaves, but that’s very niche, and more expensive. And you couldn’t bake with it. Same goes for Luo Han (monk fruit) extract, which is very hard to find.
All other natural sweeteners tend to be high in carbs – honey, agave nectar etc. Great if you are on Paleo but definitely not low-carb.
I made my peace with the fact that Truvia is not quite as natural as Cargill would like you to believe. It has plenty of other advantages. I will continue to use it in my low-carb recipes.