Have you been mulling over which sweetener is better: stevia vs. cane sugar? Are you curious about the pros and cons of stevia and cane sugar? You have come to the right place. We’ve done a deep dive into the benefits and disadvantages of both stevia and cane sugar to decide once and for all which is better.
You can find both stevia and cane sugar added to beverages, packaged sweets, and sold at the store to use at home, but which one is better? Keep reading to find out who VINA crowns as the favorite sweetener.
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is a natural sugar alternative that is up to 400 times sweeter than sugar. You can find stevia in many products on the market, as well as a powder or liquid form to use at home.
Stevia comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is a bushy shrub that comes from the sunflower family. The stevia plant is native to the South American region where Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil meet. Today, it is grown commercially in Asia and South America, although the plant can be grown around the world.
The stevia leaves contain glycosides, organic compounds, which give the stevia leaves their sweet taste. Stevia has eight different glycosides, with the most common being stevioside and rebaudioside A. Stevia can be slightly bitter, so it goes through a purification process to remove the bitter taste.
Benefits of Stevia
Even though it is a natural sugar substitute, stevia still has many benefits. During the processing of stevia, some nutrients have been maintained, and they offer benefits to metabolic function and weight management. Stevia is also quite environmentally friendly.
Stevia contains antioxidants and amino acids.
Your body needs antioxidants for protection against free radicals and oxidative stress. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules. Because these molecules have a missing electron, they will steal an electron from other molecules in the body. This can cause oxidative stress in the body, which can be harmful to cells, tissues, and overall health.
Amino acids are the building block of protein. Your body needs amino acids for nutrient absorption and muscle repair, among many other processes in the body.
Cutting out sweets completely is very difficult for a lot of people. Switching out cane sugar for stevia may not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but it may help your body react to sugars. A study has found that stevia may activate a protein that perceives sweet and bitter tastes. When this protein is activated, it may support healthy metabolic function.
If you are working on weight management, you may be hyper-aware of your caloric and sugar intake. Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener, so it does not add any empty calories to your food or drinks. Stevia also contains no sugar.
Drinking a soda sweetened with stevia, like VINA Prebiotic Soda, will give you the satisfaction of a fizzy pop without taking away from your awesome weight management goals of the day.
The environment is at the top of mind these days and for good reason. Stevia uses less land and water resources than regular cane and beet sugars. Some stevia brands are continuing to push for more sustainable farming and processing practices.
Disadvantages of Stevia
There are not many disadvantages to the pure stevia you would find in foods and drinks or in its powder or liquid form. Many disadvantages may come from stevia that is mixed with sugar alcohols. Look for organic stevia and read the labels to make sure nothing extra is added.
Some think stevia can have a bitter aftertaste if not used properly. Stevia is also slightly more expensive than regular cane sugar.
What Is Cane Sugar?
Cane sugar is granulated sugar that comes from a tall, fibrous stalk that is high in sucrose called sugarcane. This plant is native to Southeast Asia but is now grown all over the world. Currently, Brazil is the largest producer of sugarcane.
Cane sugar is made by pressing the sugarcane to remove the fibers from the juice. The juice is then put through a series of processes, including boiling it to remove the water content. Once the sugarcane is processed, it will become granulated cane sugar.
Benefits of Cane Sugar
The biggest benefit of cane sugar is its taste. All the nostalgic foods from childhood were most likely made with sugar. It can bring even the blandest foods to life and make cooking techniques, like caramelizing, possible.
One benefit to cane sugar is it can provide you with a burst of energy, but you need to be mindful of how much sugar you are consuming. Too much sugar can leave you feeling sluggish.
Disadvantages of Cane Sugar
Cane sure may taste great, but it doesn't make up for what it is lacking. Those sweet crystals do not provide any nutritional value and may have a number of negative health impacts.
No Nutritional Value
While the actual plant sugarcane has many nutrients like potassium, calcium, zinc, and amino acids, cane sugar does not retain those nutrients during processing. What is left are calories with no nutritional value. One teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories. A traditional can of soda has around ten teaspoons of sugar, which equals 160 calories, just in sugar alone.
Negative Health Impact
Added sugar is thought to be the cause of many negative health issues. It may be harmful to your heart health, metabolic function, and mental health. This is not to be confused with natural sugars in fruit. Sugars in fruit are natural and beneficial.
It is recommended that women only consume up to 25 grams of sugar a day, and men should consume no more than 36 grams. The average American consumes 94 grams of added sugar! It is important to find ways to cut back on our added sugar consumption.
And the Winner Is?
The winner is STEVIA! In VINA Prebiotic Soda, you will only find one added sweetener, stevia. Stevia adds a delicious sweetness to our soda without adding any calories or sugar.
Stevia and cane sugar both bring the sweetness, but that’s not all you want out of the ideal sweetener. While they both do a great job in this department, stevia seems to have more benefits to outweigh the negatives, especially if you use organic stevia. The problem with cane sugar is once it is processed, it loses all of the nutritional value, and you are left with empty calories. For us, the winner is clear, stevia all the way.
The next time you are looking for a sweet, fizzy drink, without all of the extra sugar, reach for a VINA Prebiotic Soda. Our sodas are sugar-free and have added health benefits like prebiotics and brain-supporting trace minerals.