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Jan 4, 2009 10:22 AM

Truvia- 0 calories but 3 carbs?

I just had a couple packets of Truvia (which is from Stevia plant, 100% natural sweetner) with my breakfast; free sample came in the mail. How is it that each packet claims to be 0 calories but then has 3 carbs?

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  1. the carbohydrates come from Erythritol - a sugar alcohol that passes through your system mostly undigested. since the body doesn't break it down, you don't get energy/calories from it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Thanks for the explanation, ghg - I've also wondered about this when I've encountered sugar-free products. I am always confused, when reading sugar-free labels that include sugar alcohols, as to whether I should count the carbs or not when dosing my insulin. I just can't keep it straight in my mind. For instance, I have an Atkins Advantage bar that Santa brought me that has 17g carbs. The carbs break down as 9g dietary fiber, 1g sugar, 0g sugar alcohols. Where are the other 7g carbs coming from?

      Seems easier just to avoid that crazy stuff and just eat real food. :)

      1. re: lynnlato

        "Seems easier just to avoid that crazy stuff and just eat real food. :)"
        oh, Lynn...if only more people felt that way! it would certainly make my work a lot easier ;)

        i didn't want to get into a whole science lesson with my earlier reply, but there are a number of different sugar alcohols (fyi, they're also called polyols) that manufacturers use in reduced-calorie and low-sugar food products, and each one has a slightly different digestibility, calorie count, & impact on your blood sugar & metabolism. unfortunately, the labeling laws in the US allow companies to label sugar alcohols as calorie-free, even though some are partially digestible and therefore technically contain as many as 3 kilocalories per gram. in the EU they're more stringent about it, assigning them a standard value of 2.4 kcal/gram.

        in terms of controlling your diabetes, regardless of the proportions, it's always best to focus on a food's TOTAL carb count - including sugar alcohols. however, if you want to get really specific about it, you can count half of the carbs from sugar alcohols in whatever you're eating, to account for the partial digestibility of some of them.

        for the record, sugar alcohols are also notorious for causing unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects in some people. personally, i think it's evil stuff.

        as you said...probably easier just to put down that shelf-stable, compressed bar of processed substitutes you can't even pronounce, and just eat some real food - it tastes better anyway!

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          GHG, I knew I could get some good information from you - thank you! I'm surprised that the EU has tighter labeling regs than us.

          Yep, it's real food for moi. Diabetes mgmt is tough enough w/o tossing chemicals into the mix. :)

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Yeah, I get the unpleasant gastrointestinal effects from some artificial sweeteners, particularly xylitol. I have a hard time finding gum that doesn't give me the runs, and have had to learn the names of various sweeteners in Chinese to read labels.

      2. Quick follow up if anyone is interested. Here is what Truvia had to say regarding the question of zero calories but 3 carbs:

        Thank you for your interest in Truvia. Unlike sugar which provides 4 calories per gram, the body does not use erythritol for energy, so it does not contribute calories. In other words, the caloric value for erythritol is zero calories per gram. Truvia does not increase blood sugar. The body does not metabolize or use Truvia the same way that it uses sugar and other carbohydrates. The body cannot convert Truvia to glucose or blood sugar. Therefore the grams of carbohydrates don’t count. The net carbs in Truvia natural sweetener are zero. Please continue to visit our website for more information.

        Thank you

        Truvia Customer Service

        1. So, opinions about artificial vs. "real" food aside, how does the taste compare to Equal or Splenda? I bought Trader Joe's brand of Stevia several years ago but to me it tasted minty rather than sweet. It was a no go as far as my morning coffee is concerned. But I read somewhere that growers have now overcome the mint problem.

          I have a 12oz mug of half-decaf, half-reg every morning, with 1/8 tsp sugar and a packet of either Splenda or Equal, and a very little amount of half&half. I'd like to be able to omit the sugar but it covers an alcohol aftertaste that without it I'd detect in S and E.

          3 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            I think they have improved the taste of Stevia a lot over the past few years in regards to the bitter and minty taste. The thing I like about Truvia versus other brands is it has more of the granual texture of sugar compared to more of a powder of other stevia brands.

            1. re: forzagto

              Thanks for your input! I'll have to give it a try.

            2. re: greygarious

              Have you tried Splenda for Baking? It's a blend of regular sugar and Splenda. It may achieve your desired results in your coffee.

            3. As for the people asking about the taste of Truvia- it still isn't the same taste as sugar, however, I much prefer the taste of truvia to that of splenda, equal, sweet'n'low or any other sugar substitute. It does NOT have a minty taste, nor an alcohol after-taste nor any bitterness that I can detect and is the closest to the taste of real sugar that I have found in comparison to any other artificial sweetener or sugar substitute I have tried. I used to use splenda but I've since switched to truvia. I also like to use "sugar in the raw" pure turbinado sugar cane sugar in place of refined sugar, although it DOES have calories and will be converted to glucose. I prefer it's flavor to its white processed sugar counterparts. And best of all, I need less of it to sweeten my coffee or tea than I would need if I were using regular refined white sugar. So where I would need 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar (approx. 46 calories), I only need one packet of sugar in the raw (20 calories).

              2 Replies
              1. re: hossda

                Here's a story on Stevia that ran a few days ago on NPR. It seems the taste is a work in progress.


                1. re: Zeldog

                  I really wish them good luck in finding a sweetener that tastes like sugar.

                  The really interesting thing about that article was the Experimental Psychologist, Paul Breslin, and his work at the Monell Chemical Senses Center.

                  "The primary focus of my work is on taste perception with an emphasis on taste discrimination, taste enhancement and suppression, and taste localization. I also study oral irritation/chemesthesis, mouthfeel, and astringency. The interactions among gustation, chemesthesis, and olfaction that comprise flavor are the topic of an ongoing research program that includes fMRI as a tool to understand regional brain involvement."


              2. I am also trying to find out the calories, (carbs) ect... with Truvia?? I use alot of it!!! Plus Spenda! In coffee, cereal, oatmeal & a steamed apple with cinnamon, vanilla, few sprinkes of nutmeg, to make a baked apple, then use the leftover apple pieces & sweet water to cook a big watery bowl of oatmeal. Also hooked on eating this everyday!! Really need to know how many extra calories & carbs, that are added with Truvia??? Yes I am thin, but the older I get, still want to stay where I am!!! Plus I have a ragging sweet tooth!!! HELP PLEASE!!!!!!

                3 Replies
                1. re: fancinanci

                  I know this thread is old... but I was just looking for "actual calories in Truvia" and saw your post. The ACTUAL calories in Splenda is 3.something, pretty much just round to 3. The FDA allows any foods that are less than 5 calories to claim that they have "Zero Calories"

                  1. re: LizaGetz

                    True, same with things like mustard, etc. but if you're not eating tons of whatever it is the calories are pretty negligible.

                    1. re: LizaGetz

                      Yes, see goodhealthgourmet's response above - she provides a detailed explanation. :)