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Stevia? Love it or hate it?

I bought an expensive bottle of 'all-natural' raspberry lemonade that had stevia in it, and the lemonade was vile. It was sooooo sour it tasted like it didn't have any sweetener in it at all, and neither my husband nor I could drink it. It had a weird aftertaste too and I'm not sure if that was from the stevia or from the raspberries, or just because it was a really weird product.

Stevia is popping up in all sorts of 'natural' products, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a disaster.

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  1. I can't attest to the inherent good or bad, nutrition wise, but Stevia just tastes bad to me. It has a bitter-metallic taste to me, especially in citrus drinks. And it does nothing for me in coffee. I also have a similar reaction to Sweet and Lo and Splenda.

    1. I can't stand any artificial sweeteners especially the aftertaste. We use in a limited way, stevia drops for a few things. The key is to add just enough for a little sweetness but one drop too much and you get the after taste. I don't think it would be good premixed.

      1. Not a fan of Stevia, I get a bitter and rather artifical tasting aftertaste with it. I generally avoid products with Stevia as much as possible because of the aftertaste

        1. No stevia for me, eventho' my good friend in South Carolina loves it and says it is much "better for you" than Splenda, which is my choice for artifiial sweeteners. Can't stand
          Equal either. Both S. & E. have that bitter chemically aftertaste that ruin whatever is added
          to them. Ick.

          1. It's funny, none of the really fake artificial sweeteners bother me, but Stevia, the most "real" of the non-sugar sweeteners, tastes awful. I can handle it in small quantities when added to strongly flavor things, but most of the time I the after taste to be way too bitter.

            1. I think this is basically the same stuff that is in SoBe Lifewater.... it has only a hint of sweetness and is delicious. But sodas have too much and the result is putrid.

              1. I am a diabetic and am fairly restrictive in what I eat and drink. For me Stevia is the only real option out there for a product that when used in small amounts doesn't really effect the flavour too badly. I have difficulty drinking diet pop - plus I don't think the crap that's in there is good for you. However, eating/drinking things prepared with Stevia is palatable plus the added bonus that Stevia does not affect blood sugar - no matter how much you use, so it is a really great product for diabetics. Unfortunately I have not been brave enough to bake with plain Stevia, although the vitamin/mineral/protein powder product I do add to my baking is sweetened with Stevia and I have no issues with flavour/texture results in the baking.

                2 Replies
                1. re: nsstampqueen

                  I agree with you. For anyone who has to watch the glycemic index of foods, stevia is a great sweetener. A little goes a long way,though, at least for me. I drink Virgil's Zero Root Beer (stevia sweetened) and it's sweeter than I prefer. The Zevia brand of sodas at my local Whole Foods is unpalatable to me -- it's waaaay too sweet.

                  1. re: three of us

                    I know, I haven't found any diet pops that are really palatable - I only have one when I'm in a restaurant having a meal, otherwise I stick with water.

                    I have had some success using the stevia powder in coffee - I only use about an 1/8 of a teaspoon of sugar to begin with so I just take a few grains of the powdered stevia and it works for me - still miss that sugar taste - but beggars can't be choosers.

                2. I can't stand it, even a grain sets my teeth on edge.

                  1. I was a Splenda guy in the past, but I just bought Stevia packets last week. I like them taste wise, and I've read a few things about how it's the most wholesome sweetener available. I've had fresh stevia leafs and they are more sweet than sweet. I have been on artiicial sweeteners for many years and I have no problem with Stevia.

                    1. some brands taste better then other, I have only tasted a few, some tasted horrible but some where ok. I like the liquid ones from now and stevita (only use it in tea). And i like SoBe lifewater

                      1. What about the raw herb? Anyone grow a Stevia plant and use the raw herb in any applications?

                        1. I like it but I've never had it in a drink so I can't attest to its taste there. I most often use it in small quantities though in things like oatmeal.

                          1. Stevia has this sweet/sour taste to it with an awful chemical-like long-lasting aftertaste. It's punishment for your tongue to be quite honest. It's also my understanding that it ranks fairly high as sugar substitutes go because it's the "least processed" of the bunch.

                            1. I’m a stevia convert. In an effort to reduce sugar, I’d been using Splenda but noticed that I was getting bad headaches in the morning. (putting Splenda in coffee and on oatmeal)

                              I got off the Splenda and switched to the Truvia brand of stevia. I use a half a pack in a travel size mug of coffee because it’s VERY sweet. I use one whole packet in a batch of oatmeal for two, with a pinch of salt, vanilla, cinnamon and sometimes a couple drops of almond extract.

                              I don’t use it for baking, or use it by the amounts that are probably in drinks, but the small amount which we use tastes good to me, and my headaches went away.

                              I’m also off all sodas, including diet, which I used to drink twice a day… I’m figuring the fewer chemicals that I ingest, the better. It’s coffee, then water and sometimes seltzer or club soda for me now, with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

                              I have found now that I’m off the diet soda, that my tastes have changed. Food doesn’t have to be as sweet for me to enjoy the sweetness (does that make sense?)

                              1. Hi, Kajikit:

                                Put me in the column that likes Stevia. I use it quite a bit in coffee, tea, and cooking--I even add it to my hard ciders at bottling (it sweetens without risking further fermentation).

                                Yes, I get some minimal bitterness tasting it direct from the packet (different brands are different, BTW), but discern no difference between it and sucrose when mixed into something in reasonable concentrations.

                                Until some reasonable alternative is available to sugars or artificial sweeteners, I'll be happy continuing to use Stevia. I particularly like the NOW brand with Inulin and chromium picolinate.


                                1. I have to weigh in on this. A friend of mine insisted that I should be using Stevia instead of Nutrasweet or Equal so I bought it and tried it. It was a Saturday morning. I put it in my coffee and couldn't get the horrible taste out of my mouth for hours -- I tasted it throughout a whole yoga class. I came home and threw out the box. Never again.

                                  1. Count me a fan of stevia. I use Sweetleaf brand, either powder or liquid - just a tiny bit does the job in drinks - even make my own sugar free hot chocolate with it when a craving hits. Also use it when a smoothie or cheesecake needs a bit of sweetening. When you go without sugar for a week or two, stevia can be a relief - now anything with sugar feels and tastes sickly to me. I don't trust aspartame or splenda - scary stuff!

                                    1. I like the packs from TJs. It has a good flavor & it's all I've been using for 3 years. I use real sugar when I cook/bake.

                                      There are some brands that are really awful, but I do like the Trader Joe's brand.

                                      1. Can I ask - in what form have people here tried stevia? I got small bag of the dried leaves free with a bunch of other herbs from an online order and I wasn't sure what to do with it. I recall trying to make some mildly sweet teas with it and finding the flavour sort of sweet but also...herbacious. It was ok, but quite pronounced on its own and I wasn't sure it would work well with other flavours. I ended up not finishing the bag and chucking it out during a cupboard clear out.

                                        1. I've tried stevia in pretty much every form--fresh leaf, dried leaf, powdered leaf (green), white powder extract, liquid extract. It is very very sweet, and has a licorice-like aftertaste (not anise-like) and a bitterness that I do find unpleasant. However, I do sometimes use NuNaturals vanilla liquid (by far the best brand I've tried with the least aftertaste) to boost the sweetness in a recipe--I don't like the idea of a non-caloric sweetener, even if it's natural, but I don't mind less sugar in my system.

                                          I just got some Virgil's Zero root beer--not recommended for fans of Virgil's, but if you're used to diet sodas and/or like your soda very sweet, you could do worse.

                                          1. funny how you guys all hate it! I only use sugar, honey and syrup (so all sugar, really) to sweeten my things, but I love the taste of stevia, so I chew on a leaf once in a while when I'm bored at my computer. snacking on it by itself or putting one to decorate a ball of sorbet, the same way as mint, are the only ways I've ever consumed it...because the taste is just too yummy to be covered by other things!

                                            1. Stevia is a good alternative to others, but I think Truvia is much better that Stevia.

                                              2 Replies
                                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                                  Truvia is actually highly-processed stevia AND erythritol, a sugar alcohol.

                                              1. I'm not a fan of stevia. I find it has an odd anise-ish/bitter aftertaste. I also can't do Sweet&Low, as i find it to have a very bitter aftertaste. Equal and Splenda taste ok, though.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: lawhound05

                                                  I just can't tolerate the stuff. I love diet sodas, but I am an aspartame and caffeine addict. I'm mostly off the sodas right now, save for the odd Fresca or Diet Sprite. In the past, I have used Sweet and Lo, Spenda and Nutrasweet, but not for years. I try to go with agave or sugar when I need to sweeten drinks. My husband uses stevia packets to sweeten his rooibos iced tea. i can't even take a sip. Something about the stevia makes my mouth rebel. My tongue has an immediate "yuck" reaction. My husband ordered a mixed case of Zevia online and brought it home for me to taste. I have now tried the black cherry, which tasted like cough medicine to me, and the ginger root beer, which was similarly foul. I love root beer and black cherry sodas. The Zevias could "cure" me of my passion for soda pop. I'm interested to taste the fresh stevia leaf, as many say it isn't bitter. I don't know whether my taste buds just have a bad chemical reaction with that plant or whether it's just the processed powders that are doing it.

                                                2. I HATE the taste of stevia. It's a deal breaker for me at the grocery store when I'm looking at ingredients lists. I've been horrified to discover it in an increasing number of tea blends. I'd much rather have something unsweetened than anything sweetened with stevia.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: antennastoheaven

                                                    Me too. It tastes horrible. The bad taste lingers in my mouth and I'm not convinced of its nutritional superiority. Keep it outa my food!