Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Human beings, being endowed with "intelligence", have the luxury of thinking differently from one another and this probably makes the life on this planet exciting. Opinions, suggestions, criticisms, comments, critiques, debates, discussions etc can bring out divergent views on a single subject and what is truth is supposed to prevail at the end. But being argumentative without a rationale or logic can be self defeating and one cannot avoid such divergent views amongst a world population of almost 7 billion. Here is a typical example of a criticism not based on any science about a food ingredient, made from a herb, consumed for centuries with no known ill effect being questioned about its credentials which cannot stand scientific scrutiny.

"That said, Truvia is not stevia. Stevia looks like what it is — a plant, an herb. It's green, and can be purchased in a dried, powdered form. Some companies make extracts of stevia in a liquid form — something you could do, too, with a little bourbon or vodka on your side. Either way, this is something you can grow and make in your own kitchen. But what about Truvia? Truvia looks like table sugar. It's crystallized sweetness. Can you make Truvia in your kitchen? Of course not! Despite attempts to get straight answers from the folks at Cargill and Coca-Cola who manufacture Truvia, all we know about it is that it's made first by steeping the stevia leaves in boiling water. But how it goes from being "stevia tea" and gets converted into a crystallized ingredient called rebiana is a mystery of the food industry. Surely there's some kind of processing involved, no?

If the convoluted argument put forward by the above critic is taken to its logical conclusion, most of the foods consumed to day, may not pass the test for safety! Is it possible for mankind to go back to stone age and follow the life style of humans living at that time of history? The word "processing" is not a dirty word as implied by the above critic but a necessity in the modern age to conserve food and prevent starvation all around. Just because the active principle in Stevia leaves is extracted, decolorized, concentrated and made into a dry product does not disqualify it from being used as a sweetener. Sugar would not have been available to day if this logic is accepted and probably one would be left with no choice but use the sugarcane juice for sweetening coffee, tea and other beverages. Imagine every family growing sugarcane in its backyard for daily use!


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