Why is White Stevia Powder No Good? : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Saturday Aug 20, 2011 | BY |
| Comments (40)

only-white-powder-you-can-enjoy
This may be the only white powder you can enjoy without side effects…

Obviously, there were a lot of questions about sugar this week…

I thought I’d be done with them yesterday, but that wasn’t the case. I found a whole bunch of you that wanted me to cover stevia as well as the glycemic index reading of banana powder, so I’ll do that and more in today’s Q & A article.

Let’s get started…

Anita asks…

“i have heard a couple of people say not to use white stevia, but i have never heard why not to use it. can you please explain why?”

Anita, when you think white stevia, think white sugar.

White stevia is not the same chemically, nor does it have any calories, but it is a chemically processed powder that has been removed from the stevia leaf – just like white sugar is just the very sweet sucrose removed from sugar cane or sugar beets.

The sweet chemical is a glycoside which is called stevioside and has about a 10% concentration in the stevia plant leaf. Most white powders contain an extract that is up to 80-90% steviocide.

While there has been little negative study about white powdered stevia, these products have the potential to do more harm than good because any extract has potential to be more potent than the original food or herb. (This doesn’t mean all extracts are bad.)

Also many of the white stevia powders use large amounts of maltodextrin to cut the strong sweet flavor of stevia extract.

Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide (or carbohydrate) that is used as an additive to soften the flavor of the steviocide (it’s also preferred because it doesn’t clump.) Maltodextrin is usually derived from GMO feed corn using chemicals, bleaching agents and other very-unnatural processes.

On top of all of this – and the biggest reason we don’t use it – is that the manufacturers of most white stevia are big industrial giants which as you probably can understand are not farmers or anyone that I’d want to trust with my food or support with my money. Cargill produces Truvia – their flagship stevia product.

So regardless of the assumed safety of a product like this, to me it makes no sense to use it if I can get a bag of perfectly natural green leaf powder – the entire plant intact with minerals, minus the water.

(Plus, you can support small, conscious businesses like ours or others when you get this pure form of the product! You can buy stevia in our store here.)

Next up, from Lori…

“As a type I diabetic I only use green leaf stevia and sweet leaf liquid stevia, nearly every day. Now I am wondering about the sweet leaf liquid stevia and liquid stevia flavors, are they not okay?”

Hey Lori,

Your Sweet Leaf products are extracted from the leaf, so this is considered an herbal tincture – just like many other tinctures that you’d find at the health food store. The SweetLeaf company also does not extract their product with alcohol, so you don’t have to worry about that as well.

So because of this, I don’t foresee any negative effects of using a few drops of this daily to sweeten foods or drinks.

My concern would be the flavorings. I’m sure they use “natural” flavorings to flavor the product, but I would love to know what the process entails. Not all natural extracts are equal. Since I’m writing this on a Saturday, there’s no one to call at their headquarters to get a straight answer about this.

They do have natural stevia flavor, so that would be my choice. I’ve used this product and liked it before.

Overall, I still think the best bet is to stick with the green leaf in powdered form. It’s basic, it sweetens whatever you like and it’s almost as natural as it comes – aside from growing and picking the leaves yourself.

Third question is from Veronica who’s addicted to stevia…

“I have to admit that I consume alot of stevia everyday, am finding it almost addicting, and seem to want to add more and more to my smoothies and tea. Can anyone help me out here, as to what to do, and how to quit drinking so much?”

This is interesting to hear Veronica. I’ve never heard of anyone having addictive behaviors like this to stevia.

What type of stevia are you using?

If you’re using white stevia or an alcohol (non-alcohol) extract, I wonder if something chemically is happening – that’s just a thought though…

There are a few ways to overcome addiction to sweets (or in this case stevia.) Addiction is somewhat complicated and at the same time sometimes not.

I’ve found the best success to overcoming addiction is re-identifying with your self and assessing your path to determine if you’re doing what you want or if you’ve wildly strayed from it. Those who are on their path, tend to have fewer cravings or bad habits – that they have trouble overcoming. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true.

Another technique to use is EFT or tapping to address emotional and physical attachments to food.

I put together an entire program that teaches you – in detail – how to do these techniques and many more to eliminate cravings and addictive behaviors. You can check this out here… click here for Cravings Free for Life.

On to banana powder, Darla asks…

“I am wondering if the banana powder is high in carbs or high glycemic? I would think that it is since bananas are high in sugar.”

Hey Darla, yes, banana sugar is high in carbohydrates. I don’t know its glycemic number, but I’m assuming it’s likely just as high as bananas.

This is not considered a low glycemic food and never was intended to be.

The reason I like banana powder – vs. other sugars – is that it is very simply dehydrated red bananas. It seems natural that if I wanted a powdered sugar, it would be as close to natural as possible. Banana sugar fits this qualification and then some, because it tastes so good – even on its own.

What I also like about it is that the red bananas are grown sustainably, picked ripe and are heirloom variety – meaning that they have a full nutrient profile and they are not hybridized in any modern factory farming method.

This is good news all around – at least from our perspective.

Also, keep in mind, the glycemic index is only one way of measuring sugar. There is also a fructose index. A food that is low glycemic could actually be high on the fuctose index which could give someone the impression that it’s super-healthy when it is not. Agave nectar is a perfect example of this. It is low glycemic, but high on the fructose index. High, processed fructose is a poison (as per Dr. Robert Lustig) and can cause metabolic issues, fatty liver and obesity.

Finally, HopandSkip wants to know about the sustainability of coconut sugar…

“Kevin, how does the banana sugar compare with coconut sugar and the glycemic index of both? Also, is there a sustainable issue with coconut sugar? I’m getting conflicting feedback.”

Hey HopandSkip, like I said above, I don’t know the exact glycemic index of banana sugar, but I assume it is in line with bananas. The two sugars we like best – when we use them – are coconut and banana, so I think they’re both great products.

As for the sustainability issue of coconut sugar, I think there eventually will be one. Coconut water is raging in the U.S. market now, so the demand has become great. Coconut Bliss recently has had trouble sourcing coconut products for their vegan ice cream – coconut based – due to lack of supply. Of course, lack of supply is much different than sustainability issues, but it will definitely lead to more coconut palm farms being cut out of the jungle in the areas that are supplying the raw materials for the products. Mono-agriculture is never really the best solution for our planet – as you may well know.

But, with that said, every thing we produce in quantity puts a certain strain on the environment. I just hope that we become smarter about how our farming is being done.

The farm we get our cinnamon from is a great example of how to grow multiple crops in harmony – using permaculture techniques.

I want to know your thoughts: Do you know anything about the flavorings of SweetLeaf stevia? Do you know about the sustainability of coconut sugar? Let me know!

**
Interested in Getting Green Leaf Stevia Powder or Banana Powder to Try?

Here’s where you can find stevia:

Buy Stevia Here

Here’s where you can get banana powder:

Buy Banana Powder or Flakes Here

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

40 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Kelley says:

    What are your thoughts on Agave? And Honey?

  2. Tee-Jay says:

    Hi, I thought banana powder was so potent you’d only need ½ teaspoon to ones favorite drink or dessert. I saw your video where you made buckwheat cereal and in that you used ½ cup banana powder. How much does ½ cup banana powder weigh? Is it really as delicious as I think it is?

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Tee-Jay: Yes, it tastes amazing :-)

      @HopandSkip: Seems like a battle of the spin here… the coconut oil producers are mad about their supply being compromised and the coconut palm sugar producers want you to buy more coconut sugar. :-)

  3. venus says:

    It’s more of a question. Would banana powder be considered fructose?

  4. Amanda says:

    Hey guys. Thanks for all the information. I’ve just grown some stevia plants in England. They grow really easily although seed germination rates are poor. I have quite a lot of leaves on the plants and they are almost ready to cut and dry. Normally I grow stuff in the ground but I grew these in a pot as they were precious and I didn’t want the slugs to eat them. Slugs love ‘em. So, I just wanted to say that you should try growing them. They do well in pots so those without gardens could grow them too.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Hmmm . . . I don’t know about the flavors in sweetleaf stevia (which is the brand I use also), but I would definitely be interested to know. As far as coconut sugar sustainability, as I understand, it is from the sap of the coconut tree. So, just as one can harvest maple sap sustainably (which I believe it normally is, at least if it is organic. If it is not organic, I don’t think there are limits to the amount of maple sap one can harvest), one can harvest coconut sap sustainably. But if big companies start draining the coconut trees of all their sap, this could be a problem.

    I have tried the Navitas Naturals raw organic green stevia powder, and love it! I also use the NOW brand organic white stevia powder, which is 100% stevia extract, no maltodextrin, fillers, etc. Being organic, there are no chemicals, and they also use GMP (good manufacturing practices).

    As far as banana sugar goes, for people who don’t have anymore fungal/candida problems (Donna Gates Body Ecology Diet; most people have this problem), the banana sugar may be OK in small amounts with just fruits, or cultured veggies, not combined with other things (for proper food combining). But it is still sugar. Sugar generally doesn’t combine well with any foods, except maybe fruits and cultured veggies; not too practical for use as a sweetener. Even when I am healed and finished with the initial stages of the Body Ecology Diet, I still plan to keep sugar to pretty much zero in my diet, and prefer stevia, birch xylitol, maybe erithrytol (hard to find non GMO though), and possibly vegetable glycerin for sweeteners.

  6. HopandSkip says:

    Hi Kevin,

    Thank you for commenting on that! :0) Here are two websites with conflicting info.

    Believe it to be Sustainable
    http://coconutpalmsugar.com/Sustainability.html

    Believe it to not be Sustainable
    http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/coconut_palm_sugar.htm

    I have mixed feelings about these reports.

    I think the boom in coconut products in general will create more coconut farming, more profit for small communities and underdeveloped areas. I think that of course some big guys will get in there which is not good on many levels.

    On the other hand, people will be eating a product(s) that are much healthier and educating others on the benefits.

    For instance: My mom just started taking coconut oil. She was on a crazy low fat diet for three months and lost a ton of weight, but her brain was getting foggy and her energy was lagging. I suggested her brain was low on fat and that she take coconut oil however she could. (Later, her doctor recommended the same thing). She’s feeling great now!

    Okay, so back to the sustainability. If the second website’s facts are correct, I am sure that the farmers are aware that if they produce coconut sugar, their trees will need to be dedicated to that. I think the overall coconut production will go up…but what if it doesn’t?

    I think it will. Where there is money to made by small or large enterprises, chances are they will plant more coconut trees to supply all the coconut products needed. Will they cut down rainforest? I don’t know. Will they plant on sandy beaches where nothing else is growing? I don’t know.

    I think the next 10 years will tell what is happening with coconut trees,

    About the India coconut market
    http://coconutboard.nic.in/achiev.htm

    A 296 page report about the Phillipines coconut market
    http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADH618.pdf
    States:
    “In terms of emerging development of the product, there are available homegrown
    research technologies like the high-quality coconut functional foods (virgin coconut oil or
    VCO, skim milk, coco meal, coco flour), biodiesel or coco methyl esther (CME),
    activated carbon, geotextile, organic plant media (coco peat), as well as imported coirbased
    technologies. There is a high degree of complementarily, versatility, and
    multiplicity of mutually reinforcing and competitive coconut products. However, they are
    mostly being handled as stand-alone products rather than optimally complementing and
    value-adding products that have synergistic impact on enterprise profitability and
    viability.”

    Sounds like (though I didn’t read all 296 pages) that they are watching what is happening and trying to come up with solutions to make all these coconut by-products, of which there are many, work synergisticly together.

    And, for the sake of argument with the second article about it not being sustainable, one could say the same thing about coconut water…if you take the water out of the coconut, you now cannot sell it as a young coconut…or if you take the oils out…now you cannot use it for…etc. It happens to be that the opinion of the writers of the second website (whom I certainly respect) believe that coconut oil is more important than any other of the coconut by-products. While I tend to agree that it is probably one of the most important products, their argument bears further consideration when one considers all the other products being made with coconuts.

    Like everything, it depends on how they handle the ecosystem and growing practices whether it (coconut sugar) becomes a good thing, or a bad thing. Though I can vote with my own purchase as to what I think, overall I have no control over how they handle this. Maybe someone with more pull than myself can go over there and talk to them. :0)

    At least that’s what I think right now… :0)

    • C.Fletcher says:

      Hi there,

      I believe there’s a difference between Coconut Sugar and Coconut Palm Sugar. Coconut sugar comes from the sap of the flower buds whereas coconut palm sugar comes from the tree. In terms of intake, I believe moderation in everything we do is crucial. Though it is imperative to do your research properly, I’ll suggest not getting too hung up on everything you read, you will just get bogged down and stressed which isn’t good for your health. :D Good luck. :)

  7. Candice says:

    I’ve never been a white stevia fan. I don’t like the chemical taste I find it has. But I’ve ordered the banana powder and flakes and can’t wait to try it. If I like it as much as I think I will, it will be the 1st giveaway I do on my blog!

  8. Oleander says:

    Interesting. I live in the UK and have recently started to use organic black strap molasses. (fairtrade) very addictive, I have to keep eating it! So am limiting my visits to the health shop.

    But honestly, I do find some of the comments etc. on this site ‘indulgent’- Obviously, Kevin, you need to make a living from it, but surely,- eat a healthy non GM organic diet, friut , veg, protein etc (I am a vegan for humanitarian reasons) and forget about it and get on with life and stop navel gazing!

  9. HopandSkip says:

    Jonathan,

    If you are getting your birch xylitol from http://www.globalsweet.com then they also have NON-GMO erithrytol. It is cultured on NON-GMO corn from France (who are very big on non-gmo products). It’s not organic, there is no organic erithrytol in the world right now…but it’s a start. For those that do not know, erithrytol also has prebiotics in it which is why probably that Donna Gates with the Body Ecololgy diet likes it. Helps feed the good bacteria in the intestines. :0)

    Amanda, I am growing my own stevia too for the first time this year! (Planter boxes on the porch) :0) It is so easy to grow isn’t it?!

  10. SAMMY says:

    I find that Home Depot in our area sells stevia plants last year … I have about 5,6 plants growing on … they are very hardy and grow back each season , even if you think they are dead . I use then right off the plant . No questions where it came from or how it is processed !!!
    Grow it fresh !!

  11. Karen Janssen says:

    I recommend growing stevia. It is a great nibble food as it grows. It grows very easily either in pots or the garden. (Protect of course from slugs) Nipping the growth tips increases the number of branches. It is frost tender so either bring it in or greenhouse it in cold winter climates. Mine did fine outdoors in Southern California but here in Southern Oregon I have to protect it in winter.

  12. HopandSkip says:

    Some other quotes from that 296 page article I found interesting:

    “However, with a high incidence of food insecurity and poverty, 90% of coconut
    farmers are still living below the poverty line resulting in peace and order and terrorism problems especially in the major coconut-producing areas.”

    “One of the major threats facing the industry is the declining volume and
    productivity of coconut coupled with limited replanting. This implies long-run
    inadequacy of raw materials for these emerging coconut products from more than 300
    million coconut trees, of which about 25% (75.2 million) are senile and another 15- 20%
    are nutrient deficient (45-60 million trees) with very low level of productivity. Thus, the commercialization of newly developed or emerging coconut products must consider the
    planting or re-planting of coconuts (i.e., replacement of senile trees and balanced
    fertilization in nutrient-deficient areas) to ensure the long-term supply of raw materials for coconut processing.”

    They go on to talk about some new “anti-coconut oil” marketing going on with the soybean, corn and canola groups…including some extra tariffs and sanitary regulations. Very interesting.

    Sounds like there are a lot of other things threatening the coconut market other than coconut sugar…which is not even mentioned in this report.

  13. suzanne says:

    Veronica says she keeps adding more and more stevia to her smoothies, etc. I found that I also kept having to add more to taste the sweetness (liquid mainly). One dropperful wouldn’t sweeten my porridge anymore, not even 2. I wrote to the company asking about it, but no reply, of course.

    Growing yourself: How do I “process” the green leaf for something like porridge. I understand I can put the whole leaf in a smoothie. Do you dry it in the dehydrator and then pestle it to make a powder?

  14. afke says:

    I use dried stevia leaves (from my daughter’s garden in Colorado Springs) to sweeten smoothies or sun teas. Raw Honey, is still your healthiest choice of sweet nectar. Let’s not go overboard on being a 100% vegan.

    We really can satisfy our sweet tooth with – well, sweet fruits like dates, figs, bananas and fresh coconut meats or mylk.

  15. Faith Minier says:

    Kelly; Agave is simply bad, don’t use it. Shocking! See this article “This ‘Tequila’ Sweetener is Far Worse than High Fructose Corn Syrup” at
    http://www.aliveraw.com.
    Honey is a great natural sweetener, but not vegan. If you use it, make sure you buy your honey from a local bee keeper who loves his bees, as the big boys take ALL the honey and feed their bees sugar water which makes weak/sick bees.
    I will not be buying banana powder or flakes, because I don’t need another sweet temptation. My strawberries don’t need added sugar, and personally, I am disappointed in you, Kevin for promoting this product so heavily. I am pretty sure most people get enough (read: too much) sugar already.
    Yes, it is nice to have a healthy alternative, as most people have a sweet tooth, but seriously…dip strawberries in it?
    I love you guys, but…

  16. LynnCS says:

    I am just so grateful to have passed thru the time of binging and obsession with any kind of sugar except natural fruit as a whole food. This is just about my journey and not about anyone elses. It just makes me grateful for not needing to add sweetness. I’ll let you all know if the obsession comes back, but for now it is surrendered. I am just amazed that I am losing weight on fresh fruits and vegetables and reasonable fats. A little goes a long way. I couldn’t want for more. Amazing, that’s what some would call a miracle. No amount of powdered anything could make me add it to my whole, raw, mostly organic, vegan food. Thanks Kevin for the discussion and fhe forum to have it.

  17. Faye says:

    I have found all the comments regarding sugar interesting, to say the least. I for one, am not a “sugar” fan at any level. I don’t care for sweet and sometimes even thinking of sweet turns my stomach. I have my problems with salt though! :-)
    I have tried using Stevia and cannot get past the “bitterness” of it and find no sweetness there at all. The first time I tried it was in powdered form so I bought the tincture flavoured kind in Vanilla and English Toffee and still cannot get past the bitterness. Expensive too! I have not found the excitement about it at all! Is there anyone else like me who has this same reaction?
    In China, they use “sweet potato powder” which is a dehydrated powder from the sweet potato or yam. They use in a lot of their cooking here and I call it China’s best kept secret. It is a little sweet and is also used to thicken soups and stews, etc., just like corn starch or flour. We have no heat here in the winter (I live in Fujian in the South) and it gets down to around 35 degrees F in the winter. That’s cold with no heat inside! So I cook soups and heat some of my food for the sake of keeping warm. I use the sweet potato powder for my soups to thicken them. Has anyone any information about this powder? I am curious to know if anyone out there with some info about it.
    Thanks for all information about sugar Kevin…it looks like you’re not quite finished with this topic yet! ;-)

  18. Savannah says:

    Hi Kevin!

    my comment does not have to do with this post, but i have a really important question. I am 16 years old, almost seventeen and i have been mostly 100% raw for a year now. In october 2010 i broke my jaw and for about two weeks i ate eggs and peanut butter and beans and oats and sweet potatoes. Then I went back to raw as soon as i could chew again. I have only eaten oatmeal maybe 6 times since then and 1 or 2 potaoes and steamed broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage and i had some split peas and lima beans. I have been eating mostly raw recently though. I have a green smoothie most mornings with 2-3 bananas, a box of strawberries 1or 2 leaves of kale and somtimes a peach or nectarine. For lunch I just eat fruit usually unless i have a small salad with apple cider vinegar. Then for dinner i eat a really big salad with a lot of different veggies and 1/2 an avacado and maybe some fruit if i’m still hungry. I don’t eat nuts very often except ill go through fazes where ill eat some frequently but then i go for a while without eating them. I’m worried that i might develop a B12 deficiency and i wanted to know if you had suggestions of foods that i should add back into my diet or if ill be fine with what i am doing. I would prefer not to take any supplements too. I run every day and It helps being slim to run faster and without getting as tired. I’m happy with my diet now but i do not want to develop any health issues because i am not getting B12 or enough protein. Also have there been any cases of high fruit diets and heart problems? I hope to hear back from you, thanks!

    -savannah

  19. Ira Edwards says:

    Faye, you have a salt problem? Many people don’t get enough salt, and with the reduction in salt use with years of anti-salt media, more people are becoming iodine deficient. Research connecting salt use with artery disease is questionable and mostly lacking.
    I use cheap green and white stevia powders sold by the pound from Ameriherb (formery American Herb Co.) in Ames, Iowa. I think it comes from China. The herbal (not chemical) taste does not bother me, because I use lots of herbs anyway. Purer products are available elsewhere with less herbal taste.
    I also use fragmented leaves as part of an herbal tea mix.
    I tried growing plants, and found they require consistent water supply, and a little neglect and they are gone.
    The downside is that most of us are too fond of sweet tastes, and we could benefit by using less sweeteners of any kind.
    Off the topic, I read Lierre Keith’s book THE VEGETARIAN MYTH, and found it thorough, well researched, with information that could save the health of many people.

  20. hyesun says:

    @ jonathon and hopandskip:

    i use organic erythritol by Wholesome Sweeteners. i used to get it at whole foods, but my store doesn’t carry it any more so i order it from amazon. it’s not cheap but it’s the only organic erythritol that i’ve seen.

    @ kevin:

    this is what tropical traditions says about why they don’t sell coconut palm sugar. it’s long but very informative:

    Do you love coconut oil? Then you should definitely be avoiding coconut palm sugar! Coconut palm sugar is the latest coconut product to gain popularity, and its place in the market is expanding rapidly. And for good reason! Coconut palm sugar is being advertised as a healthy sugar; low in the glycemic index and full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It apparently tastes great as well!

    This new success for palm sugar is yielding a high profit for both coconut farmers and retailers in the U.S., as “healthier sugars” are among the new high-demand “health” foods. We are seeing story after story in the Philippines of how coconut farmers are converting their coconut trees into coconut sugar production, collecting the sap from the tree to make this hot new commodity. The process is very simple, allowing anyone with coconut palm trees on their land to easily convert their coconut palms into an instant cash crop that reaps great financial benefits. And as retailers in the U.S. and elsewhere also cash in on this new demand, sadly, the other side of the story is not being told.

    What no one is warning consumers about is that coconut palm trees are meant to produce coconuts, not sugar! When the sap used to make coconut palm sugar is collected from the coconut palm tree, from the flower bud that will eventually form a coconut, that tree can no longer produce coconuts! Think about that for a minute. No coconuts = no coconut oil, no dried coconut, no coconut flour. Is coconut sugar worth giving up these other valued products that come from the coconut??

    The price of coconuts at present is at an all time high in the Philippines, and we are seeing shortages worldwide in all the coconut producing countries. Before the coconut palm sugar market craze, there were already coconut palm trees dedicated to the production of “tuba,” the toddy that comes from the sap of the flowering bud of the coconut palm tree. This tuba is used to make coconut vinegar, but mostly it is used for lambanong, an alcoholic beverage best described as “coconut vodka.” This is an established market in the Philippines, and you can be sure that for the most part, these coconut palm trees that have been used to produce coconut vodka are not just all of a sudden being converted to coconut sugar production! No, coconut palms that were formerly producing coconuts that were used in the production of coconut oil or desiccated coconut are now being converted to coconut sugar production, because a farmer can make more money from the simple coconut sugar production than they can from selling the coconuts to wholesale coconut commodity brokers.

    As it stands now, coconut palm sugar is not a sustainable industry. High consumer demand for coconut palm sugar is competing with increased demand for coconut oil and other coconut products. There are also no standards for coconut palm sugar production, and many of the nutrient claims are unfounded, as the quality of the coconut palm sugar will vary greatly depending on the type of tree the sap is collected from, the age of the tree, the time of year (rainy season or dry season), etc.

    So the next time you think about purchasing some coconut palm sugar, you need to ask yourself, “Do I need this more than I need coconut oil, dried coconut, or coconut flour? Am I willing to pay a higher price for coconut oil and other coconut products so that more trees can be sacrificed for coconut palm sugar production, or at some point even go without these products just so I can have coconut palm sugar?” The Philippine Coconut Authority in the Philippines is wisely recommending people to plant coconut trees especially for coconut sugar production, particularly the “dwarf” breeds that are shorter and can grow faster (average of 5 years instead of 10 years.) But as long as consumers continue to demand coconut palm sugar at the present time, you can be sure that growers and harvesters in the Philippines will not wait many years to allow the supply to catch up when they can make a greater profit now. If current trends continue, coconuts will soon be so scarce and the price of coconut oil will be so high that only the rich and famous will be able to afford it.

    There is a reason why the coconut sugar is so nutritious. It feeds the coconut flower that grows into a wonderful coconut, from which we get such healthy products like coconut oil! Coconut oil is unique in nature because of its fatty acid structure. Only human breast milk contains similar amounts of medium chain fatty acids. Healthy sugars, on the other hand, abound in nature. Honey is among the healthiest, and honey production is much more sustainable than coconut palm sugar. The Philippines and other tropical areas are rich with native flowering tropical plants that could be utilized for wonderful tropical honeys. So please, let’s NOT sacrifice our coconut oil for coconut palm sugar!

    ok, and finally, i feel like i’m addicted to stevia also. or maybe it’s just a sweets addiction – i’ve always had a huge sweet tooth. oh, and i did call the sweetleaf company a while ago to find out more about their natural flavor, and i really can’t remember what they said, except that it wasn’t MSG (as many “natural flavors” are). they even added it to their unflavored liquid extract, and i’m not sure why. i wish they would have just left it as it had been before, with no added natural flavor.

  21. Ira Edwards says:

    To Savannah,
    Kevin likely has good answers. We all respect him greatly.
    Have you heard of nutritionism? Another term is orthorexia nervosa. Too much obsession with healthy eating can be deadly, leading to anorexia or numerous lesser conditions. Most people do pretty well just eating what they like if that isn’t too much junk, though too many of them get diabetes and obesity. There is a heppy balance. Again, I recommend the book THE VEGETARIAN MYTH.
    Ira Edwards, author of HONEST NUTRITION.

  22. Ken says:

    Summary: Buy my banana powder.

    Kevin, it’s really annoying the way that all your material as of late is about generating more sales. I know how it works and can see the manipulation behind the scenes. I encourage you to use your position of power to create real lasting change, not just to build your own bank account. How much money do you and the likes of Matt Monarch and others need? Is the natural life now all about finding products that sell well, or is it about a return to and reverence for nature?

    Life is so much more than diet, namely ALL of our collective birthrights to unrestricted access to Sun, Air, Water, and Earth. It’s funny to me that so called natural eaters can’t seem to think their way out of that box having invested themselves completely in a system that takes away these rights by its design…

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Ken: If that’s all you got from this article, you clearly read it with blinders. We offer high quality products like any other health food store, or co-op around the planet does. In fact, we’re 1000% more selective about it and only sell products we use and like and are worthy enough of having our name on them. Also, the manipulation behind the scenes is… our active roll in assisting and supporting the 2012 ballot initiative to label GMOs in California. Real slimy, huh? :-)

      Kev

  23. Savannah says:

    Ira,

    thank you for responding! I have heard of orthorexia and i think i might have it. I love the light feeling i get from being raw but my chest has felt really weird lately and it’s scaring me so i just today ate two eggs. I hate to do it but i’d rather be safe then sorry. So until i know for sure that i am not in danger eating this type of diet i think i might eat maybe 2 eggs every once in a while. I hope it helps. My mom thinks that it might be too much acidity in my esaphagus from apple cider vinegar and fruit. I might start taking nutritional yeast too because i’d really rather not eat eggs. I run a lot and especially now during cross country season, so i’ll need to be really careful. thanks again for you response!

    -savannah

    • angela says:

      Savannah,

      I really do have to comment, just based on personal opinion and life experience…you are young and being young need extra requirements for proper growth or you WILL have health problems later. Healthy eating is one thing, BUT you need everything in moderation. There is proof that you cannot get the SAME protein from beans, legumes and substitutes as you can from meat. Just like a baby cannot get the SAME nutrition from formula as from mothers milk. That being said, yes, many people eat vegan and raw….most make that decision (at least that I know) later in life, but if you are already seeing potential problems, you need change now. If you run alot, you need the protein to build lost muscles, healthy fats to keep the body functioning properly. Even cutting all read meat as an effect…you need IRON to grow properly and read meat on occasion is the best thing. (I know some of you just cringed…but some things are needed in the body at one time or another) Children are at risk of parents obsessions. Just as a parent would be negligent from feeding her children junk food all the time and cause health issues, so is a parent who forces their over-the-top healthy eating and cuts meats and dairy from the child. That child has a higher risk of growing up with less density in the bones, lower muscle tone, smaller build and weaker system in general, just as a child who east junk has a shorter life expectancy, higher risk of heart problems, and son on. Now as many are now mummbling under your breath at me…this is not saying vegan/vegetarian/raw diets are bad, but a lifetime of eliminating essentials , too much or too little of anything is bad for you. Moderation in everything is the key. Adults have the abilities to make their own decisions, children have to do what they are told. As an adult you have had your time to grow and get all the things you needed growing up, and those that didn’t know all too well that it does affect the body later on. It is confusing as there is ALOT of controversy on what is good/bad, right/wrong….but look at mother nature. Each animal and insect and plant has their own way of eating….now all babies in the animal kingdom feed off of mother…milk…insect get larval food or…mommy to eat. Getting strong is the key until they are on their own. After that they follow instincts…that of which has been breed out of us over time. We as humans are easily influenced and lost our abilities to listen to our mind/body and soul. Even carnivores eat their vegs! (the stomach of their pray is usually one of the first things eaten and contains all the plant nutrients. omnivores eat both…self explanitory (humans in this category) and herbavors…eat plants…leaves, tree parts, roots, flowers…BUT within those plants are…yup…bugs. They get their protein from that. So think about it. I don’t agree with the way we slaughter animals for consumption, harvest mass man made farms that take over nature or anything of the like. BUT if you try to live free (and it’s hard) then do it to the best of your ability. Give your body what it NEEDS not what you can substitute instead. Grow what you can, buy local what you can’t and research both sides of everything…get both sides of the story and look at short term AND long term effects before running blind into change. I know this is a long post, but I don’t want to see yet another brain washed child learn the hard way and wish they had someone show them. I hope to just open your common sense gene a little so YOU can make an informed decision on your OWN, educated and researched. There is no right and wrong…there is only necessary and educated. Once you have education and learn what is necessary, all paths with that knowledge will lead to good.

  24. Lee says:

    To satisfy sweet cravings, and/or simply the sweet taste, eat more sweet vegetables on a regular basis: carrots, cabbage, onions, parsnips, leeks, sweet potatoes ( the ruby colored ones, not yams!)cauliflower. Eat some whole grains, and most importantly: chew all your food well. Over time, your tastes will change, and simple foods, well chewed, will taste sweeter and help to satisfy that sweet tooth. In winter, be sure to eat the winter squashes. Keep to fruits in season, and too much fruit in winter for instance, will lead to feeling cold and hungry…..better to have the sweet veggies, pureed sweet veggie soups are wonderful, very soothing to the pancreas! Also, try the grain sweeteners, less extreme than the fruit-based sweeteners, or honey. Barley malt and brown rice syrup metabolize more slowly…….

  25. Velda says:

    A guy that works at Trader Joes one time told me that the white stevia was made from the flower of the stevia plant, and the green is made from the green leaves. I don’t know enough about how the stevia plant grows to know whether or not this is true.

  26. Ken says:

    @ Kevin Gianni Kevin, I’ve met you before and know you’re a nice guy who means well. My point is that if the natural health leaders, of which I consider you to be one, turned people back to nature, you wouldn’t have to worry about things like GMO’s. That’s like applying a tourniquet to a bleeding wound. You got to get to the source of the misery to actually stop the bleeding.

    In other words, the closer we live to Sun, Air, Water and Earth the faster things will heal on ALL levels. That’s where alot of the natural food guru’s fall short and are called out by people as hucksters out to make a buck. People instinctively know that selling products is not the same as saying turn back to raw primal nature where the REAL healing will occur.

    Forgive the flowery language but the following passage from the Essene Gospel of Peace illustrates this. GMO issues only come about to the degree that we are away from the Source of Life itself…

    Respectively Ken

    And Jesus answered: “God gave, by Moses, ten commandments to your forefathers. ‘These commandments are hard,’ said your forefathers, and they could not keep them. When Moses saw this, he had compassion on his people, and would not that they perish. And then he gave them ten times ten commandments. For he whose feet are strong as the mountain of Zion, needs no crutches; but he whose limbs do shake, gets further having crutches, than without them. And Moses said to the Lord: ‘My heart is filled with sorrow, for my people will be lost. For they are without knowledge, and are not able to understand thy commandments. They are as little children who cannot yet understand their father’s words. Suffer, Lord, that I give them other laws, that they may not perish. if they may not be with thee, Lord, let them not be against thee; that they may sustain themselves, and when the time has come, and they are ripe for thy words, reveal to hem thy laws.’ For that did Moses break the two tablets of s tone whereon were written the ten commandments, and he gave them ten times ten in their stead. And of these ten times ten the Scribes and Pharisees have made a hundred times ten commandments. And they have laid unbearable burdens on your shoulders, that they themselves do not carry. For the more nigh are the commandments to God, the less do we need; and the farther they are from God, then the more do we need. Wherefore are the laws of the Pharisees and Scribes innumerable; the laws of the Son of Man seven; of the angels three; and of God one.

  27. Sharelyn Dietz says:

    I am confused. I use a little Stevia powder (white) every day that I get in a very concentrated form from Trader Joe’s. There are 622 servings in a one ounce container. The reason I use this instead of the green leaf stevia is because I have used 2 different brands of the green leaf stevia and both gave me a headache. I used them more than once to make sure it wasn’t coincidence. They must take something out when they turn it to a powder that gives me a killer headache if left in. I always thought something less processed would be better for me but not in this case. What do you think is the reason I can’t tolerate it in its natural form?

  28. I totally agree that powdered Stevia is not the greatest. That’s why I always go for the liquid extract and be sure to find the brand with the most conscious processing system. The best I’ve found? Amazon Herb Company. They use spagyric processing and every time I buy Stevia from them, I am contributing to rainforest sustainability:

    http://bit.ly/pqyflQ

  29. Ira Edwards says:

    Right, Kevin. Let me add some details.
    The veins of the stevia leaf are very bitter. A good green preparation separates and discards the veins. Then the leaf is shredded or powdered. I wonder if some vein component causes the headaches, or it can be a component of the green leaf.
    White stevia is an extraction of the green part, and the quality of that extraction varies. Truvia and PureVia are the purest extraction of the sweetest of many chemical components. I don’t use those, because I will not do business with Coke or Pepsi.
    Stevia packets have a little stevia with a lot of filler.

  30. Selene says:

    @Savannah — I strongly urge you to see a nutritionist or an integrative physician. You need qualified, well-trained help with your diet. There are plenty of compassionate, conscious health professionals who are knowledgeable about and advocates of vegetarianism. They will do blood tests to find out exactly what’s going on with you and take a complete physical history. Please do not seek help solely online; what you find can in no way replace in-person support and, in fact, can be dangerous. I’m sure that, if you ask your mother to help you, you can find someone locally. Best of luck to you.

  31. I prefer to use Stevia in its green form for everything from tea to savory recipes…

  32. tom says:

    I have been using “SweetLeaf” stevia sweetnener (with inulin as an added ingredient) for a while but have noticed a serious GI discomfort , (which goes away when the gas is expelled ) when using this product with a Greek style yogurt but not noticable with other yogurts. I only purchase non sweetened yogurt and usually add blueberries with no added sugar.

    There is no inulin in the yogurts I buy.

    Is it the combo of inulin with this type of stevia and the yogurt with the healthy bacteria that is giving me the discomfort? Is there a stevia that can be purchased with any additives on the market?

    thank you

  33. Fresia says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the article.
    As an addition, I’d like to point out that any time I have consumed this product, I hear strong heart palpitations, same as aspartame in the past.

    I have stopped it.

  34. Sherry Patterson says:

    To Kevin or anyone else that may have concerns about any artificial sweetners,

    Some people, myself included, cannot use artificial sweetners as they are toxic to us. Suspected it in the late 80′s, confirmed it in the 90′s. And yet you will have people, family included, who will invariably try to make you eat it even to the point of slipping you food that is made with it under the guise of telling you that whatever they are giving you is made with whole sugar. I don’t necessarily condone just using whole sugar as it isn’t particular great for you either, especially the refined to death kind (Hmmm…wonder why that is?). I can use pure honey, pure 100% maple syrup, agave, and probably a few others that I haven’t tried. I do use refined sugar but in moderation. Coffee just doesn’t taste the same with another sweetner and I limit myself to a 2C.mug a day.

    What I do know is that my taste buds are very sensitive and the only artificial sweetner, that I have tried to date, which is undetectable to me in foods is Splenda and I avoid it like the plague, also. All the others burn my taste buds as soon as it hits them. They all have the same bodily effects on me. In order as they appear: Nausea, dizziness, skin prickles, profuse clammy, sticky, running sweat…and by the time all that hits….I better be in the bathroom as Im losing it from both ends at the same time. Not a very pretty spectacle or feeling. Splenda has the same affect, even though it doesn’t burn my taste buds. It seems to be a liver toxicity that happens because there is bile dump when this happens and always approximatelly 15 to 20 minutes of ingestion.

    I have several health complaints…but then I am 61 years of age and over the years lots of things have developed.
    Fibromyalgia (is a legit ailment…nerve related), Arthritis, Degenerative discs, Gout Arthritis, Hi BP and now Type II diabetes, not medically controlled but by foods and cinnamon. My foods are for the most part healthy.
    For the young runner….You must have fats and proteins in your diet. Everything works in tandem. Make sure your fats ar the healthy kind and there are many vegetable proteins and irons. I personally am a carnivore of sorts. Mostly chicken and fish. You, also, must have some carbohydrates as your brain food is mostly carbs. Fats tend to your hair, nails and skin and a few other things. Without enough, you might end up hairless, nail-less and your skin falling off in strips. Everything in moderation and nothing completely shut out. Remember that God put every living thing on this world for our use…including minerals. The LORD knew what he was doing.

    ALL chemically produced artificial sweetners are TOXIC to the human body! And if you trust the companies that make them who tell you different and that their product is the ‘next best thing to white bread’ (and it’s not good for you either…pure glucose when eaten), I’ve got a couple of famous bridges I’ll sell you.

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