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Stevia In The Raw Review (Packets)

Updated Review Date: 06/08/2017
Original Review Date: 08/15/2012

         Looking for an new sweetener, or a replacement for real sugar? If so then you should have a look at Stevia In The Raw. Its sweetness comes from one of the sweetest extracts of Stevia leaves called rebausioside-A, which also goes by a couple of trade names such as Rebiana or Reb-A. a very sweet steviol glycoside naturally produced by stevia leaves. Stevia In The Raw has only one ingredient besides the extract itself and that ingredient is dextrose. Dextrose (basically glucose) is a simple-sugar derived mostly from GMO corn, unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. Cumberland Packing Corp. is the manufacturer of Stevia In The Raw and states on their product website that "dextrose is used to dilute the very potent stevia leaf extract to make it measurable for consumers; dextrose does not alter the sweet flavor of the Stevia".
         Stevia In The Raw is also considered to be calorie free with less than 1 gram of carbohydrates per packet. Considering this, it's diabetic-friendly and one of many choices for anyone looking to eliminate their dietary intake of sugar but still wants to sweeten their beverages. The packets of Stevia In The Raw are currently available in boxes of 50, 100, 500, and bulk packs of 800, 1000 and 1200.
         If you'd like to know more about stevia extract in particular, you can read an article I posted about stevia in the articles section.
         Now let's have look at the nutrition, ingredients and overall product rating. Be sure to pay particular attention to the Health Factor section for this product.

Nutrition Information for Stevia In The Raw

A single packet of Stevia In The Raw, which is the equivalent sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar, has the following nutritional values:

Calories: Less than 4 (dietetically considered zero by the FDA)
Sodium: 0mg
Sugars: Less than 1g (from dextrose)
Carbohydrates: Less than 1g

Ingredients of Stevia Extract In The Raw

Dextrose, Stevia Leaf Extract (Rebiana).

The Scorecard for Stevia In The Raw

Based on the four point rating system, which allows a maximum of one point for each category, here are the results:

Taste: The core taste of Stevia In The Raw is quite good but there's a slight bitter-then-sweet aftertaste in most but not all dinks I tried it in and when I sampled it by itself. For example, in the various unsweetened Kool-Aid mixes (Grape, Orange, Fruit Punch and regular Cherry) and some fresh squeezed lemonade, I had a bitter taste (aside from the lemonade) for a second followed by a sweet aftertaste, but it did fine in hot black tea and coffee as long as I used a certain amount. That was the strange part; if I used only one packet in an 8oz cup of coffee or black tea I had the bitter-then-sweet aftertaste but if used 1.5 packets I had none. Odd but true for my taste buds. Thinking I had just simply not used enough in the Kool-Aid mixes and fresh lemonade I made, I added more but to no avail. However, even with the slight bitter-the-sweet aftertaste it's still a good tasting product and far less bitter than earlier Stevia extract precursors from other companies, but at the same time it could be a little sweeter on the initial taste in my opinion. Because of the slight bitter-then-sweet aftertaste and the fact that it could be sweeter when you first take sip of whatever it's mixed with, there's a .25 point deduction. Keep in mind though taste is always a subjective test and you may or may not notice it at all. (+.75)

Packaging Waste: The packaging is not excessive and both the exterior product box and the interior packets are made of paper fiber and 100% recyclable, so it's a top score here. (+1)

Value: On average, sweeteners made from Stevia extract are more expensive than artificial sweeteners and real sugar due to the extraction process, but they are not expensive enough for it to affect the overall value when compared to other stevia extract based sweeteners. The ratio of value to dollar spent is very good and the product is priced competitively. (+1)

Health Factor: Back in June of 2016, there was some litigation concerning the claim of Stevia In The Raw being a 100% natural sweetener, when in fact its not since it uses GMO corn-based dextrose. The case was settled and their packaging has been updated to remove the 100% natural claim - the product box slogan was changed from "100% Natural Zero Calorie Sweetener" to "Zero Calorie Sweetener". While I do like the fact that it only has 2 ingredients, their website is not nearly transparent enough in my opinion about some of the most important aspects associated with stevia based sweeteners. Important information such as what type of extraction process is used to obtain the steviol glycoside rebaudioside-A and whether or not the supply chain is monitored for product quality are nowhere to be found. They do have a supply chain disclosure stating compliance with the California Transparency In Supply Chains Act of 2010, but the listed information only pertains to avoidance of forced labor and human trafficking; there's no mention about supply chain product quality monitoring. Because other manufacturers that have been through similar litigation either made changes to their product formulation and/or initiated a higher level of transparency on their product website, Stevia In The Raw loses .25 of a point here.
          Just a heads-up here: there will be an upcoming article posted about dextrose including GMO and non-GMO based forms of it. Back on track...the added dextrose in Stevia In The Raw is dietetically insignificant and overall it has fewer calories per packet than some popular artificial sweeteners. The product is listed by the American Diabetes Association as a viable alternative to sugar and Stevia In The Raw gets a decent score for the health factor in my opinion. (+.75)

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 4. A decent score and worth a try despite its small sweetness deficiency and slightly bitter-then-sweet aftertaste, which you might not experience at all given the difference in people's sense of taste.

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