All Sugar-Free Sweeteners are NOT the same:
Most of us have heard about Stevia and sugar-free sweeteners. It is often compared to other sugar-free sweeteners but not all of them are same. For diabetic folks, sugar control is much more important than calories per se and something that can be achieved if we pay attention to the Glycemic Index (GI) of ingredients and food. The Glycemic Index of various Sugar-free sweeteners is useful to draw a fair comparison between them and to make safe choices. You will find more about the merits of low GI vs High GI foods here. This is also the reason we have chosen to work with only the lowest GI sugar-free sweeteners like Stevia.
Artinci’s Stevia based Natural Sweetener Tested and Certified:
What’s more, this is also why we researched and invented our own sweetener blend - this blend uses sweeteners on the lowest end of the glycemic index. This blend has been further tested and certified as Low GI at the Central Food Technology and Research Institute (CFTRI, Mysore). Here’s details of the ingredients that go into Artinci’s Sweetener.
While we now know the ill effects of High GI foods and their negative impact on blood sugar, the sum of many medium or low GI foods, combined with processing and cooking them (like whipping, heating, baking) etc . raises the GI of the finished product. All of this validates our approach of working only with ingredients that are lowest on the Glycemic Index scale. Yes, at Artinci, we are all about responsible indulgence.
Are Sugar Free Sweeteners like Stevia safe overall?
- Maltitol, the most popular sweetener today in the industry, has a GI of 35 in its powdered form, while Maltitol syrup has a GI of 52. Maltitol is a sweetener with calories from carbs. It has about 2-3 calories per gram ,not much better than that of sugar at 4 calories per gram.
- Maltodextrin is another extremely popular ingredient - this is used as a bulking agent in Big Food. It appears in everything from Khichdi seasoning to sauces to chips to even sweeteners, marketed as healthy (yes, cynical, I know!)
Unfortunately, Maltodextrin is anything but healthy! It has a GI of 110, it breaks down into blood glucose very quickly, and can have a negative effect on blood sugar, if it is consumed repeatedly, in the form of packaged processed food. So when you find it in a protein powder marketed at diabetics, you know that irony just died :(
Always Read the Ingredients Labels:
As a new mother, I trained myself 15 years ago, to read nutrition in food ingredient labels, I quickly learned that front of pack claim (100% wheat bran) was not matched in in back of pack ingredient proportions, where 100% wheat-bran, though indeed present as an ingredient, made up only <5-10% of the entire product.
So this need to work with only the lowest Glycemic Index ingredients like Stevia, and the need to match the front of pack & back of the pack have come from a deeply personal space.
This is one of Artinci’s superpowers really, and we love to advocate for everyone to learn how to read ingredient labels and nutrition information. I’ll write a separate post on this soon.
What is Stevia?
Stevia, derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant native to South America, is a natural sweetener that's 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar without any calories or carbs. Its active compounds, steviol glycosides, particularly stevioside and rebaudioside A, impart its sweetness and aren't metabolized, attributing to its zero-calorie feature. Widely approved as a food additive across countries, stevia offers benefits like being heat-stable, pH-stable, and assisting in weight and blood sugar management. You can read about health benefit of Stevia here.