Are the Claims Made in the Latest Truvia™ Commerical True?

I have recently seen the Truvia™ commercial below several times on TV:

It was noticeable to me because of the irritatingly bad song throughout it. At first, I couldn’t believe they even used the song, let alone made it the central theme of the commercial. Maybe it was an attempt at reverse-psychology or they didn’t want you to notice any subliminal messages. Whatever the case, I noticed it BUT I didn’t like it.

After I got over my initial negative reaction, I got to thinking about the claims they made and thought I’d find out if they were true.

Claim #1 – Zero Calorie

The ingredients for a packet of Truvia™ are erythritol, rebiana and natural flavors. According to the label information on the Truvia™ website, a 3.5 gram serving contains zero calories and has 3 grams of carbohydrates. In an email response from the company, they explain the variance between the caloric count and the carbohydrate count by saying it is because the body cannot convert Truvia™ to glucose or blood sugar. This means that it cannot use it for energy, so it does not contribute to the calorie count. But let’s take a look at the individual ingredients to see if we can find out more.

Erythritol is a polyol or sugar alcohol created when glucose (from corn) is fermented with a yeast. Cargill created the Zerose version that is present in Truvia™. The Food and Drug Administration states that erythritol has a caloric value of 0.2 calories per gram. So if you consume a packet of 3.5 grams, you are actually consuming 0.7 calories.

Rebiana is the common name for an extract of rebaudioside-A in stevia leaves. Stevia is an herb native to South America that has been used as a natural sweetener for centuries. I could not find anything official regarding the caloric count of Rebiana, rebaudioside-A or Stevia. Everyone seems to consider them to be zero-calorie foods but unfortunately I could not find any reputable sources to confirm it. If anyone knows a true and accurate source of information regarding Rebiana, please contact me. For now, we will just have to believe the general consensus.

Natural Flavors is a bit more tricky. The Food and Drug Administration defines natural flavor as an essential oil, oleoresin, extracted or essence, protein hydrolysate or distillate. The natural flavors in Truvia™ are the derivatives from the stevia plant, according to the manufacturer. So, we have to presume that they are zero-calorie as well – assuming that the claims regarding Stevia’s calorie count are accurate.

This claim is partially true and gets less true as you eat more Truvia™. So, if you decide to consume it, use it in moderation if you are worried about calories.

Claim #2 – Guilt-free

This is a bit more difficult to determine. The assumption they want everyone to make is that you can ‘have your cake and eat it too’ without worrying about any possible ill-effects such as weight gain or high blood-sugar levels. Truvia™ is metabolized first in the gut where the steviol glycosides are broken down to steviol. The steviol is excreted in the urine as steviol glucuronide. So basically, it is changed by your body as it goes through your system but it is not absorbed. So, if your definition of ‘guilt-free’ is something you can eat but that does not cause your body to change, then this claim is true.

Claim #3 – No artificiality

Merriam Webster dictionary defines Artificial as ‘humanly contrived often on a natural model.’ Even though all of the ingredients in Truvia‘ begin as natural substances, they all must go through processes created and performed by humans to become the combination found in the sweetener. So, my conclusion is that this claim is false.

What do you think? Have you tried Truvia™? Do you like it? I would love to hear your comments on the blog, facebook or via twitter.

To learn more:

Food and Drug Administration
Zerose Official Website
Truvia Offical Website

Glucose is produced commercially via the enzymatic hydrolysis of starch