Rootana the Complete Meal Replacement Shake without Stevia
Stevia is a popular ingredient in meal replacement shakes and protein supplements, and it is easy to see why. It contains virtually no calories and provides a sweet taste to help improve the flavour of your drink. But not everybody wants stevia in their diet, nor do they want sucralose or sugar alcohols. That’s why Rootana is a complete meal replacement shake without stevia.
What is Stevia?
Stevia is a plant (Stevia rebaudiana) that grows in South America, the chemical compounds found in this plant are called Steviol glycosides, and they are around 50-300 times sweeter than sugar. The body does not process Steviol glycosides, meaning that they provide no nutrition but, crucially, no calories either.
You could theoretically consume handfuls of Steviol glycosides, and your calorie intake would remain at zero. The plant leaves are often used in traditional recipes in Paraguay and Brazil. But there is a difference between the plant and the stevia that is used in meal replacement shakes.
Steviol glycosides are extracted from stevia leaves via drying and a hot water extraction process. They are then crystalised using ethanol or methanol.
While Steviol glycosides are not artificial in the same way that sucralose is, you can see why many people consider them to be lab-made, thanks to the hot water extraction process and the use of ethanol and methanol.
Healthline points out that “many stevia products have very little stevia in them at all”. This is due to companies blending stevia with sugar alcohols or other sweeteners .
Why Do Some People Dislike Stevia?
It should be pointed out that many people have no problem whatsoever with stevia, but there are a number of people who dislike it. There are usually three reasons behind this: They don’t like the taste, they are concerned about their gut health, or they feel that stevia is too close to an artificial sweetener for their liking.
As with all foods, taste is subjective. What is loved by some can be hated by others. Stevia has a unique, bitter/sweet taste that reminds some people of liquorice. The aftertaste, in particular, is often cited by people as a reason why they avoid stevia products.
While stevia is deemed completely safe by authorities, there is mounting evidence that non-nutritive sweeteners (which include stevia) may cause harm to gut microbiota. Nettleton et al. (2019) found that stevia consumption altered gut microbiota composition in rats over a 12-week period .
Now, there are lots of foods that are perfectly safe but can also alter gut microbiota, but if your gut health is of the utmost importance to you, then it is understandable why you would want to avoid non-nutritive sweeteners such as stevia.
Whether you personally class stevia as a natural or artificial sweetener, it is certainly true that it is not as natural as many companies would like you to believe. Nor, in fairness, is it as artificial as many suspect. It represents a middle ground. But whatever you believe, it is understandable that many people dislike stevia for this exact reason.
These are the three reasons why most people dislike stevia. There are some people who dislike it for other reasons, with many complaining that it can cause upset stomachs, constipation and bloating, but these are tied to reason #2 (gut health).
What are the Other Artificial Sweeteners?
Meal replacement shakes don’t just use stevia, though. Many use more traditional artificial sweeteners. Here is a quick breakdown of which artificial sweeteners are commonly used in meal replacement shakes and where they come from.
For a more comprehensive look at the common sweeteners used in meal replacement shakes, check out our article here.
Sucralose is, by far, the most commonly used artificial sweetener in the meal replacement shake industry. Sucralose is regular sucrose that is enhanced in a lab via chlorination to be 600x sweeter than normal. This allows you to use much smaller amounts to provide the same level of sweetness.
Sugar alcohols are also popular in meal replacement shakes, but they tend to be unpopular with many people due to their side effects. Many people notice that sugar alcohols such as xylitol and sorbitol can cause upset stomachs, nausea, and bloating.
Aspartame is probably the most well-known artificial sweetener, but it is actually quite rare in meal replacement shake powders. If it is used, it is only used in ready-made shakes. This is because aspartame loses its sweetness when it is exposed to heat. As many meal replacement powders are promoted as being able to be used in baking, aspartame is not particularly helpful.
Why Rootana is a Complete Meal Replacement Shake without Stevia
At Rootana, we don’t have a problem with artificial sweeteners or novel sweeteners such as stevia. We just don’t want them in our formula. We wanted to provide a complete meal replacement shake without stevia or any additives.
This provides people with greater choice when it comes to their health and nutrition. If you are trying to improve your gut microbiome, then using a meal replacement shake that does not contain non-nutritive sweeteners and instead contains natural ingredients and ones that are high in fibre is a sensible decision.
Rootana is designed to be as natural as possible. It uses real food ingredients to provide you with all of the health benefits you need to lead a vibrant lifestyle.
What Does Rootana Use Instead of Stevia?
Rootana uses natural coconut sugar to sweeten its shakes instead of artificial sweeteners. Coconut sugar is found in the sap of the coconut tree. When the sap is removed, it is laid out to dry naturally in the sun, where it forms crystals.
Coconut sugar is a healthier alternative to regular sugar, as it is a lot less processed and therefore retains more of the vitamins, minerals, and even fibre that can be found in natural sugars. Only a small amount of coconut sugar is needed to sweeten a Rootana shake, which is why Rootana has such a low sugar content.
Although we’ve talked about why Rootana does not use stevia, we do not believe that stevia is harmful to you. Rootana was created for people who want to improve their nutrition, and we decided that using natural ingredients such as coconut sugar was preferable to artificial or novel sweeteners.
Rootana is so much more than a stevia-free shake. It is a plant-based, highly nutritious complete meal shake that contains lots of healthy fats, protein, fibre, and low GI carbohydrates. It is designed to help busy people upgrade their nutrition as simply as possible.
If you are looking for a stevia-free meal shake, then Rootana is your ideal product. If you are looking for a healthy meal shake that tastes great and is high in protein, then Rootana is still your ideal meal shake!