It’s a fact; the vast majority of us just don’t get enough vegetables in our diets, particularly greens.
Generally, it’s because greens have a perception of not tasting that great no matter how they’re cooked or prepared, but that’s where the emergence of greens powders has come to the fore.
Greens powders offer the chance of getting all your essential nutrients in one easy scoop a day in a delicious, convenient, and nutritious greens supplement.
In recent years the greens powders niche has erupted in popularity mainly due to people wanting to take care of themselves physically and because they’re very convenient and take almost no time in preparation.
But what about sugar? Why do these greens powders taste slightly sweet?
This article will look at what type of sugars greens manufacturers use and whether they’re healthy for daily consumption. We’ll also take a quick look at what to look for in a high-quality greens powder.
What Sugars Are Used In Greens
When it comes to the types of sugars that are generally used in greens supplements, only two really come to mind; Stevia and Monk Fruit.
Stevia and monk fruit are both natural extracts that are sweet-tasting, low in calories, and generally recognized as healthy alternates to processed white sugar.
Stevia has been recognized and goes as far back as the 16th century, where it was used to sweeten drinks and even make therapeutic teas, used by indigenous tribes to support health and well-being.
The plant is native to South America but is also produced now in Asian countries such as China and Japan. Stevia is referred to as a “non-nutritive” sweetener.
In 1987 The United States Food and Drug Administration outlawed the promotion of stevia as a food additive; however, in 1995, the FDA reinstated stevia as an approved dietary compound. Since then, stevia has risen in popularity, with a whopping 58% of new supplements that comprise stevia. (1)
Health Benefits Of Stevia
With our fast-paced lifestyle, many of us are forced to eat or drink while we’re on the run; unfortunately, most fast food drinks are loaded with sugars that can negatively affect our health, particularly our weight.
Stevia contains no sugar; yep, you heard me right, stevia contains NO SUGAR. This means you can add stevia to your beverage or supplement without the fear of consuming too many calories.
Studies have shown that stevia has little to no calories and, as such, makes them the perfect addition to greens powders.
One of the significant benefits of stevia is that it does not affect blood glucose or insulin response. Those who have diabetes can significantly benefit from stevia as it allows them to eat various meals and supplements without worrying about detrimental health effects.(2)
Stevia And Children
Stevia is used in many children’s foods like muesli bars, snack bars, cereals, and beverages. This keeps the sugar content to a minimum and keeps calories reduced to a healthy level.
There have been numerous studies done looking at the safety of stevia, most of which have concluded stevia to be safe.
Stevia extract is recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as GRAS or Generally Recognized As Safe.
Initially, researchers thought stevia was responsible for harming kidneys, but in fact, subsequent studies have shown that not only is that not the case, stevia actually protects the kidneys and mitigates the adverse effects of diabetes.(3)
Monk fruit grows in some regions of South East Asia, in particular countries such as Thailand and China. Dating as far back as the 13th century, Buddhist monks first used monk fruit as a type of herbal medicine.
Fresh monk fruit turns rotten very quickly, which is why the native tradition was to dry the fruit to enjoy its therapeutic health benefits. Monk fruit is now used as a natural sweetener in many foods, beverages, and, of course, greens powders.
Monk fruit is generally recognized to be 150 times sweeter than traditional sugar and contains no calories.
The Benefits Of Monk Fruit
- Monk Fruit contains no calories, which is a significant health benefit for those looking to lose or maintain weight.
- Monk Fruit also has no carbohydrates and again is perfect for those looking to stay slim and healthy
- Monk fruit has no sugar making it ideal for those who have diabetes as it does not negatively affect blood sugar levels.
Monk fruit is also a rich source of antioxidants that help find and fight against harmful free radicals. Free radicals can cause harmful long-term damage to the body, so you can enjoy the antioxidant effects by supplementing with extracted monk fruit.(4)
The mogrosides that are found in monk fruit may also be responsible for controlling appropriate blood sugar levels. Research has shown that mogroside extracts may help limit complications deriving from diabetes, although researchers suggest more studies are required to determine the long-term effects.
The Cons Of Monk Fruit
- Most people might be surprised to learn that monk fruit is incredibly challenging to grow, which brings with it a high price tag.
- Monk Fruit has a unique aftertaste that many people find sickly and, oddly enough, slightly bitter. The extracts can also leave a nasty aftertaste.
- Because monk fruit has a unique aftertaste, many manufactures try to offset that by mixing it with other sugars like dextrose and maltodextrin. By combining it with other sugars, the taste can be affected along with the nutritional profile of the supplement itself.
As you can see, using sweeteners in greens is of paramount importance for several reasons.
Firstly without natural sweeteners, most greens powders would be undrinkable, and what’s the point of developing a high-quality supplement if no one will drink it.
Again, both of these natural sweeteners are excellent substitutes for processed sugar and allow companies to market the pros of both extracts. Perfect for weight management, diabetics, and even children.
Finally, remember to ensure your greens supplement is stringently third-party tested for quality and purity, and most importantly, be sure to find a company that offers full transparency.