Because we all want sweet things but don’t want to accept that eating too many sweet things can make us fat, the world’s largest producer of stevia says it has gotten the go-ahead from the Food and Drug Administration to start using a new version of the sweetener that it developed with the folks at Coca-Cola.
According to stevia-makers PureCircle, the FDA has issued a “No Objection” letter regarding the use of Rebaudioside M (Reb M) as a general purpose sweetener for foods and beverages in the United States.
The company claims that high-purity Reb M (also known as Reb X) “has a closer taste to table sugar than previous stevia ingredients, allowing for deeper calorie reductions in food and beverage products, particularly those that have higher levels of sweetness.”
The development and release of this new sweetener resulted from a 5-year partnership agreement between PureCircle and Coca-Cola. The beverage biggie has already released a stevia-sweetened version of its cola in other parts of the world, starting with Argentina earlier this year.
Coca-Cola had previously worked with agri-giant Cargill to develop stevia-based Truvia, which has been used in several of the beverage company’s juice and flavored-water products. PepsiCo has its own brand of stevia sweetener, PureVia, which is used in its mid-calorie juices and other drinks. Pepsi has also released stevia-sweetened cola outside of the U.S., even though PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has publicly stated that stevia “does not work well in colas.”
A low/no-calorie sweetener that actually tastes like sugar (and does not make an alien head sprout from your shoulder) is the holy grail of the cola industry, but attempts at using everything from saccharine to aspartame to sucralose have failed to win over cola drinkers who can tell the real stuff from the pretenders.
And of course, we can’t mention stevia without thinking of Breaking Bad and (SPOILER ALERT for something that you should have watched months ago), poor Lydia Rodarte-Quayle: