What's So Sweet About Stevia?
Article at a Glance:
- Re-Lyte was born from our desire to create a simple, clean, and real electrolyte mix that we could share with our families and friends.
- Early formulations were too salty for most people.
- Our decision to use stevia in our flavored varieties was a result of considerable research.
- We offer Re-Lyte Caps and Unflavored Re-Lyte for those who prefer capsules, don’t mind a super salty taste, or want to add their preferred sweetener.
We often get asked about the different elements of Re-Lyte and, like your friend who can’t stop sharing her favorite recipes and ingredients, we love sharing our journey and the “whys” behind the Re-Lyte formula.
One of the ingredients in our flavored Re-Lyte varieties is stevia, which is not an essential electrolyte but makes our flavored Re-Lyte taste delicious. (Unflavored Re-Lyte and Re-Lyte Caps have no added flavors and are stevia-free.) We know that some people love stevia while others have concerns about it, and we don’t pretend to have all the answers. For those interested in learning more about our ingredient selection, here’s a brief summary of our research and how we settled on using stevia to make our flavored Re-Lyte varieties taste a little less salty.
A Little Re-Lyte History
As you may have guessed, our Re-Lyte formulation was intentional. After reviewing studies and expert opinions related to hydration and the ideal electrolyte ratios, we put together a formula that seemed most likely to fit the needs of athletes and non-athletes alike. Not every expert will agree with our formula, and some people will need more or less of each electrolyte, but the electrolyte ratios are the result of thoughtful and careful consideration.
After we settled on the formula, there was a pretty big hurdle to overcome. It was SALTY. REALLY SALTY. If you’ve tried our unsweetened, Unflavored Re-Lyte (which doesn’t have any added flavor but isn’t flavorless), you know what we’re talking about. Some of our taste testers looked past the taste or found a solution by adding a little lemon and honey. For many of us, the flavor brought up memories of visiting the ocean for the first time at age 7 and getting knocked over by a wave.
If we wanted to create a simple, clean, and real electrolyte mix that was accessible to as many people as possible, we knew we had to give Re-Lyte a flavor that more people enjoyed. So we began looking for options to sweeten the Re-Lyte experience.
Our Sweet Prerequisites
We knew we didn’t want any artificial sweeteners, so aspartame, neotame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and others were never on our list. Natural options included sugar (coconut, white, brown, etc.), honey, xylitol, stevia, molasses, brown rice syrup, yacon syrup, maple syrup, agave, or erythritol (monk fruit).
Since we were making a powder, whatever we selected needed to have a powdered form that could mix with our other electrolytes. We also wanted a low-to-zero calorie and low-to-zero carb option that would be keto and fasting friendly and wouldn’t cause a spike in blood sugar. These requirements narrowed our list considerably and, after weighing pros and cons, we decided stevia was the best option for several reasons.
The Benefits of Stevia
Stevia has been around for a long time and is a great, natural alternative to higher calorie or artificial sweeteners. Indigenous people in South America have used the stevia plant for over 200 years. Stevia extract has been the subject of hundreds of tests and studies over the past 50+ years. Not only is it safe, but scientists have found it has a surprising range of potential benefits—reducing blood glucose, as a potential treatment for metabolic syndrome, potential treatment for diabetes, anti-cancer properties, antioxidant properties, lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol, and more.
Of course, Re-Lyte only has a small amount of stevia and there are no studies suggesting that the small amount in Re-Lyte has any benefit other than making it tasty. That said, we do like to know that we’re selecting something with potential benefits.
Stevia met our low-carb and zero-calorie requirements. We also liked that we could use rebaudioside A, which is less bitter and tastes better than some of the other stevia leaf extract options.
Stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so a small amount provides a lot of sweetness. Depending on the flavor, a 6.5-gram serving of flavored Re-Lyte Electrolyte Mix only has between 106 mg and 130 mg of stevia, which means that stevia makes up 2% or less of each serving.
In addition, stevia is more earth friendly than some sweet alternatives. It can be grown and prepared using much less water, energy, and land to achieve the same amount of sweetness found in other natural sweeteners. (This is probably at least partly because stevia is so much sweeter than other sweeteners.)
The stevia in Re-Lyte is Non-GMO Project Verified. It is not certified organic, but is 100% stevia and does not contain erythritol, maltodextrin, or other additives. It is extracted from stevia leaf through natural processes and is not treated with irradiation or chemical substances.
We’re not going to say that stevia is “perfect” or will always be in Re-Lyte. At Redmond, we’re constantly learning and looking for ways to improve our products. As science continues to study stevia and explore other potential natural sweeteners, we may find something that is a better option in the future.
For now, when we weighed the pros, cons, options, and alternatives that would make Re-Lyte taste great, stevia was the clear winner. Those who don’t like stevia, want to add their own sweeteners, or don’t mind a super salty drink should try our Re-Lyte Caps or Unflavored Re-Lyte. (Unflavored Re-Lyte is salty—explore whether it's right for you.)
- Antioxidant, anti-diabetic and renal protective properties of Stevia rebaudiana—Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.
- Anti-Cancer Properties of Stevia rebaudiana; More than a Sweetener—Molecules.
- Effect of Stevia Extract Intervention on Lipid Profile—Ethno-Med.
- Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels—Appetite.
- Efficacy and tolerability of oral stevioside in patients with mild essential hypertension: A two-year, randomized, placebo-controlled study—Clinical Therapeutics.
- Stevia Leaf to Stevia Sweetener: Exploring Its Science, Benefits, and Future Potential—Journal of Nutrition.
- Stevia, Nature’s Zero-Calorie Sustainable Sweetener—Nutrition Today.
- Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni: A Natural Alternative for Treating Diseases Associated with Metabolic Syndrome—Journal of Medicinal Food.
- Study of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni antioxidant activities and cellular properties—International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.
- What exactly is stevia?—Healthline.
- What is stevia?—Medical News Today.
- Xylitol Benefits vs. Dangers for This Popular Sugar Substitute—Dr. Axe.