My relationship with sugar is, well, contentious. I love consuming it in mass quantities in any form possible, but I hate how it has that annoying tendency to make my bottom half balloon out of proportion. Not to mention its uncanny ability to bring on diabetes. How DARE sugar mess with my health! Bastard.
So, when Trader Joe’s started carrying a little something called “stevia,” I gave it a go. It’s got the best of everything on paper–it’s naturally derived, like sugar, from the stevia plant, a member of the sunflower family. It’s supposed to have a slower onset of sweetness on the taste buds and that sweetness tends to linger longer than actual sugar. It also has the amazing ability to have 300 times the sweetness of sugar while being remarkably low-carb. Sounds too good to be true, right?
When I tried it the first time, I was sorely disappointed. To me, it tasted no different from other sugar alternatives such as Splenda and NutriSweet, and it made my morning coffee, well, less than satisfying. But since I had nearly 10 ounces of stuff just sitting around, I gave it another shot. And another. And another. Eventually, after about a week, I started really getting into it. Then I got to thinking, Is it just a coincidence that stevia looks a lot like cocaine or heroin? (Not that I would know, but hey, I’ve seen The Wire.)
Long story short, I think I’d much rather use stevia than any of the synthetic stuff, but in the end–diabetes be damned–sugar tastes the best.