Steaz Gives Sugar the Slimdown
Let's face it. Most of us love the sweet, bubbly experience that comes from drinking a soda. Even if you're among the strong-willed that stick to water, tea, coffee, freshly squeezed juice and/or milk, there are occasions when it seems like those drinks just don't hit the spot. There's a long list of reasons why many of us deny our soda urge. In our last post, we talked about one reason: sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Now that you know Steaz is sweetened with organic sugar cane, and that it's always a good idea to pay attention to your sugar intake, we wanted to give you the lowdown on our sugar slimdown!
In 2009, Steaz began an initiative to reduce the amount of sugar in our products. Not necessarily because our consumers were demanding it, but because we believe living healthier also means consuming less sugar. We did it because it's a part of our promise to you to provide products that are good for the mind, body and soul.
Our Steaz Iced Teaz already have a lightly sweetened/low sugar profile at 10 grams per 8 ounces. This year, our original Steaz Sparkling Green Teas will go from 23 gs of sugar per 8 oz. to a more lightly sweetened formula at only 19 gs. (leading soft drinks have around 27 gs per 8 oz.) In October of last year, we introduced the naturally sweetened Steaz Zero Calorie Sparkling Green Tea line to replace our four flavors of Diet Steaz, which all contained 40 calories and 9 gs of sugar per 8 oz.
Naturally Zero Calories?
So how can a sweet beverage have zero calories naturally? For most of us, zero calories means an artificial sweetener. It's an association we have in our minds that we don't think twice about. If you pay attention to your food and drink labels, you've seen them; aspartame, saccharin, sucralose. They are artificial and chemical compounds that offer the sweetness of sugar, but without the extra calories.
Is it possible for us to reconsider our definition of zero calories to also include natural sweeteners? Turns out, yes, thanks to a plant called stevia. And that's three cheers from dieters, diabetics and anyone who wants to lessen or eliminate the amount of sugar going into their bodies (or temples if you prefer!).
Stevia a plant native to Mexico, Central America and South America that's been around for centuries. Among its original uses, it served as a sweetener for yerba mate (which we use in our Steaz Energy line) and medicinal teas in South America. Stevia is also known as sweetleaf or sugarleaf. The leaf's extracts have up to 300 times the sweetness of table sugar. If you've ever eaten mint leaf or been brave enough to chew a small stick from a birch tree, you know what it's like to taste an intense flavor right from the source.
The stevia used in Steaz Zero is 100% natural and is organic compliant under the USDA's organic regulations. With zero calories and carbs, Steaz Zero Calorie still delivers 120 mg of antioxidants from the green tea, B vitamins and most important, serious flavor.
So when you add the lower sugar intake to the health benefits of tea and many other all natural ingredients, we hope that you can sit back, relax with a Steaz and remember that healthy alternatives do exist.
Stevia photo credit
High Fructose Corn Syrup: The Skinny on the Sweet Stuff
What makes a soft drink sweet? Sugar, right? Well, actually what makes most soft drinks so deliciously sweet, isn't sugar. It's high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is a processed sugar substitute made from corn. Corn is cheaper than sugar and HFCS acts as a preservative, so it's been widely adopted into our food stream. It was invented in the 1960's, with extensive use beginning in the late 1970's due to the rise in sugar prices. In the late 1970's, we also began to see the dramatic rise in U.S. obesity rates, but we can't blame this on HFCS. Many aspects of our food supply were changing, including an increase in fast food and portion sizes.
One of the concerns with high fructose corn syrup is that we do not know its long term health effects, if any. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ruled that high fructose corn syrup is safe. However, they've also say that many other foods are safe, such as fast food and potato chips.
So, as a consumer, you have to draw your own conclusions. What we do know is that natural food ingredients and whole foods (like fruits and vegetables) are healthier when compared to processed foods.
Organic Sugar Cane
Steaz products are sweetened with organic sugar cane, which undergoes less processing than refined (or table) sugar. It hangs on to some of the nutritional value found in the sugar cane stalk, in particular, riboflavin (also known as Vitamin B2). Steaz uses what is called "first press" cane juice because it's the highest quality cane sugar for sweetness and flavor.
Whether it's high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar, these added sweeteners should be consumed with awareness and limitation. Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet. According to the American Heart Association, high intakes of added sugars are implicated in numerous poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Steaz products are generally lower in sugar than their mass market competitors. In fact, our best selling drinks are our newer "lightly" sweetened options. Our new Zero Calorie line, which is naturally sweetened with the leaves of the stevia plant, is already proving to be a big hit too.
Creating A Healthier World
Part of our mission at Steaz is to help create a healthier world. We recognize it may seem strange that we are talking about the health concerns of sugar when our products do contain sugar! But,
ignoring that fact and not doing what we can to educate you about what you are consuming goes against our mission.
Steaz is psyched about the steps we're taking to offer you, not only a great tasting alternative to traditional soda but one that's better for you ...and keeps getting better. Check out our next post to find out what else we've been up to on the sugar front.