Stevia pioneer urges consumers to read labels

Gilbert, Arizona (1/28/14) – Stevia and other natural sweeteners will continue to be hot drivers for beverage growth in 2014. Sales of artificially sweetened diet sodas continue to slow, while 2013 saw a boom in flavored waters and water enhancers. Water enhancers will continue fast growth in the grocery and convenience store categories in 2014.

Among natural sweeteners, stevia has gained a loyal following due to the fact that stevia is a plant that provides natural sweetness to foods and beverages. But while stevia products appear similar to one another, stevia products are legally allowed to contain different ingredients and different proportions of stevia extract.

“When deciding on a stevia product for yourself and your family, read the label first. You’ll find a wide range of different ingredients included in many of the stevia brands,” said James May, founder of Wisdom Natural Brands®, parent company of SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener. As the first to bring stevia leaves to the U.S. (in 1982), May has been named and recognized as “the Father of Stevia” by industry peers worldwide.

“Many people tolerate some chemical content in exchange for zero calories and zero carbs, and that is a personal choice,” May said. “But if you’re paying for a product that’s natural, chemical or preservative free, make sure that’s what you’re getting. Read the labels, look up names, and you just may be surprised.”

Labels of actual stevia products now on grocery shelves include ingredients such as erythritol (a sugar alcohol), maltodextrin (a sugar refined from corn) and dextrose, also a form of sugar. The variation in ingredients partly accounts for the range of tastes, aftertastes and degrees of sweetness in stevia experienced by some consumers.

In its powdered form, SweetLeaf contains stevia extract and inulin, a natural, soluble, vegetable fiber that serves as the carrier for the highly concentrated stevia sweetener. The stevia extract is also available as an ingredient for manufacturers.

This month, SweetLeaf introduces a line of Sweet Drops water enhancers made with only four natural ingredients, as opposed to many other water enhancers that are filled with artificial ingredients. Made with stevia extract and plant-based flavors – with zero calories and zero carbs – the water enhancers come in 1.5 ounce bottles in four flavors: Peach Mango, Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Kiwi and Lemon Lime.

For more information about the history of stevia or SweetLeaf, visit SweetLeaf.com.

About Wisdom Natural Brands®
Gilbert, Arizona-based Wisdom Natural Brands® is the parent company of two highly respected consumer brands: SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener and Wisdom of the Ancients® herbal teas. SweetLeaf® is the natural stevia sweetener with zero calories, zero carbohydrates and zero glycemic response. The only stevia brand to be named a Top Wellness Company and to win 13 global taste and innovation awards, SweetLeaf is sold in boxes containing 35 or 70 packets, as well as in SweetLeaf Stevia Plus® Shaker Bottles for easy home use and SweetLeaf SteviaTabs™ Dissolvable Tablets for on-the-go use. SugarLeaf, also by Wisdom, bonds stevia with raw cane sugar for a low-calorie sugar alternative perfect for baking and cooking. SweetLeaf® Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops add flavor without calories or carbohydrates to favorite foods and beverages, and Sweet Drops Water Enhancers add natural flavor to still or sparkling water. For more information about SweetLeaf products, recipes and more, visit www.sweetleaf.com.

Wisdom of the Ancients herbal teas, from energizing Yerba Maté Royale® to calming Rooibos,  are available loose leaf or in bags and come in a variety of refreshing flavors. Select varieties are also available with a touch of calorie-free stevia sweetener.

SweetLeaf and Wisdom of the Ancients products can be purchased online at ShopSweetLeaf.com or at grocery and health food stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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