What Are the Side Effects of Truvia™?

Truvia™ is a sugar substitute made from leaves of the stevia plant.
Some countries have halted sales of Truvia™, but the product remains available in the United States.
Though less common than digestive problems, blotchy skin rashes have been noted as a side effect of Truvia™.
Some people get headaches when using this sweetener.
Truvia is made from the leaves of the stevia plant.
Some people have experienced stomach pain or cramping when using Truvia.
Diarrhea is one possible side effect of using Truvia.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: Patti Kate
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: W. Everett
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  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2014
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There are a number of documented side effects of Truvia™, but stomach cramping and gastrointestinal problems like gas and diarrhea tend to be among the most common. Clinical tests of the product have also found occurrences of dizziness, headache, and occasional nausea, and muscular issues like tension and twitching have been reported, too. In addition, skin rashes and allergic reactions are possible. Some people have reported that the product triggers an intense craving for carbohydrates, but this particular claim is not as well documented as the others. In general most health authorities believe that small amounts of Truvia™ are safe for human consumption, though there does tend to be a lot of controversy surrounding both it and other sugar alternatives; in fact, a number of countries have banned Truvia™ sales pending further tests and more conclusive studies. The sweetener is widely available in the United States and much of Europe, though.

Product Basics

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Truvia™ is made from extracts from leaves of the stevia plant, which has a naturally sweet taste but contains no sugar. Stevia extract isn’t the only ingredient, though. Much of the product is made up of erythritol, an alcohol compound, and undisclosed “flavoring compounds.” Manufacturers market it as an “all natural” sugar substitute and promote its use as a wholesale replacement for sugar, both as a sweetener for things like drinks and cereals and for use in baking. Some packaged and prepared foods use it, too. It usually looks like sugar and is about as sweet, though it contains no calories.

Stomach and Gastrointestinal Problems

By far the most common side effects of Truvia™ concern the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Many people who consume it report intense abdominal cramping that can last for several hours, as well as painful intestinal cramps, blockages, and general distress. Diarrhea has been well documented in a number of clinical studies of the product, as has gas, bloating, and more general feelings of discomfort.

Nausea and vomiting are less common, but are still reported in enough cases to count as a known side effect by most market standards. Most studies and reports have to classify known effects by their likelihood of occurrence in an unknown member of the general public, which to some degree depends on how frequently they were documented both in clinical trials and unsolicited consumer reports. An unusual aftertaste, along with foul breath, are also frequent complaints.

Dizziness and Headache

Some individuals who have used the sweetener have also reported suffering from dizziness, headaches, and extreme fatigue. The degree of these problems does tend to vary a lot from person to person, with some people feeling mildly dizzy while others say they nearly passed out. A lot depends on how much of the sweeter was consumed as well as individual body chemistry and metabolism.

Muscular Issues

Rarer but still documented side effects include muscular cramping and twitching, usually in the arms or legs. This tends to happen several hours after Truvia® consumption and can be difficult to definitively trace to the sweetener.

Allergic Reactions

Other side effects of Truvia™ that consumers have reported include itchy skin, irritation, and blotchy rashes. Individuals who are sensitive to yeast reported experiencing skin welts while consuming this sweetener. Some studies have suggested that this sort of reaction is most likely in response to the presence of erythritol rather than the stevia leaf extract itself, though no matter the root cause a person with this sort of reaction should generally avoid the sugar substitute.

Other Less Common Reports

There are a number of potential side effects to the sweetener that some people claim to have but that either don’t occur very frequently or have never been officially documented in a clinical or lab setting. These include unusual cravings and urinary tract infections. Though there is some traction among consumer groups claiming that both are likely, there is little evidence to definitively link the sweetener to either one.

Controversy and Sales Restrictions

There is a great deal of controversy in the health community when it comes to the safety of using sugar substitutes, even ones that claim to be “all natural” like Truvia™. In the case of Truvia™, most of the concern isn’t actually centered on the stevia plant, which most experts acknowledge really is all natural and isn’t known to prompt any serious dietary concerns, but rather is focused on erythritol. This alcohol does occur in nature, but only in very small quantities. Truvia™ manufacturers typically create it synthetically, then use it liberally in their product.

Some governmental health authorities remain skeptical of the sweetener’s safety, and have halted sales in certain countries pending further studies and research. Truvia™ was created in the United States and remains widely available there, and was approved for sale in most European Union countries in 2011. It can be harder to find elsewhere.

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anon978006
Post 28

I started using Truvia for about six months. I injured my back prior to replacing sugar/honey with Truvia with my morning/afternoon coffees. Instead of my back pain getting better, it was getting progressively worse where I could not stand for 1 or 2 minutes w/out my back stiffening up completely.

We ran out of Truvia and because Costco no longer carried this brand (and the replacement was too expensive), we decided to discontinue Truvia. Every day after discontinuing Truvia my back pain started feeling better and better. At this point I became suspicious. Could my back pain be related to Truvia? I am not 100 percent sure, but I'd rather not risk my back feeling worse again. Also, I always had problem with stomach bloated with gas while taking Truvia, but that's stopped, too.

anon969191
Post 27

Erythritol (the primary sweetener in Truvia, along with stevia) definitely causes extreme fatigue in me.

I have never used Truvia. I usually sweeten beverages with plain xylitol (for dental, weight loss and other health reasons). However, in the past I've ordered bulk erythritol and tried it in place of xylitol.

It took me several weeks to identify the cause of the incredible, day-long fatigue and absolute exhaustion that I started to experience. Through the process of elimination, I finally suspected and stopped using it (but didn't throw out the remainder), and the fatigue lifted. Last week, I decided to test it again, this time blending it 50/50 with xylitol, and the fatigue and energy exhaustion returned.

There may be other ingredients in Truvia that are giving people the diverse side-effects mentioned on this page, but the fatigue and exhaustion are definitely due to erythritol.

anon965879
Post 23

This seems awfully coincidental. I had what I thought was athlete's foot a few years back and tried treating it with all available medicinal sprays (all three kinds). That did nothing. I tried a bunch of other things I read on the web and still nothing, so I went to my doctor, who prescribed some ointment. It helped a little but it still never fully went away even after a year.

At some point I stopped using Truvia and went back to real sugar, not because of my feet but just because Truvia was artificial. After a while, the "fungus" on my foot and the itching/scaling stopped. Well, earlier this week I ran out of real sugar for my coffee and used Truvia for two mornings. Guess what came back? Just sayin'.

anon946766
Post 22

I have been using liquid Stevia (usually the "Wisdom" brand) daily in my coffee for years with no problems. So, recently I purchased some Truvia packets at my local Fry's grocery store. Last night I made a kettle corn recipe that included Truvia. I was up most of the night with horrible gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It had to be the worst episode I have ever had! (I'm in my early 50s, so that is saying a lot!) Lesson learned. I am staying away from Truvia!

I have read several posts here about "stevia tasting like licorice," etc. That is not true! You have to shop around to find a good brandthat tastes good and has no aftertaste! Believe me, they are out there!

Cbenn
Post 20

I started using truvia last May of 2013, mostly in my coffee and tea as a sweetener when I discovered the diet The 100. I began having symptoms like headaches, a throbbing in my head, a racing feeling in my arms, painful joints especially in my knees and dizziness, plus I was disoriented and tired all the time but never put the two together.

In January of this year, I ended up in the ER with a racing heart. Although I spent the night and had several tests, they found me to be basically healthy. I'm on a low dose of blood pressure meds but still don't feel right. Tonight I realized that Truvia could be my problem. I'm quitting the truvia kick and am hoping that I go back to feeling like myself again.

anon925595
Post 19

The common ingredient in Stevia, Truvia and Splenda is maltodextrin. You are allergic to the maltodextrin, which can indeed cause hives in some individuals (I am one). Avoid this mysterious and pitiful ingredient at all costs, my friends. It will be quite difficult to avoid, as this additive is in hundreds of products, but with careful scrutiny, you will be able to do it.

Check the food labels for maltodextrin. If the product is a liquid (usually a diet liquid), then you must be very cautious as "maltodextrin" may not be listed, but instead, you may see "sucralose", or something like "stevia leaf extract." Truvia and Splenda are sweetner packets that contain maltodextrin.

Maltodextrin is also the cause of gastrointestinal distress for many individuals. Maltodextrin can aggravate certain conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.

For me, maltodextrin causes hives (I discovered this many years ago -- it was Pringles that helped me figure it out). Small quantities of maltodextrin result in a mild outbreak (usually on my hands), while larger quantities previously resulted in a trip to the emergency room, as I was covered in hives all over my body.

I wish someone could assist us with this matter, and I certainly wish there were more warnings. However, in the meantime, I hope that all of you can spread the word to others, as I believe that many people are suffering from hives, but are unaware of the cause. It could be that maltodextrin is the source of their distress.

anon924564
Post 18

All five times that I have taken stevia I have developed a severe case of having large red spots on my skin. There is no test for it, unless you take it on purpose and wait for the reaction, according to my allergist. All other allergy tests done have been negative. Pyopsy indicates the allergy has to be caused by taking something orally.

DebW2013
Post 17

I have been using Truvia for two years now and linked it to strange symptoms I have been experiencing that have landed me in the emergency room a few times, and I never go to the ER unnecessarily.

I put Truvia in tea and coffee and have experienced chest pressure unrelated to my heart, strange twitchy pains in my arms and shoulders, and bloating and upset stomach. I now am attributing these to an ingredient in Truvia.

I have since started reading about all the health problems others have experienced. I will never buy the stuff again and will be much more aware of products like this.

anon342125
Post 16

Erythritol is the other main component. I tried it once and never again. I believe this is what is causing the majority of the problems. I use stevia, which has been used for thousands of years. While a few might have an allergy to the plant, it does not mean that all the side effects are due to stevia.

Erythritol is an alcohol sugar. These are well known for causing gas and bloating. For me it was so dehydrating I took me a whole day to get the dry and numb feeling out of my mouth. That was all I needed to know. Erythritol was not good for me.

I would have like to have seen this other ingredient mentioned in the article and more research done. Truvia is not the same as stevia. It is just one ingredient. The dehydration alone can cause headaches.

anon341992
Post 15

Stevia definitely causes hives for me. It took me a long time to determine the cause because stevia is now in a lot of products. Once I realized it, the hives stopped, but I have to read ingredient labels because a lot of companies are using it now and you might not realize it, including all kinds of "reduced sugar" foods and drinks.

anon339024
Post 14

I don't believe in being a human guinea pig, so I thank you all for your words of warning! I am also sorry you had to go through such lies to the general public about truvia. I hope this makes you start thinking more clearly before trying anything not natural.

anon336764
Post 13

I've been using Truvia for one week. After the third day, I had severe dizziness, blurred vision and a headache. I didn't use it for a couple days, thinking maybe I had a migraine. I put in my coffee this morning, and all the symptoms are back again. So

good-bye to Truvia.

Karen87
Post 12

I bought a bottled drink that had both stevia and truvia in it. I thought it was a low calorie drink with less sugar in it. I drank a couple of glasses of this stuff and I began having electric like shocks going up and down my right arm into my chest! I was really scared wondering if I was having a heart attack!

Luckily, I found information on the internet describing the symptoms I was having (along with severe abdominal cramping). I seriously thought I was going to die! This stuff should be pulled from the market ASAP before someone does die! Yikes!

anon319687
Post 11

I love iced tea, but I use a lot of sweetener (five packets) per glass (three or four per day). I ended up at a pain specialist (had steroid shot in back and neck) muscle spasms, acid reflux, yeast infection and who knows what else.

One night I was on the computer reading about Truvia and its side effects. I stopped using it about a week ago and have been feeling a lot better since. Whether it was the Truvia I can't really say, but it is funny a lot of the symptoms have disappeared.

anon306516
Post 10

It is a strong possibility that people who use truvia are also careful in their diet and reduce their overall carb intake, like sugar, and high GI foods. The dizziness might be a reduction in blood pressure due to reduced adrenaline, which is released in response to mild hypo symptoms when taking in sugar that drives glucose levels down just enough to trigger a hypoglycemic event. When you stop all the fast carbs, the adrenalin reactions stop. Also, dropping insulin levels have the same effect. I have used truvia over six weeks now and have no problems to report. My glucose tolerance is also improving since I finally think I released progesterone. My period is very heavy this time, but I have been skipping periods now for a year only having one every two months, so it is probably break through bleeding. I have dealt with this thing before long before I used truvia.

anon303710
Post 9

Yesterday, I had six glasses of iced tea and put one packet of truvia in each glass. I had a total of six packs of truvia and started having abdominal cramps.

Last night, my back started itching so bad and I have a terrible rash. I am trying to detox my body by drinking lots of apple cider vinegar and water today. Now I know where the itchy skin is coming from. Every time I use it, I itch. When I don't, the itching stops.

anon295615
Post 8

To me, Stevia tastes like licorice. I heard that those who get the taste of annecette (licorce) from Stevia are allergic to it.

anon292627
Post 7

Truvia is the sweetner used in a pure flavor packet to flavor water. I drank 1/2 the 16oz serving and have severe cramps in my stomach. This is the second time this week this has occurred. No more Truvia for me!

anon288313
Post 6

I too have been researching trying to figure out what this skin condition I have. For years, I've had itching, bumps, hives, crawling sensations, and something resembling heat rash when my skin gets sweaty. I eliminated Stevia from my diet and it's completely gone. If I accidentally eat/drink some stevia, the next day it comes back right away, and takes about a week to go away completely again.

How about some allergy testing before a product like this takes over the market? I hate aspartame just as much, but even this natural product has caused me a lot of missed sleep and discomfort, not to mention the sores and rashes that had me embarrassed to take my shirt off in the summer.

anon266497
Post 5

After two ER trips for severe itching, the doctors thought it was a reaction to a cholesterol medicine I just began to take so they took me off of that. Well, the itching started again so I began eliminating my daily intake and/or uses of anything. No results.

The itching continued and I had an almost insane feeling of something crawling inside my skin, all over (palms, feet, arms, legs, abdomen, face...everywhere). I couldn't sleep, and one night I was going to make a cup of tea using my Truvia packet like always and it dawned on me to look up side effects of this sugar substitute. I was amazed at this site and read how others were experiencing the same symptoms.

I'm diabetic but am going back to the raw regular sugar - this isn't worth it. Trashing Truvia!

anon257806
Post 4

I've been using truvia for about a year and have had itchy skin. I didn't really think much of it, then I started putting it together.

On the days I don't use it, there's no itching, and the days I do, the itching keeps me awake at night. No rash or anything. It just feels like I have something itchy crawling on my skin-- everywhere from my arms, scalp, bottoms of my feet, palms, legs midsection- anywhere you could itch; it just moves around all night long. Not really worth losing sleep over.

anon255592
Post 3

I started using Truvia three months ago almost daily in my tea and coffee. I have recently started getting stomach cramps, but not like menstrual cramps or gas cramps; it's more like muscle cramps across the middle of my stomach. I will also not be using Truvia any longer.

anon198410
Post 2

I started using truvia for the first time and instantly developed headaches and muscle twitching in my face, and muscle tightness in my jaw as well.

anon193331
Post 1

I started using Truvia months ago and started developing unexplained headaches. My blood pressure was fine and no allergies. Just went on vacation for 10 days and didn't consume Truvia--no headaches. Last night had some in my tea, had a headache when I went to bed last night and most of the day. I am not using Truvia any longer.

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