I often see (understandably) early in VLCD patients eating the Oikos Triple Zero yogurt varieties. The front of the packaging boasts “0g sugar, 0g artificial sweeteners”, which is technically the case. However, these yogurts still taste very sweet due to their stevia content.
Stevia is technically a naturally derived non-caloric sweetener, but it is not necessarily constructive for meeting your weight goals. In addition to some uncertainty about health benefits and risks, stevia also can amplify a palate for sweet foods (due to its unnaturally intense sweetness), potentially worsening cravings for sweet foods. It is also difficult in commercial products to find pure stevia, as it commonly blended with other non-caloric sweeteners such as aspartame or sugar alcohols. While one goal of a VLCD is a “metabolic reset”, the program also yields a helpful “palate reset” as patients remove sugar and other sweeteners from their diet and thus re-sensitize their palate to lower levels of sweetness in their food (many patients report finding foods that they previously enjoyed to be too sweet after finishing a VLCD).
Consequently to get the most out of your VLCD or Stepwise experience, opt for plain Greek yogurt and sweeten with berries or a little sliced banana (I’m a big fan of yogurt with sliced banana + cinnamon + walnuts).