Advertisement
Is Stevia Safe?

A. This year, a few noncaloric sweeteners made from an extract of the Stevia rebaudiana plant arrived on grocery-store shelves. The stevia plant has a long history of use as a sweetener in South America. These new sweeteners—sold under brand names like Truvia and PureVia—include a highly purified extract of stevia called Rebaudioside A (a.k.a. Rebiana or Reb A). Reb A is 200 times sweeter than sugar and does not raise blood sugar.

Until December 2008, stevia and its derivatives could be sold in the U.S. only as dietary supplements, due to safety concerns. In the 1980s, animal studies linked stevia with adverse effects on fertility and reproductive development and possible genetic mutations. But in 2008, the makers of Truvia and PureVia submitted research to the Food and Drug Administration regarding Reb A’s safety and petitioned for it to become a generally regarded as safe (GRAS) ingredient.

The FDA affirmed the GRAS status, but did not change the previous ruling on stevia. “Reb A is different than whole-leaf stevia or [other] stevia extracts, which can only be sold as dietary supplements,” says FDA spokesperson Michael Herndon. “Nobody has provided the FDA with evidence that whole-leaf stevia is safe.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group, believes that the Reb A’s GRAS status was granted prematurely. “In the past, FDA protocol required repeated testing in two separate animal species prior to approval, but in this case it didn’t,” says David Schardt, nutrition expert with CSPI. “We are not warning people to avoid Reb A, but the public should be aware that the FDA did not follow all the usual safeguards.”

Bottom Line: The FDA considers Reb A a safe sugar substitute, but has not approved other forms of stevia. If you want to use stevia, we suggest sticking with Reb A (look for it on the ingredient label).

Download a Free Cookbook with Our Best Healthy Dessert Recipes!

COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

short-term wholesale money should face an especially high levy: excessive reliance on such easy-come-easy-go funding was a big reason why banks from Royal Bank of Scotland to Lehman Brothers came a cropper.but added $6 il n'y aurait jamais eu d'évolution et il n'aurait jamais dit ce que les juges espéraient qu'il dise depuis longtemps. These investors in government debt tend to think and act alike; just about two years ago their message to the euro zone changed from “We’re behind you all the way” to “Nice little monetary system you have here. que en el pasado fue uno de los criminales más buscados del mundo. la empresa decarbón CCX cerró con una ganancia de un 19,Wimala's preaching style is by turns intimate and hectoring. I have not succumbed to this — not out of virtue. 17,” Yes personal finance.1 months to clear the houses on the market,o sob controle e as contas públicas em ordem Mantega falou por cinco horas e foi alvo de duras críticas de parlamentares da oposi? 4 times book value,N) fund of funds unit.

Anonymous

08/08/2013 - 2:25pm

I use raw stevia in my coffee only. A small amount goes a long way. I don't trust ANYTHING the FDA says. How many things have they approved that have turned out to be harmful years later?! Not to mention lobbyists and corporations corrupt the entire process so I don't believe many studies that come out unless they are independently-funded and carried out on the appropriate population.

Anonymous

08/11/2013 - 9:00am

I just bought stevia extract from trader joes, now I'm afraid to try it. Do you think it's safe. It says a dietary supplement, I am borderline diabetic and vegetarian

Anonymous

08/13/2013 - 5:16pm

In the 1980s, animal studies linked stevia with adverse effects on fertility and reproductive development and possible genetic mutations.

And ....what happened to the Aztecs? Just sayin'.

Anonymous

08/15/2013 - 3:20pm

I used Stevia for years but now after having 2 children my wife and I are having problems getting pregnant for the third time. My doctor has confirmed I have a lower than normal sperm count. Not sure if it is related but I have stopped using Stevia it in my hot drinks.

Anonymous

08/21/2013 - 10:43am

Ok, I'm just wondering. There scared of putting out Stevia for people but other artificial sugar substitutes that can be dangerous as well as certain medications can cause health problems or even death is allowed. Hmm....

Anonymous

08/28/2013 - 3:44pm

This country is complaining about childhood obesity; and how HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP is
the cause. In addition; adults are gaining large amounts of weight too. People start looking at labels; and you will see the alarming amount of foods, sauces, Ketchup, BBQ sauces, cool whip, etc; all have
HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP !!!! And that is just a few ! There was a commercial that came out here while back where the moderator said that sugar is sugar ! It was making a comparison of cane sugar to High Fructose corn syrup (and how your body can't tell the difference). I should have hired a lawyer to sue that company that produced the commercial; as that statement is a LIE. My body is highly allergic
to CORN PRODUCTS, and that is where HIGH FRUCTOSE CoRn SYRUP comes from !!!

Childhood obesity and Adult obesity have to be coming from eating the same foods; most of which contain
the HFCS !!!! WAKE UP AMERICA; and demand the removal of this substance from our foods !!!

Anonymous

08/31/2013 - 6:13pm

Go plant the stevia herb in your garden, muddle with some mint and tea and you have a refreshing dring from the garden, guess who effectively had stevia banned fromthe country while their product was being developed and sold to an unsuspecting country, try saccharine and good ole, Monsanto.
For those of us who cannot or will not use refined sugar, stevia seems to be the best way to go. I have never heard of the research being touted here.
I've had no issues with using it, I've had two kids while using it....
Lets look at the problems associated with the other pink and yellow sweeteners, there is where the problems exist.

Anonymous

09/04/2013 - 2:35pm

The problem is that it's almost impossible to get pure stevia extract (or whatever it would be called). Truvia et al are all diluted with non-nutritive filler talc and powders.

Anonymous

09/12/2013 - 11:09am

You could never go wrong with some good old fashioned, non processed honey!

Anonymous

09/17/2013 - 2:09am

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner