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

When I add stevia to my fresh lemonade, I remain thirsty and my body becomes stressed from dehydration. When I use honey or pure maple syrup I can feel my tissues hydrating. Lemon helps that process. I have a feeling that in a dozen years science will show problems with stevia, probably because it is so over processed it is no longer natural and the body tries to reject it.

Anonymous

12/31/2013 - 3:48am

Regarding artificial sweetners; keep in mind more you consume the more adverse affects you will have. Migranes also can be cause by natural foods. I read some where that there are certain foods such as onions can cause migranes, I believe it was different for each person. Remember, while of course it is always better to consume beverages/foods that are natural, although it is all about Moderation.

You can by organic honey, I think you can by anything organic. I wish organic foods were not so costly; my local grocery store it is amost double the cost to buy organic than it does the other stuff.

To quote a title of a book I am currently reading; CHANGE Before You Have To. Change is hard, but that is what life is about. We all must go through change; don't fight it; embrace it.

Anonymous

12/19/2013 - 11:21am

"Aspartame proven safe? Oh please....it's known to have over 92 side effects including multiple cancers and death.....it's killed half the rats they tested it on...now that's a fact."

Cane sugar kills half the rats it is tested on. Assuming it consumes 29700mg/kg... Now that's a fact. LD50 is a powerful tool.

Anonymous

12/14/2013 - 10:49pm

"This may sound like an odd question but does one have to worry about GMOs and stevia production?"

As an internal source... you will not have to worry about GMOs in stevia. Stevia is bred/released naturally.

Anonymous

12/14/2013 - 10:43pm

The FDA is reluctant because they don't see their $$$ from it. Aspartame gave me terrible migraines for 23 years - until I wised up and quit it. The FDA says aspartame is fine, I was depressed, suicidal, and miserable all those years from their "approved" sweetener. I've used stevia since then - NO PROBLEMS!
Now coca-cola and other legalized murderers want it, as soon as they cough up the dough for the FDA, it will be just dandy as a safe sweetener.

Anonymous

12/13/2013 - 5:40pm

I have been using stevia powder (around 1500mg a day) for 22 years. Never had any problems..

Anonymous

12/12/2013 - 12:10am

This may sound like an odd question but does one have to worry about GMOs and stevia production?

Anonymous

12/11/2013 - 3:10am

well, i have been taking a product called Vega Electrolyte Hydrator. it has Stevia in it. i thought i would do my own research just like it has been suggested above but in this case i am frustrated how much time and emotional energy goes into these respoces that dance around the issue. Is Stevia bad or not? reference me the study that says yes or no.

Anonymous

12/10/2013 - 5:34pm

I am amazed that someone would post that "aspartame has been proven safe". But while there are some studies proving it safe, many, many more studies have proven it to be unsafe, or of questionable safety. Why is it that the only studies proving it safe are those done by, or in some way connected to or supported by the makers of aspartame? In the past decade people have begun to realize just how unsafe and dangerous Aspartame is, and as a result its popularity and sales are waning greatly.
Stevia was banned in the U.S. until companies like Cargill, Coca-cola and Pepsico petitioned the FDA to have stevia declared as GRAS product. Shortly after these giant corporations made their petitions, the FDA did in fact grant their wishes and bestowed a GRAS label upon rebaudioside A (rebiana)(,the compound that gives stevia a sweet taste.),thereby allowing these companies to bring to market their own stevia based products. Hmm., is this really a coincidence? Just something to think about.

Anonymous

11/24/2013 - 6:53pm

Aspartame proven safe? Oh please....it's known to have over 92 side effects including multiple cancers and death.....it's killed half the rats they tested it on...now that's a fact.

Anonymous

11/21/2013 - 5:42pm

20 minute dinner recipes
Advertisement
more smart savings
Advertisement
20 minute dinner recipes
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