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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).

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COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

Yay

Anonymous

03/21/2016 - 4:09am

Hey Sylvia, Yes, Stevia is safe. I am also diabetic and have been using pure organic white stevia extract (from the leaf) with no additives or fillers. It does not raise my blood glucose levels and I have been able to stop using metformin altogether just by changing my eating habits. My A1C level is now around 5.6 and the change in eating habits has also resulted in weight loss. This has helped with lower blood glucose levels as well as lower blood pressure. I love stevia and will continue to use it in its pure powder form from Stevia Mystore.

Anonymous

03/04/2016 - 4:53am

How good is Stevia n the raw? I understand that it contains Dextrose.

Anonymous

02/20/2016 - 12:26pm

Stevia as the green plant that you can grow in your backyard or find as dried leaf or tincture form is considered safe and has even been studied and found to have health benefits.

Anonymous

02/19/2016 - 12:00am

Just use locally harvested honey or organic honey where you require sweetening and drop all sugar completely (game over) and move forward to the next problem of products that are poisining us.......

Anonymous

02/15/2016 - 2:48am

I am using Stevia for sugar replacement. It has Stevia rebaudiana extract and fructooligosaccharides.
I do not about he second ingredient. Does it contain sugar? Can someone let me know if it is safe to use. I am also Pre-dibetic that is why I want to cut down sugar from my diet. I would appreciate if someone can clarify the second ingredient and whether I can use for sugar replacement. -Ranen Banerjee

Anonymous

02/01/2016 - 9:13pm

You can't just eat sugar in small doses, because almost every type of food that is manufactured in the United States, has sugar in it. Sugar makes food taste better and that is why there are so many manufacturers that use it. This is also the reason that sugar substitutes were created in the first place. Back in the 50's, the FEDS realized that sugar was causing health issues and passed bills to stop the production of manufactures foods with sugar in them. When that happened, the manufactures raced to come up with a sugar substitute. The problem is, all sugar substitutes are derived from sugar. So basically, by adding a chemical or anything to the sugar and giving it a different name, this allowed the manufactures to bypass the federal mandate and continue adding sugar to their foods. In the meantime, the chemicals added to the sugar started creating bigger and more deadlier problems than the sugar did, and that's where we are today.

Anonymous

01/28/2016 - 11:20am

This is why the FDA allows Truvia and PureVia to be sold as a sugar substitute and not actual Stevia. The FDA has long been accused of allowing products that make people sick for the sake of big business, and probably other reasons I will not mention. You hardly ever see the FDA approving something that is actually healthy for you, so why would anyone think they would do it in this case. Stick with the all natural 100% stevia and you should be fine. There are a few companies out there like Stevia Corp that have combatted the bitter taste that Stevia has by using mushrooms to take the bitter taste out. I personally think the bitter taste come from putting too much in. Either way, the all natural Stevia has been used for over 800 years and practically every country in the world has been using it for decades before the United States FDA ever thought of approving it.

Anonymous

01/28/2016 - 11:12am

Going to try a month using Srevia to see for myself whether it's right or not for new!

Anonymous

01/26/2016 - 5:45am

Seems to me sugar's ok in moderation/small doses.

Just dont drink 5 cokes a day and you'll be fine

Anonymous

01/14/2016 - 1:29pm

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