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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

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

The 10-2-15 comment said that Truvia has no additives, which is false. The main ingredient in Truvia is erythitol, as sugar alcohol, with a small amount of Reb A modified stevia. Look at the Nutrition facts and ingredient list. I tried Truvia for a month thinking it was stevia, but I couldn't figure out why my stomach always ached. Then I threw up and figured out it must be the Truvia, so I stopped using it, and three days later all my stomach aches were gone. I complained to Costco when I returned my package of Truvia, that the package was mislabeled, and now the Truvia packages admit that it has sugar alcohol which can cause stomach upset.

Anonymous

11/29/2015 - 1:41am

Cheese is yummy!

Anonymous

11/20/2015 - 3:31pm

In response to one commenter, do not be fooled into thinking Truvia is pure stevia. It is not. It contains erythritol which is a sugar alcohol the company makes from corn and yeast. I found out the hard way on a candida cleansing diet, which allows stevia, but NOT yeast! I was using a variety of stevia product which included erythritol and wondered why I was not getting results. Read labels to be sure you are getting what you expect. SweetLeaf, for one, may be a better choice than either Truvia or PureVia.

Anonymous

11/19/2015 - 10:42pm

We do not require sugar in our diet. Just give it up and you do not have to worry.

vythi

Anonymous

11/07/2015 - 4:15am

I agree with anonymous about what do we do now? I am in the same boat and have problems with IBS and am trying to healthy up my meals also using Stevia in the Raw. I am so tired of trying to do what is right and then finding out I may be poisoning myself by using sweeteners. . But, I will continue using it in my tea and on other things. You can wait until you know what freezes over and the FDA never seems to really give an opinion you can trust on anything. I use my own judgement now and stevia does not seem to bother my health. It is a natural product. I use it a lot. Bea

Anonymous

11/04/2015 - 1:34pm

I use Sweet Leaf stevia in powder form to sweeten tea and homemade lemonade. The taste is slightly different from sugar but not at all unpleasant to me. I can't stand the taste of Truvia and other stevia products containing additives. I'm unaware of any negative side effects which is why I'm surprised that stevia is never mentioned in articles I read about sugar substitutes. Most substitutes taste abominable to me and Splenda actually makes me sick to my stomach.

Anonymous

10/31/2015 - 4:27am

I just started taking an all-natural supplement powder sweetened with stevia leaf extract. This is the second all-natural product I have had with this stuff, both of which left a taste like something left behind on a lab table after a chemistry class. And both products were also way too sweet. Could anyone please tell me how I could kill the taste of this stuff in my supplement? Outside of that, I think I'll take my chances with sugar, since I use so little of it anyway. Thanks.

Anonymous

10/27/2015 - 4:58pm

My Hubby uses Stevia Extract from Trader Joe's. Just a tiny amt a day in coffee. But does consume those horrible diet sodas. The Stevia is 100% no additives. It is REB A as well. Cost about 10 bucks.

Anonymous

10/26/2015 - 4:57pm

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