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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

To the person who thinks pure white sugar is good for you because it "pure white", you don't quite get it. Anything highly refined (Sugar or sweetener or carbs) are bad for you because it goes into your system way to fast and eventually burns out your pancreases. Then you become a diabetic type 2. Lots of other fun things happen like strokes ect... ect... ect... The general rule is if man touches it, don't eat it!!! Eat things in their natural. I can’t believe the ignorant questions that come out of peoples mouths. It's your body and you don't even know anything about nutrition! Read up and educate yourself. This is one thing you can do that the government can't control (yet). You best bet to a long healthy life is to kick the sugar habit and cravings.

Anonymous

03/25/2012 - 1:36pm

I just purchased agave nectar - does anyone know the difference ebtween this and th eblue agave nectar? How does it do with sweetening coffee?? Really trying ot give up sugar but need an alternative. HELP!!

Anonymous

03/23/2012 - 9:46pm

the FDA, what a joke, like we should pay any attention to anything they would approve or not, given they are bought and paid for by the Food and Drug industries. look at what they did to Dr. Burzinsky, If they approve it, I would be more suspect of it. Terrorists killed 2800 people and we now have the TSA and Homeland- our lives have all changed. Prescription medicines kill 200,000 people a year- not a peep, just the cost of doing business- Be your own advocate and do your homework.

Anonymous

03/22/2012 - 3:09pm

Regarding anything with aspartame or phenylalanine, you NEED to watch the following documentary - its called Sweet Misery; A Poisoned World. I used to live on diet sodas but will never again touch anything with those ingredients. There are so many horrible side effects, please watch so you are aware of the possibilities and learn from the stories of those in the film.

Anonymous

03/17/2012 - 9:46pm

I am undecided about Stevia and Reb A. To me, they both taste bad - sorry. But as for diabetes; sugar and the over use of it, does not cause diabetes. Type 1 is Juvenal diabetes and Type 2 typically is brought on by being overweight. Too much sugar is not the only cause of being overweight, in fact it is lower on the list than those who eat too many carbs. Everyone's metabolism is different. If you are a serious fruit eater, you are probably aware that the fruit breaks down into sugars in your body, same for carbs. These too can contribute to type 2. There is no set answer to any of these, but please be aware that using too much sugar does not necessarily cause diabetes. You have to have a well balanced diet - everyone should. But if you think that you can avoid type 2 diabetes by eliminating sugar, you need to do some major research.

Anonymous

03/12/2012 - 7:31pm

STEVIA IS 100% SAFE BECAUSE IT IS NATURAL AND EXTRACTED FROM A PLANT

Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna) is natural, so I guess you'd be happy to grow that and eat it as well?

Anonymous

03/09/2012 - 6:41am

I LOVE STEVIA!!! :)

Anonymous

03/01/2012 - 12:08am

Poison Ivy is 100% natural too.

Anonymous

02/20/2012 - 11:39pm

"brown sugar has a brown color and a distinctive taste because it has small remnants of burned sugar cane still in it."

"I look at the studies of Splenda and Aspartame and I find very little in the way of damning evidence that they will really hurt me. There is some talk about how it affects the flora in my gut. But there are some flora that I don't want there. If I kill off a specific genus+species (put scientific name here) organism, will I have a real problem?"

" In all respects, 'refined' sugar is more 'pure' than raw sugar or honey, since refined sugar is filtered and cleaned raw sugar"

Am I missing something? YES! You are missing ALOT -_-

Anonymous

02/09/2012 - 12:27am

STEVIA IS 100% SAFE BECAUSE IT IS NATURAL AND EXTRACTED FROM A PLANT JUST LIKE SUGAR CANE! YOU CAN GROW IT IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD! I have the plant in my back yard, you can eat the leaf and it tastes sweet. you can read the ingredient on the back of the box and it says 1 thing. THE ONLY SAFE SUGAR SUBSTITUTE SO FAR.

Anonymous

02/06/2012 - 4:02pm

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