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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

Shirl, please spell it correctly. It is Stevia with an A on the end. Not Stevie. Stevie is a person's name, like Stevie Wonder or Stevie Nicks. Thanks.

Anonymous

06/05/2014 - 12:23pm

I kept having dizzy nauseous spells that would come on suddenly. After looking back and tracing what I had eaten the common denominator was Stevia. It was not something I ate often but each time I had the same reaction and feeling that hit suddenly. Just a FYI. I stay away from stevia now and have not had the dizziness. It does lower blood pressure so makes sense.
Anonymous

Anonymous

05/25/2014 - 12:47am

I'm 77 and I use PURE STEVIE and not anything else that SAYS it is Stevie, this and that. My Dr. told me that my body does not recolonize Stevie as sugar, because it is not! I have Diabetes and I control it with exercise, diet and Stevie, IT is type 2. PEOPLE, WE NEED TO EDUCATE OURSELVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
about our own health. I personally will continue to use it and learn more about it, canning, cooking, baking,
and anything else I can. That is how I feel and I am not telling anyone else to use anything that they don't know about. LEARN LEARN AND THEN LEARN SOME MORE, It is never to late.!!!!!!!

Shirl

Anonymous

05/23/2014 - 11:21am

Who reasons eating something based on the FDA? They've approved terrible things and banned great. Happens all the time; it's a business.

Anonymous

05/02/2014 - 9:43pm

after reading everyones posted information about Stevia there are many differnt opinions so to draw an opinion form this area is; there is NO good source of subtitute sugar which includes agava (processed many times over). Raising BEE's for their HONEY! I can't believe how NEGATIVE people are about Stevia. I have used Stevia for year's and never once had a problem with it. Just remember people the Internet has FALSE information TOO! SO what you believe is truely up to you!

Anonymous

04/26/2014 - 9:52am

I'm not going to use Stevia from now on, even though I've just started using it over the last few months, I hope I haven't done any damage to my system. I just bought a small liquid container, which says it's organic Stevia, with added Chromium and I've been using it, "Ouch!" I'm now asking "What is Chromium?" It's made by WonderFoods here in Australia. I just hope I'm safe, having been through Cancer once. I was told it was the safest of all false sweeteners? I must have been ill informed...

Oh well I'll just stick to my Organic Maple, and my Raw Organic Agave Syrup from now on!! I love real honey fresh from the hives, but not commercially 'processed honey,' or 'man made Maple Syrup' it's just rubbish!

Nancye

Anonymous

04/05/2014 - 9:21pm

What is the safest sweetener instead of sugar

Anonymous

03/22/2014 - 6:28am

The longer the shelf life, the shorter your life...

Anonymous

02/25/2014 - 8:58pm

I am not sure why aspartame can be harmful to you. It comprises mainly two essential amino acids; phylalanine and another one I cant remember the name of . Essential amino acids cannot be synthesised by our bodies and therefore we have to take them in our diet. The two in aspartame are fairly common in dairy foods and meat so how could they be dangerous as sweeteners.
James from Perth WA

Anonymous

02/12/2014 - 1:53am

Use Xylitol! It is the healthiest for you and does not cause damage to your teeth. The only thing to be careful of is if you have pets; they can not digest it like humans and can die from it.

Anonymous

02/08/2014 - 3:17pm

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