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Is Stevia Safe?

A. Stevia has been touted as a "natural" sweetener and an alternative to sugar, but is it safe for us to consume? Though it seems this non-caloric sweetener just made its name recently, the stevia plant has a long history of use as a sweetener in South America. These newer stevia sweeteners—sold under brand names like Truvia, Stevia in the Raw or OnlySweet, and in blends with sugar, such as PureVia or Born Sweet Zing (at 8 to 10 calories per teaspoon)—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 Recognized as Safe (GRAS) ingredient.

The FDA affirmed, and still maintains, the GRAS status only for highly purified stevia extracts (Rebaudioside A, or Reb A). Whole stevia leafs, including products containing "crude stevia extract" or "whole leaf stevia," are not classified as GRAS because data is lacking on their effects on the cardiovascular, urinary and reproductive systems.

However, some consumer advocacy groups, like The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), criticize the quality of the studies (which are often done by the manufacturers themselves) and think 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."

Despite being "natural," sugar substitutes like Stevia that earn the GRAS status usually don't have as much safety data as approved additives, meaning it's worth using Stevia sparingly—the daily acceptable dietary intake, or ADI, for Stevia is 9 packets.

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), and using it sparingly.

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COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

Anyone know if Natvia is safe?

Anonymous

01/02/2013 - 8:26pm

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).

Buy online pure Stevia Rebaudiana extract: 100 % Rebaudioside A 98 (Reb-A 98)
at www.STEVIACITY.com

Anonymous

02/04/2013 - 12:25am

where can I get seed or plants of Stevia?

Anonymous

02/04/2013 - 8:21pm

I don't trust the FDA at all. They are killing us with all the bad chemicals in our food.

Anonymous

02/13/2013 - 10:10am

The FDA and UsDA are all crooks. They have absolutely no interest in the health of Americans. I'm disgusted by how they run food stuff and will never trust them or buy ANYTHING approved by them. The Chinese have been using Stevia for centuries and have been avoided by the FDA for just as long. They now are feeling the heat from all the other lab created artificial ingredients that are killing us, so they decide to jump on the Stevia band wagon and then have the nerve to find a way to process more efficiently by adding a bunch of other crap to it. Open your eyes people, boycot, boycot, boycot. Grow a vegetable plot, support locally grown sustainable farms. Don't buy processed or cannd foods. Ef the FDA!

Anonymous

02/17/2013 - 8:58am

any brands such as truvia, are not the real stevia and should be addressed. they have dextrose in them, which act as artificial sweetners and effect our brain cells, once the body temperature welcomes it in our inner body, iur neurotransmitters get damaged, when a condition known as excitotoxicity occurs. Just like objects, we have energy flowing through our bodies. Our system is not designed to accept these types of sweeteners. if you would like to find out more, please visit my site divasmasas, go to the stevia section and do some research. good luck matt. www.divasmasas.com

any of the larger stores, you should not give them business for one and with supply and demand theory, they cannot produce the demand nationwide without putting those pesky additives in products. sad but true.

Anonymous

02/18/2013 - 7:04pm

If the FDA knew for a fact, that Stevia adversely effected fertility and reproductive development, they would approve it in a heartbeat! Then some high ranking executive from the FDA would get a nice cushy job, with a six figure salary, with whatever company was the major lobbyist for the product.

Anonymous

02/22/2013 - 1:30am

I was having migraines for some time after I had switched from sugar to stevia and since it was the only sweetener I was using I started to research it. I found that alot of stevia foods and drinks have other sweeteners mixed in with it like alcohol sugars. They can be listed in quite a few different names. When I just used 100% Stevia I didn't have any headaches. If I used Truvia or any stevia product that I had bought with any sugar alcohols added to them, I was getting my headaches back almost instantly.My stomach would start to hurt too. I haven't had any problems after I made sure to buy 100% pure stevia. Don't know if many others have had this issue but thought I'd post this if it may help anyone that prefers stevia over chemical sweeteners. The following names are different forms of sugar alcohols that you may find on labels:
Erythritol
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates
Isomalt
Lactitol
Maltitol
Mannitol
Sorbitol
Xylitol

Leigh_87

03/08/2013 - 1:29am

what grocery / health food stores have the 100% real stevia?

Anonymous

03/15/2013 - 5:01pm

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).

Buy online pure Stevia Rebaudiana extract: 100 % Rebaudioside A 98 (Reb-A 98)
NO FILLER NO CALORIE NO SUGAR
at www.STEVIA-CITY.com

Anonymous

03/20/2013 - 11:49am

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