Advertisement
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).

Download a Free Cookbook with Our Best Healthy Dessert Recipes!

COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

i never try stevia witch is the better on taste ,?,liquid form or what?

Anonymous

03/31/2015 - 1:20pm

I don't suffer with upset tummies very often but I too bought the Tesco 'Healthy Living' range mint humbugs and within an hour or so was feeling bloated, nauseous and had an upset tummy. Admittedly, I did eat 2 x 3 sweets over an hour but I certainly never expected to feel so crappy. Definitely won't be buying them again!

Anonymous

03/19/2015 - 10:29am

@anonymous. Gluten isn't bad for you. (Unless you're allergic) Just sayin.

Anonymous

03/08/2015 - 7:58pm

I found this site after opening up a Yogi tea and finding that now one of the major ingredients is Stevia leaf. it was NOT labeled on the outside of the box. I have allergies triggers, most I can avoid by not consuming or inhaling them. Ie rag weed, dandelions..etc etc are fine until I ingest or INHALE,then its on. Respiratory distress, diarrhea. anxiety and panic attacks. NO THANK YOU!

So look closely at your favorite products, they're sneaking it into everything. Just like caramageen.
I guess the upside is, I will be eating even LESS processed foods like vegan ice cream. I'm loosing a product a month at this rate.

I also called Yogi teas and left a msg to have them call me about the lack of ingredients listing on their packaging. at $5.00 a box, you want to know what you are paying for.

Use your noggin and do the homework.

Anonymous

02/23/2015 - 3:38pm

I like Stevia! There are negatives in comments on the Inet about every sweetener out there including sugar. I am unhappy with most of them, and afraid of some of them. I have used pure Stevia for years in my coffee.
It has an aftertaste if I use a lot of it, but not in the small/single dose I use. But so do the others.
My wife can taste it and doesn't like it or any of the other artificial sweeteners. She finds you have to use some sugar in her cooking for things to cook right, but cuts the recipe quantity at least in half. I have also used products that have Stevia with other additives - like the small packets that use 'fillers' to equal a sugar packet in sweetness - yuck. I tried Zevia drinks and got gas reactions from the Erythritol additive, so stopped drinking it.
I have type 2 diabetes, and have to control my diet to stay on pills and off injections. Stevia has no observable impact on MY health, so I recommend that you try small doses of the pure form of it. Sugar and carbs are bad for me. A doctor can help you sort some things out, but the only person responsible for your health is YOU. Pay attention to your own reactions as some of the other comments here indicate.

Anonymous

02/17/2015 - 10:33am

I have a cast iron stomach-nothing upsets it! That was before I discovered little packs of sweets this week that tesco sell in their "healthy living" range. I bought 2 packs, sherbet lemons and mint humbugs. As I walked home I opened the pack and ate some of the lemon sweets, probably about 10 in all. An hour later at home I had terrible diarrhea. Most unusual for me. I then read the pack out of curiosity. In fairness it did state that eating the sweets in excess could have a laxative effect. I would have thought an excess would have been several packets but I then went on to read that the packet containing just 80g of sweets had infact 10 servings in it! Perhaps the warning would have been better placed on the front of the back in bold writing! . Stupidly the following day I ate a few more of the lemon sweets , this time sticking to the dose of 3 sweets to a portion. All night my stomach grumbled and churned and me feel slightly less than my normal healthy self. My daughter sat in the same room as me could hear my stomach also Don't think I will be buying more of those sweets. Maybe they would be better marketed in a chemist for people who need a helping hand to open their bowells!

Anonymous

02/05/2015 - 6:39am

Eat anything, drink anything, smoke, live dangerously.
But only in moderation, that's the key.
The body can and will assimilate anything in time as long as it is in small doses.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Exercise, make love, live your life, let the other guy worry about gluten free foods.
By the way, I love to make bread and I add extra gluten into the flour to get more elasticity in the dough.
ha ha ha ha

— Anonymous

Anonymous, I bet you aren't over 40 years of age otherwise you wouldn't be laughing and acting so smart!

Anonymous

02/02/2015 - 5:33pm

Loblaws sell Mango Orange which states `sweetened with Stevia Extract` and also say it is 40% less sugar.

Loblaws offers a few tricks that customers `miss`, mainly the product without a price, until the till.

G.V Williams

Anonymous

01/26/2015 - 10:14am

I've used " best stevia" from Lef.org for the last 4 years with no problems. Tastes good no after taste no side effects. Just pure stevia.

Anonymous

01/24/2015 - 2:47pm

Eat anything, drink anything, smoke, live dangerously.
But only in moderation, that's the key.
The body can and will assimilate anything in time as long as it is in small doses.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Exercise, make love, live your life, let the other guy worry about gluten free foods.
By the way, I love to make bread and I add extra gluten into the flour to get more elasticity in the dough.
ha ha ha ha

Anonymous

01/06/2015 - 10:55pm

Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner