In 2007 the FDA banned the use of Stevia as a food additive (or sweetener); yet new Stevia-based “sweetener” products continue to pop up on grocery store shelves nationwide. How can this be?
The most likely answer—the FDA is caving into pressure from artificial sweetener manufacturers who fear they will lose their empire in the wake of a new “natural” sweetener hitting the market. So instead of approving the Stevia plant for use as a natural sweetener the FDA decided to only approve one of Stevia’s active ingredients: rebaudoside.
Rebaudoside is the agent that provides most of the sweet taste found in Stevia. The problem is this: when used as a whole plant Stevia offers zero calorie sweetness with other health benefits. But by extracting just one element of the Stevia plant for use as a sweetener, this element loses its group synergy and will most likely perform differently when consumed. In a nutshell, the new Stevia based sweeteners now on grocery store shelves may not affect your body the same way as the Stevia plant—Stevia based sweeteners may deliver adverse health affects.
Here’s what we know for sure. The plant Stevia has been used as a natural sweetener for over 1,500 years. Besides being a zero calorie natural sweetener, studies have found many other health benefits associated with Stevia including a reduction in blood glucose, triglycerides and triiodothhyronine (Dec 2008 Journal of Animal Psychology and Animal Nutrition). Stevia is also a great source of antioxidants (Journal of agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2007).
All of this information paves a clear path of action for us as consumers: avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs including Stevia based sweeteners (the ones that use only Rebaudoside). Instead, opt for using natural, untampered with, regular old Stevia as your sweetener of choice.
Uncover the health hazards of using artificial sweeteners and refined sugar; order your copy of Dr. John Madeira’s book ‘Setting Things Straight’ available at www.SettingThingsStraight.com.