Giving up sugar is a healthy choice and fortunately there are many natural sweeteners on the market; one of which is Stevia. But, is Stevia safe?
What Is Stevia?
Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) is a plant, native to Paraguay and Brazil. The leaves of the Stevia plant are 200 – 300 times sweeter than sugar when used in the same concentration. Many health-conscious individuals are switching to Stevia because its sweetness is naturally occurring, and no calories are added to the diet.
Is Stevia Bad For You?
The Guarani Indians in Brazil and Paraguay have used Stevia to sweeten foods, teas, and medicinal brews for over 200 years. More and more, Stevia is being cultivated worldwide and used as a sweetener to reduce sugar consumption, control weight, and enhance overall health.
The safety of Stevia has been verified by top scientific, medical, and monitoring authorities around the world. Both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) have confirmed Stevia as a safe alternative sweetener.
The FDA And Stevia
The The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved Stevia in the form of Stevia rebaudioside A, a fully refined extract, which markedly differs from whole-leaf Stevia or basic Stevia extracts. The FDA made its determination after several food giants, including Cargill, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Wisdom Natural Brands submitted safe reviews regarding the use of the alternative sweetener. The rebaudioside compounds are derived from the leaf by a lengthy chemical process using a variety of chemicals, including ethanol, methanol, isopropanol, and acetonitrile.
Cargill has introduced Truvia®, and describes it: “stevia leaf extract, a versatile, natural, zero-calorie sweetening ingredient.” Wisdom Natural Brands now sells SweetLeaf®, which is their version of Stevia. Both PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola offer variations of sodas sweetened with Stevia.
Amarillo personal trainer, Ralph Roberts, can help you make the best personal nutritional decisions. There are many natural sweeteners on the market like Stevia, such as honey, agave, and molasses. Ask an expert and contact Ralph today to schedule a free personal training session.