Did you know?
Stevia has a rate of sweetness up to 300 times than sugar low calorie, good for diet, doesn’t damage the teeth and blood vessels, lowering high blood pressure, and lowering blood sugar levels.
What is Stevia?
For those of you that are hearing about stevia for the first time, it is a plant that is typically grown in South America, and while its extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar, it does not raise blood insulin levels. That’s what makes it so popular. However in 1991 the FDA refused to approve this substance for use due to pressure from makers of artificial sweeteners like Sweet n’ Low and Equal (a one billion dollar industry). But in 2008, the FDA approved the use of rebaudioside compounds that were derived from the stevia plant by Coca-Cola (Cargill) and PepsiCo – hmmm doesn’t that sound suspicious? Not until a major food company got involved did stevia become legal, and only after it had been highly processed using a patentable chemical-laden process…so processed that Truvia (Coca-Cola’s branded product) goes through about 40 steps to process the extract from the leaf, relying on chemicals like acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol. Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens (substances that cause cancer), and none of those ingredients sound like real food, do they?
The whole leaf stevia that you can grow in your backyard (and has been used for centuries in countries like Brazil and Paraguay) remains a non-approved food additive by the FDA. However, rebaudioside A (the stevia extract) that was approved by the FDA has not been used for centuries and long term human health impacts have not been studied and are still unknown. The sweetener/sugar industry wields powerful influence over what is ultimately approved at the FDA, and this is just another example where they are influencing decisions that don’t make sense. How can a chemically derived extract be deemed safe in processed food and a plant from mother nature.
Benefits of Stevia
Stevia as a medicinal herb has been used for centuries but has also been recently studied for its health benefits.
One double-blind placebo study found that regular consumption of stevia can help reduce blood pressure for patients with mild hypertension.
Another study found that stevia may have the potential to reduce breast cancer cell growth*.
Follow up studies have uncovered potential benefits in reducing blood sugar and in avoiding other types of cancer growth.
In addition, most people who consume stevia use it as an alternative for sugar, and simply avoiding sugar can have health benefits of its own.
*more extensive research is needed