Dangers of Stevia Revealed
The question you should be asking is "what are the benefits of stevia"? The benefits may be great.
In fact, here are its BENEFITS:
In addition, some studies have shown that stevia lowers blood pressure, but this is still inconclusive.
The research shows no dangers of stevia in humans.
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Research conducted on humans and published in September 2006 in the Phytotherapy Research journal states that "the results suggest that...stevioside is safe and supports the well-established tolerability during long term use as a sweetener".
That pretty much says it all.
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In December 2008, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved certain "highly refined stevia preparations" as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). The language on their website makes it very clear that they have NOT approved the pure herbal form of stevia, only these very highly refined products. So, the pure stevia extract product that I know and love (that you can only buy in a health food store or online--not in your grocery store) is still only approved for use as a "food supplement"--NOT as a sweetener. So their stance is that there still are dangers of stevia.
But the Japanese have been using stevia for decades--and it is used in many packaged food products in Japan. It is also widely used as a sweetener in Brazil. Obviously, the Japanese and Brazilians don't feel there are any dangers of stevia (stevioside) nor any danger in stevia rebaudiana (the whole herb).
You've probably already seen the products that use these "highly refined stevia preparations" in TV advertising and in your grocery store. Personally, I'm sticking to the more natural version of stevia, the pure stevia extract. Here is a link to more information about studies done on stevia
And as with ANY food substance, some people may be allergic to stevia.
Learn more about an allergic reaction to stevia here.
You may have heard some people's theories that the reason the FDA was so reticent to approve it as a sweetener is not because of any true danger of stevia, but because of pressure from the companies who own patented artificial sweeteners like aspartame (Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda).
But in stepped two large companies that developed their own patented versions of stevia sweeteners, Truvia(TM) by Cargill and Merisant's PureVia. They've teamed with the biggest soft drink manufacturers (like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo). Given the HUGE market for diet soft drinks, there's lots of money to be made from marketing a diet soft drink with a natural sweetener. And, based on my research, sales of diet soft drinks have been sagging, so this could be their solution to boost sales.
Stevia vs Test-Tube Sweeteners
There are LOTS of user reports and research studies that show a great deal of harm from the artificial sweeteners (including sucralose/Splenda, which is marketed as a "natural" product).
Since you only need such a small amount to create the sweetness of sugar, it can be difficult to bake with--but I've included some of my recipes on this site to help you (if you'd like to try it). I've also included information about
Don't go overboard. Even though there are no proven dangers of stevia (especially as compared to any of the artifical sweeteners), you CAN get "too much of a good thing".
It's important when you're trying to lose weight to diminish your taste for sweets. Using any type of sweetener is only going to make that worse. And for those of you who find that you are addicted to sweets, use any sweetener, even stevia, sparingly.
But stevia can be a wonderful addition to a healthy diet, and can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
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