Stevia is a non-caloric herb, native to South America. In use for over fifteen hundred years or so, this herb is also three hundred times sweeter than sugar! It is because of the herbs popularity that its safety even became an issue with the experts. Of course the same fame also led to bitter reactions.
Having sweet treats on occasion and still being able to keep their blood sugar normal is something so many people are concerned about. Since this non-caloric natural herb is the product that claims that it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels the way sugar does, there is of course a lot of talk around it. Back in the nineties, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that stevia was unsafe. But FDA’s action against stevia was considered by many to be a step to benefit the already popular artificial sweetener industry. Tellingly, the FDA has never issued any document that declares in a binding fashion that stevia is unsafe and cannot be sold, only that it cannot be sold as a sweetener.
Why would the artificial sugar industry go this far? Because when it comes to stevia there are no patents to produce it because it occurs naturally. Since Stevia is something people can grow in their backyards, if this product becomes popular then the artificial sweetener business will suffer losses. In 1995, the FDA was forced to revise its stance and to permit stevia to be sold as a dietary supplement, although this created a double standard. In short this proves that FDA’s ruling had nothing to do with safety issues of using Stevia but it was based on something else.
Stevia is said to be a healthy addition to the diet for many people. Stevia extracts improve blood glucose control without side effects. Stevia has been used widely as sweeteners in Japan since 1971 without restriction or reported health hazards. In South America, Stevia is traditionally used for people with diabetes and blood sugar problems. Even Health Canada says there are no health or safety concerns associated. Stevia is safe to use even according to food standards agencies in Australia and New Zealand regions.
Stevia is a great way to naturally sweeten foods and drinks. Of course everything is good only when used in moderation. When using stevia as a sweetener, use it in its whole form (in powder, liquid or herb…as long as it doesn’t have any additional chemicals or ingredients added). This is the best solution!