Stevia is of the Composite family, related to lettuce, marigold and chicory and. Sunflower that is native to Paraguay. South American natives have used stevia as a sweetener in its raw, unprocessed form for hundreds of years. They call it “k’aa h’ee,” which means sweet leaf or honey leaf.. It was "Officially" discovered in the late 19th century by Dr. Moises Santiago Bertoni. He was given samples of the plant and he reported that "one small piece of the leaf will keep the mouth sweet for an hour". He named the plant Stevia Rebuadiani Bertoni in honor of a Paraguayan chemist name Rebaudi. Bertoni found that the Guarani Indians had been using the leaves of the plant to sweeten bitter teas and as a sweet treat. The small green plant’s leaves have a delicious taste that can be 30 times sweeter than sugar.
Stevia has been used since pre-Colombian times with no reports of ill side affects. Stevia has also withstood years of research that has proven Stevia to be safe for human and animal consumption. Japan has been using stevia extracts for more than 30 years. In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) notice for Reb A sweetener use in food products. Numerous studies have shown that Reb A, unlike sugar, does not affect blood glucose or insulin levels. In June 2008, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (“JECFA”), administered jointly by the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), raised the acceptable daily intake level for stevia. JECFA published its approval of stevia after a decade of study, stating that, “95% steviol glycosides are safe for human use in the range of four milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day”. This doubled the average daily intake level previously set by JECFA from earlier studies. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) also approved Reb A as a food and beverage ingredient early in 2011; and it was approved for general consumption near the end of 2011. Reb A had already been approved for use in France under an associated review process. Retail products sweetened with Reb A are readily available there. Then, in July 2011 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) food standards program, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, published guidance on Reb A usage levels in common foodstuffs, further confirming acceptance of its safety. The Codex guidelines generally set the standard for the world.
Studies have shown the following benefits from using Stevia in one's diet. These benefits have not been approved or confirmed by the FDA. • Sugarless with out calories. 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar • Heat stable upto 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit) • Recommended for diabetics • Extensively testedon animals causing no toxic levels and continuouslyused by humans with no adverse effects. • Helps reduce blood pressure • Control blood sugar levels, unlike sugarcane sugar does • 100% Natural Sweetener • Non-fermentable, non-discoloring • Maintains heat stability at 95 °C and features a lengthy shelf life. Unlike artificial sweeteners, it doesn't break down with heat, so you can learn to cook with it too. • Natural Flavor enhancer • Acts as Plaque retardant Anti-caries and prevents cavities • It has excellent healing capabilities without scarring if placed on a cut
The FDA says it’s not safe. Those on the side of stevia say it’s a political move by the sugar and artificial sweetener camps to keep stevia from moving in on their business. If you’re not sold on the FDA’s view of stevia and would like a second opinion consider this, stevia has been approved in Brazil, Japan, and China. It’s also being looked at for use in future Coca-Cola products. A scientific panel for food additives at the apex Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the regulatory body which makes rules for food safety, has recommended the use of stevia, a natural sweetener for use in carbonated water, soft drink concentrates, chewing gums and table-top sweeteners. Stevia has been around for a long time, even in the United States. Early studies on stevia go back to the 1950's but the United States is a nation chin deep in bureaucracy, dirty-politics and corruption. In the 1950's the sugar industry fought to prevent the use of Stevia in the United States. Today, the manufacturers of Nutrasweet (aspartame) have practically bought the FDA to prevent it's approval as a food additive and therefore a sugar substitute. If you don't believe me, contact 60 Minutes of CBS. In the Spring of 1997 they aired a report on how Nutrasweet "bought" influence with the FDA to force the approval of a sweetener that is now blamed for the illnesses and deaths of thousands of Americans.
Packed with all the goodness of nature, the Stevia plant is an immensely healthy alternative to sugar. While Stevia and its extracts can be used in cooking and baking at high temperatures, it does have limitations in its usage. Due to the chemically different molecular structure of Stevioside, Stevia does not caramelize or crystallize and therefore it limiting the role of Stevia as a binding agent. The extremely effective and naturally concentrated Stevia does not add texture or mass to a food product like sugar.
Toxic? – No. Stevia has been used in Japan since 1970 and there have been no reports of toxicity or other side effects. • Mutagenic? – No. The Japanese Food and Drug Safety Center has found stevia not to be mutagenic. Only one study has shown stevia to be potentially a mutagenic and this study has been criticized for errors in procedure. Scientist in Great Britain said that according to the study’s formula, distilled water is mutagenic. • A contraceptive? Two studies showed stevia to have a contraceptive effect. The first study was done in Uruguay over 30 years ago and since then no one has been able to reproduce the results. The second study was done by a graduate student in Rio de Janeiro and the results and methods have been questionable. Multiple other studies have shown that stevia has no contraceptive effect. • Is Stevia Safe? Absolutely. Stevia has been used around the world with NO reports of stevia overdose or toxicity to humans in the past forty years.
Fresh Leaves – Most pure form. 8 – 12% sweet glycosides : 5-8% Steviosides and 1-2% Rebaudioside A. • Dried Leaves – Dried form of the fresh leaves-Used in brewing herbal teas and for making liquid extracts. • Tea Cut Leaves – Cut into small pieces and sifted to remove twigs and other unwanted matter. • Ground Leaves (Powder) - The dried leaves ground into a fine powder. Usually about 10 – 15 times sweeter than sugar. Used in teas and cooking but does not dissolve. • Dark – A concentrated syrup derived from the dried leaves. Usually in a water and alcohol base. Sweetness varies between manufacturers. This form will offer the greater amount of benefits from the stevia plant. • Clear – A solution of powdered steviosides dissolved in water, alcohol or glycerin. Powdered Extracts (STEVIOSIDES) • 40 – 50% Sweet Glycosides – The processed form of the leaves to concentrate on the sweet glycosides by removing unwanted plant matter. An off white powder. Commonly referred to as "Stevioside". • 80 – 95% Sweet Glycosides - The processed form of the leaves to concentrate on the sweet glycosides by removing unwanted plant matter. An off white powder. This powder is 200 – 300 times sweeter than sugar. Quality of the powder depends on purity of the glycosides (i.e. 80 – 95% pure) and the ratio of Rebaudioside A over Stevioside. The higher the ratio, the better the product. Commonly referred to as "Stevioside". • Due to the great strength of the Powdered Extracts, it is common to add a filler to "tone" down the strength so that the Stevioside is easier to use and more palatable. These fillers are usually some form of non-sweet food additive that has little to no nutritive value such as lactose or maltodextrin.
Consumed around the world in massive quantities due to its numerous health benefits, pin pointing the exact amount of Stevia that is consumed around the world is difficult. The Japanese had consumed about 700 metric tones of Stevia in 1987 alone, though the numbers have risen tremendously over the years. This data does not take in to account the thousands of tonnes of Stevia that is used in the entire region of South America, South Korea, China, and all the areas in the Pacific Rim region along with countries in Europe, Australia and North America, where Stevia is consumed in large quantities.
No! The molecular structures of sucrose and Stevioside are completely different. Sucrose (Sugar) when heated will caramelize making such delights as cookies, fudge and... caramel, a possibility. Stevia will not. Some sweets, like caramel, is not possible, yet, but other sweets like cookies and fudge are possible if you can figure out how.
No! The fact that stevia is heat stable is one of the real great properties of Stevia. Stevioside is heat stable to about 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit). So it can be used in almost any recipe.
No! Stevia is non-fermentable and therefore will not act as a food source for yeast. (This is why stevia is great for anyone suffering from Candida!) Breads will still rise when baked but just not as big.
There are many reasons actually. 1) Stevia is a plant that has to be cultivated before it can be used as a sweetener. This requires large investments of capital to buy plants, farms, equipment, etc. to grow and harvest the plants. There is also the expense of the equipment to process the leaves into the pure stevioside. 2) When compared to sugar and the artificial sweeteners, yes, it is expensive. Stevia is not widely cultivated like sugar is. Sugar is also a very expensive product to grow and process but with hundreds of countries growing and processing sugar, economics becomes a major factor in price. As for the chemical sweeteners, face facts, its nothing but a blend of cheap chemicals. That is why it is so profitable. 3) There are also some people in this business (stevia business) that either have inefficient and expensive suppliers or they are actually (yes I know this is hard to believe) overpricing for the sake of money. They sell low quality stevia and/or they sell stevia using tricky and even confusing marketing practices.
The answer is simple: Money! The diet soft drink market is HUGH, worth billions of dollars and the manufacturer of Nutrasweet is not about to share that market. So the armies of lobbyist were called in to make sure the FDA did not allow the use of Stevia as a food ingredient thereby protecting their market. Nutrasweet has a patent on aspartame and that patent guarantees big profits where Stevia is a natural plant that can be grown by anyone and everyone.
According to the report Effect of the Stevioside and of the aqueous extract of Stevia Rebaudiana (BERT) Bertoni on the glycemia of normal and diabetic rats By: Professor Carlos Eduardo Pinheiro, Presented to the II Brazilian Convention on Stevia rebaudiana (Bert) Bertoni - September 1982, they found that the use of Stevia did not produce any significant glycemic effects in normal or diabetic rats. In other words, stevia does not add sugar to the blood stream as sugar or even fruit can do. This allows the body to regulate the blood's sugar levels naturally. Of course if you drink tea with stevia with a twinkie, all bets are off but if you are careful with your diet, stevia is a wonderful way to satisfy your cravings for sweets without sugar.
Originally stevia grew wild in the highland region of Northern Paraguay and Southern Brazil. It was later cultivated for use as a sweetener until the introduction of sugar cane by the Spanish and Portuguese. Today Stevia is grown around the world from China, Japan and other Asian countries to South America, Europe, India, the Ukraine and even North America.
The marvelous aspect of Stevia is that it does not contain calories and therefore does not contribute to unnecessary weight gain. Stevia is natural and assists in weight control.
Artificial sweeteners are chemically formulated, man-made sugar alternatives that have been known to harm the body. Research conducted around the world clearly indicates the adverse effects of artificial sweeteners. While Stevia is an all natural herb that guarantees that none of the harmful affects of artificial sweeteners are present in its composition. The incredible healing properties and benefits of Stevia make it imperative for people to substitute Stevia for artificial sweeteners
Yes, Stevia is absolutely safe for diabetics due to the fact that it does not raise the blood sugar levels. The research that was conducted at the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism in Aarhus University Hospital located in Denmark confirmed that Stevioside and Steviol present in the Stevia increase the secretion of insulin by directly impacting the beta cells in the pancreas. The data collected from this experiment show that Stevia can actually be used for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. Stevia must be the preferred sweetener for all diabetics since it is natural and absolutely safe with no side effects
Due to the lobbyists who gained economically from Sugar production, Stevia was unable to gain a foothold in the market. However with increasing awareness about the benefits of Stevia, it is gaining popularity as an important food ingredient and table top sweetener. Countries like Malaysia, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and India have understood the significance of using Stevia and approved it for use in manufacturing food and as a sweetener.