Artificial sweeteners are developed in organic chemistry
labs. Stevia grows wild in the rain forests.
Finally, a sweetener that I think has yet to show any real
toxicity. It has been used for centuries by the Guarani
Indians both as a sweetener and a medicinal. It does not
have any calories, is suitable for diabetics and does not
cause cavities. It is obtained from the leaves of the stevia
shrub which grows wild in the Amambay Mountain region of
Introduced in Japan in 1970.
Stevia was first introduced to Japan in 1970 and by 1988 it
represented 41% of the sweetener market in Japan. To date,
there have been no ill effects or health related problems.
It is also used in Japan, to sweeten other foods such as ice
cream, bread, candy, pickles, seafood, vegetables and soft
drinks. The safety of stevia is accepted in Japan. Besides
being grown in Japan, it is now grown in China, Germany,
Malaysia, Israel and South Korea.
1991 Stevia Banned by the FDA
Sometime in the late 1980's an anonymous interest filed a
trade complaint against stevia when it began to show up in the
US. One of the companies using stevia at that time was Celestial
Seasonings Herbal Tea Company. The FDA ordered them to stop
producing their teas, which they said were "adulterated."
Another tea company, Traditional Medicinals, had their entire
inventory of teas containing stevia confiscated by the
FDA in an unexpected raid. The FDA even ordered a "book
burning" in Texas, of stevia related books. Fortunately,
the ACLU and the public heard of this and the FDA backed down.
1995 The FDA reverses its decision (halfway)
Stevia can now be sold as a nutritional supplement, but not as
a food additive / sweetener. It is available in health food
and vitamin stores usually in the vitamin department. It can
also be bought online. So far there do not seem to be any real
problems with stevia. There were some poorly conducted studies
done with enormous quantities of stevia administered to some
lab animals with resultant ?mutagens and problems with
carbohydrate metabolism. Generally, studies that are done
to find something wrong with a product, will either find
something wrong by utilizing poorly designed experiments or
invent some questionable findings. Besides, what study done
in a laboratory is more significant than hundreds of years
of use in South America and well over thirty years of use in
Japan, with no known ill effects on human health.
Stevia is even known to have good medicinal properties.
In fact, stevia has been shown to have good medicinal properties
in well designed studies, such as lowering blood pressure and
improving glucose tolerance in diabetics.
Today's Health Tip
If you like to have added sweetness in your teas, coffee and
other foods, definitely consider stevia. It appears to be a
whole lot safer than any of the other sweeteners both sugar
based and artificial, that we have recently reviewed.
Stryer Biochemistry Fourth Edition
The Practical Hippie
The url above contains a lot of good information on stevia
and has a lot of good links.
The MericleDiet makes it easy to go without any added sugars
or sweeteners. To visit the MericleDiet follow the link below:
Thanks for your attention.
Copyright 2005 John Mericle M.D. All Rights Reserved
http://DrMericle.com is devoted to achieving optimal health and peak performance through diet and lifestyle change. Dr. Mericle brings together a unique blend of formal training in organic chemistry and biochemistry, medical education, 29 marathons, 3 Hawaii Ironman competitions and a lot of practical real life experience.