STEVIA – Not A Natural Sweetener

This is great information about latest and greatest sweetener – written by Jill Ettinger on June 4th, 2012

Latest Offender of the Term ‘Natural’?

Beloved Sugar-Alternative, Stevia

Stevia leaf

United States banned stevia in the early 1990s unless labeled as a dietary supplement

Stevia, the revered South American plant popular in the U.S., Europe and Japan for its natural sweetness and use as an alternative to chemically-derived artificial sweeteners like saccharin and aspartame, is now facing hurdles of its own regarding claims that the product is natural.

Several EU Member States are looking at the process by which stevia is turned from a leaf into a powder: the plant’s potent glycosides are extracted in water, purified using ion exchange chromatography and then turned into a crystallized state using ethanol or methanol. Arguably not one of Mother Nature’s more routine processes, the EU Member States are concerned about labeling stevia as Natural, in light of the processing steps. One option being considered is to re-label stevia products as “derived from natural sources” instead of calling the products natural sweeteners.

Three hundred times sweeter than sugar, stevia has been embraced by individuals seeking to curb their sugar intake and avoid the side-effects and risks with other artificial sweeteners. Brands including Coca-Cola and Danone have begun using stevia in a number of products helping to boost the plant’s benefits to prominence.

While still considered to have more benefits than concerns, sensitivities are increasing all across the food industry about the use of the term “natural.” The unregulated term’s use on food labels and in advertisements has led to a number of lawsuits recently — including ConAgra for its use in Wesson oil which contains genetically modified oils, Frito Lays, also for calling its products natural when its chips contain genetically modified ingredients — which the World Health Organization defines as organisms that would not occur naturally.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: hardworkinghippy

Udate 6/28/2012

Please watch the following Dr. Oz video:  The #1 Habit That Could Be Making You Fat


2 thoughts on “STEVIA – Not A Natural Sweetener

  1. Stevia is a fantastic sweets subsitute. It does not trigger tooth decay and best of all, it can not cause obesity and diabetic issues.

    1. Thank you Brooks,
      The intent of the article is to call attention to the use of the term “NATURAL“. Also, to educate a little bit about what exactly people are putting into their bodies. We are not saying that Stevia is not an excellent alternative for those with Diabetes. I my self have family who have died and are dying of from the disease. As for the second part of your statement, I can no longer agree with. There are many studies that have been done to suggest that artificial sweeteners actually increase the brain need for sugar. Please watch this Dr. Oz video about artificial sweeteners. The whole point is not to have a false sense that your food is safe because it is allowed to be labeled “NATURAL“. Manufactures are aware that you are much more conscious and cautious about the term “ARTIFICIAL” and will avoid using it at any cost. I only hope that other people will read your comments and have a better understanding and choose to monitor their intake of Stivia. Thank you again

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