Stevia is an all-natural sweetener and is the ideal sweetener because of the many amazing attributes it has when compared to other sweeteners on the market today, including table sugar and aspartame.Â This all natural sweetener comes in several forms, including liquids and powders as well as more refined and condensed versions. It is starting to be used by companies like MonaVie and other health oriented food manufacturers as a replacement for sugar and other sweeteners.
This sweet leaf or sugar leaf as it is sometimes referred to grows in places such as Paraguay, Brazil, China, and Japan.Â It has also been grown by smaller growers along the Pacific Rim and has seen some success in Southern Ontario, Mexico, and California.Â Stevia is a wild plant that belongs to the Sunflower family.
The first documented use of Stevia was in 1887 by natural scientist Antonio Bertoni.Â The Guarani people of Paraguay have used Stevia as a healing herb for centuries.Â James May, the man who introduced Stevia to America, went on a journey to try and track down the Wise Old Man who knew all of the ancient healing arts of Stevia as well as many other native plants.Â He never found the Wise Old Man, because he had passed on and taken the secrets with him to his grave, but before he died he prophesied that a man would come back that we reintroduce Stevia to the world and the people of Paraguay would learn how to grow Stevia in a sustainable manner as well as to teach the world of its healing qualities.
The natural sweetener Stevia is largely known, outside of Paraguay, for its caloric value, which is near nothing.Â In refined portions its caloric value is considered negligible.Â This is why the bigger companies love to use it in their beverages.Â Zero calories sodas were an easy sell and easy to create with the help of Stevia.Â It is used as a sweetener that many people with diabetes prefer to use, because of its near invisible impact on blood sugar levels.
Stevia was ambiguously GRAS approved by the FDA is 2009.Â They issued a letter of no objection to the use of rebiana which is an ingredient derived from the Stevia leaf.Â This was a huge step, because in 1991 the FDA had issued an import alerts based off of a flawed study.Â In 1995 they finally revised the import alert to a compromise between the sugar and artificial sweetener lobbyists and the natural foods industry.Â This statement read that as long as the labels did not claim that there were any technical effects produced by the Stevia (such as flavor enhancement, etc.) then they were not subject to the same rules as sweeteners.Â Interestingly, when big companies such as Coca Cola and Pepsi wanted to use Stevia in their products it was suddenly recognized as safe, but only to such a degree as they would not object, which still allows the FDA room to come down hard on smaller companies while ignoring the bigger companies.Â Luckily for consumers the switch to Stevia over aspartame is a much safer and better route to go.
Stevia has basically replaced aspartame in many beverages and sugar free items.Â Aspartame has had over 90 different negative symptoms reported to the FDA and yet it still remains FDA approved.Â It was accidentally discovered when some scientist were researching ulcers. Aspartame has been known to trigger and/or worsen brain tumors, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and many other degenerative diseases.Â Some of the symptoms reported have been migraines, slurred speech, weight gain, muscle spasms, memory loss, and anxiety attacks.
With the addition of Stevia to the natural foods market as well as the regular grocery market it is no wonder that other products are being usurped.Â No calories, health benefits, as well as the lack of toxic sugar or chemicals being put into the body are all great selling points.Â Stevia can help to restore health and is used in many different health drinks as well to add more health benefits to the products with the added bonus of no extra calories and no added chemicals for sweetening.Â Stevia has just fought it’s way through the great barrier that is the FDA and is can only go up from here.Â People around the world will continue to learn and benefit from the amazing Stevia leaf for years to come.