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Coca-Cola Sweetening Its Lineup With Stevia

Apparently, FDA approval can wait. This week, the Coca-Cola company will begin selling a diet drink sweetened with the somewhat controversial herbal supplement stevia. For three diet flavors of its Odwalla juices, Coke will use the Truvia brand of sweetener, which it developed in partnership with Cargill earlier this year.

Unlike most of the products derived from the stevia herb, Truvia isn't labeled as a "dietary supplement," but it has yet to be approved by the FDA. Coke is moving forward with Truvia-sweetened products anyway, though PepsiCo is still holding off. For the details,


Both Coke and Pepsi expect the FDA to rule that stevia is "generally regarded as safe," but Pepsi plans to wait for official approval. Each beverage giant has its own brand of stevia: Coke's Truvia will face off against Pepsi's PureVia brand, which it plans to use in SoBe Life Water and a new juice called Trop 50. You can already buy one brand of soda made with stevia, called Zevia. But safety concerns persist:

As recently as August 2007, the FDA has questioned the safety of stevia.

"In fact, literature reports have raised safety concerns about the use of stevia, including concerns about control of blood sugar, and effects on the reproductive, cardiovascular and renal systems," the FDA wrote in a letter to Hain Celestial about its Zingers To Go Tangerine Orange Wave Herb Tea. The tea's ingredients included stevia.

But manufacturers have become more confident that the FDA won't oppose their use of stevia sweeteners, with trade publication Beverage Digest having even predicted that the sweetener would be approved last month.

Will you try the new Odwalla drinks before — or even after — the FDA's approval comes through?

Spectra Spectra 8 years
I personally don't care for stevia, but I do plan to try Truvia to see if it has less of a licorice-like taste to it. I'm pretty sure the FDA will approve it shortly. And to all the FDA haters out there, don't be so hard on them. They honestly DO test products thoroughly and they do their best to make sure drugs and new food additives are safe before they release them to the public. Sometimes long-term effects don't get reported because the products aren't tested for 20 years before being released. As for the Vioxx thing, most of the problems with that happened to people that were using it for pain other than arthritis pain. Because it was specific to the COX-2 enzyme, you'd have to take a lot more Vioxx to get rid of the pain. That's why doctors need to be more careful about who to prescribe meds to and not just focus on the kickbacks they get from the pharm companies. Anyone know if Coca Cola will make a soda sweetened with Truvia? I would kind of like to try it.
chameleon7 chameleon7 8 years
Correction, I was thinking of splenda, not stevia. My brain felt like shutting down after my workout today.
chameleon7 chameleon7 8 years
Soniabonya, They claim it taste just like sugar, but to me it taste anything but sugar. Taste just like pretty much any other artificial sweetener out there. Personally, I just going to stick with regular sugar/cane sugar/fruit/honey, I do not like the chemical/fake taste of artificial sweeteners and the overly sweeten products.
foxie foxie 8 years
BINGO, simba. This is almost certainly an issue of keeping sugar/artificial sweetener industry on top.
Renee3327 Renee3327 8 years
I really don't think it matters whether it's FDA approved or not. Pretty much every other country uses it, not to mention you would likely have to consume large quantities for to have any negative impact (if there is any).
Red-Sharpie Red-Sharpie 8 years
I agree, just approve stevia already. I've never seen a study that showed it to be unsafe, unlike all the other non-caloric sweeteners. Although I'm kind of confused on why a fruit smoothie would need to be sweetened. Isn't fruit sweet enough on its own? It's sad how sweet addicted people are now.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I'm with Foxie, and I don't really trust the FDA all that much anyway. They take ages to approve things and then find out a few years later that they're probably killing people (Vioxx, anyone?). Way to go FDA!
telewyo telewyo 8 years
Why can't we just make things with real natural food and eat reasonable portion sizes? A true smoothie doesn't even need extra sweetening because the berries do it. American food is so over sweetened that it has ruined out taste buds...we think that anything without huge amounts of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or sweeteners is "bland".
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
i've never heard of stevia until now. what does it taste like?
simbaspaws simbaspaws 8 years
I believe this has to do with the sugar and artificial sweetener industry more than any real safety concerns. It is a is natural...
dunnonuttin dunnonuttin 8 years
Stevia and agave nectar are the only sweeteners I've used for about 6 years now; FDA approved or not. I love it.
michlny michlny 8 years
I've been using Stevia for ages. I love it! My only concern is that Coke/Cargill will adulterate the product and it won't be pure Stevia.
buffyanne buffyanne 8 years
I was unaware of the "controversy" and have been using stevia for a few years. I like it and have never had any problems from using it. I feel a lot better using stevia than using chemically processed sweeteners.
MindayH MindayH 8 years
I agree with Foxie. the fda needs to approve Stevia and get on with it and focus on more important things. Japan is a heavy Stevia user, and trust the Japanese more than the FDA
pioneers pioneers 8 years
Wait, what's the deal with Truvia? I just picked some up at the grocery store the other week, naive to any controversy.
foxie foxie 8 years
FDA's disapproval of Stevia is a joke. It's been used safely for decades in other countries. And if the FDA is really so concerned, why is it approved as a "dietary supplement" but then all of a sudden unhealthy if labeled as a "sweetener"? FDA can bite me.
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