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The Skinny On: Stevia

Stevia is perhaps one of the most controversial herbs since, well herb.

Stevia is reportedly to be 250-300 times sweeter than sugar and contributes no calories to the diet. How great is that?

Problem is that the FDA has not yet approved Stevia to be used as a sweetener (or food additive) or to be GRAS (generally recognized as safe) and so no-one is technically allowed to use Stevia unless it is specifically labeled and used as a dietary supplement. In fact the FDA has had an alert out since 1996 stating that if it is found to be labeled as a sweetener, search and seizure are to follow. In Japan and other countries, Stevia has been known as "nature's natural sweetener" and used by millions of people for those purposes for over 25 years.

Whoa, right?! Where does that leave us then when it comes to Stevia? Many people believe that the government is trying to protect the booming sweetener economy in the USA and that by allowing a cheap, noncaloric herb in, the competition will be crushed.

All politics aside, while we wait for the FDA to figure this wonderful little herb out, you can still use it and buy it as a 'dietary supplement.' It comes in the same forms as sugar would (powders and liquids).

Fit's Tip: I usually buy it in a liquid form and use it as I would honey in my coffee or tea to... um 'dietary supplement' it. 2-3 drops is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar.

KMattes KMattes 8 years
I know this is a really old post I'm commenting on, but I just wanted to throw it out there into the abyss-- I wouldn't trust anything the FDA says if my life depended on it.
MindayH MindayH 10 years
I also have never had stomach issues from Stevia. I agree that you have to start off with SMALL doses. It is great and worth trying if you haven't already!
Surabhi Surabhi 10 years
I agree greengirl...major corporations/industries have the FDA in their back pockets. Not just with stevia! There is a lot of lying going on in the name of money, especially were mainstream lifestyles are concerned. My husband loves the stuff!
greengirl greengirl 10 years
I am so glad that you posted on this! Stevia is a great alternative to sugar because it has no calories and doesn't affect blood sugar--a must for someone like me who has a low blood sugar problem. I think it tastes great, and I use the powder form in teas and on my food. The trick is to start out with just a little and add more to you liking because it is MANY times stronger than sugar. Also, the FDA hasn't approved it as a sweetener because it would make too much competition for the sugar market--a market which has more control over the FDA than one might think. Give it a try! My stomach is very sensitive and I have NEVER had problems with stevia.
cubadog cubadog 10 years
All I had to read was a bad bathroom moment to know it is not for me!
DStirk DStirk 10 years
i don't mind stevia... its just kind of gross if you eat it alone but i dont like the way a spoonful of sugar alone tastes either. it is best if you put it in other things....
DesignRchic DesignRchic 10 years
I know this is worse, but I use Splenda. It's the only one that I like the taste of.
la_clique la_clique 10 years
I hate hate hate the taste and it gives you bad bathroom issues if you use too much!
DesignRchic DesignRchic 10 years
We actually bought this and didn't like the taste.
J_Stone J_Stone 10 years
Stevia - sounds so interesting. Can I assume this is a safe substitute? Why hasnt the FDA raised the approved flag ?
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