Stevia is a remarkable plant, many times sweeter than sugar with
virtually no calories. In parts of South America, it has been used for
hundreds of years to safely sweeten and flavor beverages. In Japan,
stevia has been used by millions of people for those purposes for over
But in the United States, the stevia issue has not been that simple. If
it's unknown to you, perhaps that's because the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration has maneuvered to keep stevia products off the U.S. market
despite efforts by the Lipton Tea Company and the American Herbal Products
Association to have the FDA acknowledge stevia to be GRAS (generally
recognized as safe).
The stevia tale in the U.S. is one of FDA raids and mysterious trade
complaints, searches, seizures, and border blockades. Until 1995, when the
passage of the Dietary Supplement, Health, and Education Act (DSHEA) was
passed, there was an "import alert" that in effect blocked all stevia from
entering the country.
Although not approved in the U.S. as a sweetening agent, stevia can now be
sold as a dietary supplement, and even though it's still the same sweet
herb, the revised import alert prohibits any mention of sweetness on the
See All LifeSource Stevia Products, Articles, and Studies: Click
Q) Is Stevia safe?
A) See chapter 6 for a detailed discussion. In general, Stevia is an
all-natural herbal product with centuries of safe usage by native Indians
in Paraguay. It has been thoroughly tested in dozens of tests around the
world and found to be completely non-toxic. It has also been consumed
safely in massive quantities (Thousands of tons annually) for the past
twenty years. Although one group of studies, perform 1985 through 1987,
found one of the metabolizes of steviosides, called Steviol, to be
mutagenic towards a particular strain of Salmonella bacteria, there is
serious doubt as to whether this study is applicable to the human metabolism of
Stevia. In fact, the methodology used to measure the mutagenicity in this
test was flawed according to a follow-up piece of research which also
seriously questioned the validity of the results.
Q) Can Stevia replace sugar in the diet?
A) Yes. Refined sugar is virtually devoid of nutritional benefits and, at
best, represents empty calories in the diet. At worst, it has been
implicated in numerous degenerative diseases. Stevia is much sweeter than
sugar and has none of sugar's unhealthy drawbacks.
Q) How sweet is Stevia?
A) The crude Stevia leaves and herbal powder (green) are reported to be
10-15 times sweeter than table sugar. The refined extracts of Stevia called
steviosides (a white powder, 85-95% Steviosides) claim to be 200-300 times
sweeter than table sugar. My experience is that the herbal powder is very
sweet while the refined extract is incredibly sweet and needs to be diluted
to be properly used. Both products have a slightly bitter aftertaste, also
characteristic of licorice.
Q) Can Stevia replace artificial sweeteners in the diet?
A) Yes! I do not believe that humans should consume anything artificial in
their diets. Stevia offers a safe, all-natural, alternative to these "toxic
time-bombs." And industrial usage in Japan proves that this substitution is
both practical and economical.
Q) How many calories are in Stevia?
A) Virtually none. And the refined Stevia extracts are considered to be
Q) Will Stevia raise my blood sugar levels?
A) Not at all. In fact, according to some research, it may actually lower
blood sugar levels. However, this research has yet to be confirmed and
contradictory results make any conclusions premature.
Q) Can I use Stevia if I am diabetic?
A) Diabetes is a medical condition that should be monitored and treated by
a qualified physician or health care practitioner. However, Stevia can be a
part of a healthy diet for anyone with blood sugar problems since it does
not raise blood sugar levels. If in doubt, ask your doctor. However, if
they do say no, ask them politely for the current research to support their
Q) Can I combine Stevia with other sweeteners?
A) Most certainly. However, sweeteners, in general, should be used in
moderation in a balanced healthy diet. And refined and artificial
sweeteners should be avoided altogether.
Q) Will Stevia harm my teeth?
A) Apparently not. Two tests conducted by Purdue University's Dental
Science Research Group have concluded that Stevioside is both fluoride
compatible and "significantly" inhibits the development of plaque, thus
Stevia may actually help to prevent cavities.
Q) Can Stevia be used in cooking and baking?
A) Absolutely! Industrial research in Japan has shown that Stevia and
Stevioside extracts are extremely heat stable in a variety of everyday
cooking and baking situations.
Q) Does Stevia contain vitamins and minerals?
A) Raw herbal Stevia contains nearly one hundred identified phytonutrients
and volatile oils, including trace amounts of Rutin (from the Callus) and
B-Sitosterol (from the leaves). However, in the quantities typically
consumed, the nutritive benefits will be negligible. The extracts of
Stevia, being more refined, will contain far fewer of these phytonutrients
and volatile oils.
What others are saying about Stevia:
"Stevia...is not only non-toxic, but it also has several traditional
medicinal uses. The Indian tribes of South America have used it as a
digestive aid and have also applied it topically for years to help wound
healing. Recent clinical studies have shown it can increase glucose
tolerance and decrease blood sugar levels. Of the two sweeteners (aspartame
and stevia), stevia wins hands down for safety."
- Dr. Whitaker's Newsletter, December 1994
"Stevia has virtually no calories. It dissolves easily in water and mixes
well with all other sweeteners...I use it myself..."
- Dr. Robert C. Atkins, MD, author of Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution:
It's almost impossible to imagine that some of the earliest known stevia
plants were once heavily guarded by tribes of South American Indians.
Impossible, that is until you know the story. Yes, stevia has an
interesting history. In light of its secrecy, the Guarani Indians must
have, at the very least
assumed that the leaves of this odd plant
held some significant value.
However, foreshadowing the true measure of that significance would have
been impossible at the time. Our story begins in the heart of South America
during the mid-1800's - a time when the Guarani natives knew said perennial
only as “kaa-he-he”. Their applications were simple, and many remain
popular today. It was initially used in their unique medicinal potions, as
well as a tea-like drink known as bitter mate´. Many chewed the dried
leaves simply to acquire a unique, refreshing taste.
As native use became more common, it didn't take long for surrounding
regions to catch on. Paraguay took an immediate shine to kaa-he-he. They
were quick to document it, stating that the Guarani were using it in teas,
foods, and a number of other concoctions. Over 200 years later, these early
documents are still preserved in the Paraguayan National Archives in
Asuncion, Paraguay. Sadly, neither the Guarani natives nor the Paraguayan
historians who documented it would be credited for introducing it to
mainstream society. Instead, that honor would go to an Italian botanist by
the name of Moises Santiago Bertoni in 1905. After an exhaustive quest to
obtain the plant, one was sent to him by a priest from the village of San
Pedro. Within just one year, he had completed his research, given it a name
Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni ), and published his findings. Word
spread like wildfire. Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni went from “little known
plant” to mainstream sensation almost overnight. Would-be growers
determined that dangerous expeditions through primitive regions of South
America were no longer necessary. Stevia could be easily cultivated,
provided that they could mimic the moist, sweltering climate needed to do
so. And they did just that. In 1908, nearly one ton of dried stevia was
harvested, thus providing the economic nudge needed to jumpstart the stevia
In 1921, American trade Commissioner George Brady presented this
information to the USDA, referring to it as a “new plant with great
possibilities”. As it turns out, America was not impressed and put research
on the backburner. France saw things differently. In 1931 two chemists were
successful in extracting the white, crystalline compounds that make stevia
so unique. Ultimately, the decision was made to name these compounds
steviosides . And while the findings were of great economic and
scientific importance, many were left unsure as to what role steviosides
could play in the lives of everyday individuals.
In the 1960's while America was engulfed in free love, political unrest,
and lunar landings, Japan was dealing with a government-enforced ban on the
use of chemicals in food products. Word of these synthetic-free steviosides
gave them new hope for some of their most popular foods and beverages.
Their research was intense, as was their belief in the potential of what
steviosides held for the future. By 1990, Japan accounted for over 40% of
worldwide stevia use. Today, it is used on an enormous commercial level,
and sales continue to escalate.
Despite its unquestionable safety and moderate US success, stevia was
banned by the FDA in 1991. Just three years later, this ban was lifted when
congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DHSEA).
This made it possible to import Stevia as a dietary supplement.
Interestingly, the study used to originally support the temporary ban was
later found to be severely flawed. Any way you look at it, Stevia is
nothing short of a botanical phenomenon. Its use dates back hundreds of
any documented adverse reactions.
Decades of extensive research have proven that it's absolutely safe and
free of dangerous chemicals. In fact, raw Stevia, in its natural state,
contains over 100 phytonutrients.
Aside from being one of the safest natural compounds on the planet, Stevia
just makes healthy sense. Even in massive amounts, it remains non-toxic,
has next to no calories, and doesn't promote tooth decay. With its
non-bitter aftertaste, even kitchens from every corner of the globe are
beginning to discover what a wonderful sweetener stevia can truly be.
Try it today and see why it is the right choice! LifeSource Vitamins -
Stevia Extract Powder 1 oz. 622 Servings, Stevia, many times sweeter than
sugar with virtually no calories. Pleasant Tasting Herb, Non-Bitter
Aftertaste, Vegetarian Product, Safe for Diabetics, Doesn't Affect Blood
Proudly Made in the USA!
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requirements set forth in the FDA's Code of Federal Regulation.
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