Question of the Month


Sweet Stevia

Q. You suggest aspartame for sweetener. But what about stevia? The South Americans use it to cure diabetes.

A. Stevia sweetener is derived from the leaves of the Peruvian stevia shrub. It is a much sweeter compound than table sugar. It does not raise glucose or insulin levels and it has zero calories.

The sweet stevia compounds (diterpene glycosides) have been the subject of a number of studies. 

However, the US FDA has not yet approved Stevia as a sugar substitute in processed food although it can be sold as a dietary supplement,

Stevia megadoses on rats decreased sperm counts and increased cancers, depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity. 

Japanese manufacturers have used stevia for over 30 years without noticeable ill effect. 

Stevia has all the advantages of artificial sweeteners like Aspartame. Clearly, it can be helpful in controlling the blood sugar stress that leads to diabetes.

It is unlikely that megadose-induced diseases in rats translate into minidose-induced sickness in humans. 

If you use stevia sparingly, it is surely no greater a threat to health than other sweeteners. One thing for sure, stevia is far better than sugar.


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