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Is Stevia Healthy?

Is Stevia Healthy? Until recently, I mostly didn’t trust the stuff.

Many versions have a bitter aftertaste; the white powdered stevia looks suspiciously unnatural; and though you may disagree with me, I think most people should simply eat some (minimally processed) sugar and stop obsessing over finding a substitute.

Turns out though, that stevia may be a pretty darn good sugar replacement for those who really need or want one  – depending and what version you choose and how you plan to use it (not in baked goods since it doesn’t provide any mass like sugar).

My first hint to its worthiness was when fresh-cut stevia appeared in my farm box – all green and local – looking nothing like the suspicious white powder that I was accustomed to seeing.

Turns out that stevia grows much like mint, with leaves 30-50 times sweeter than table sugar.  Though sometimes challenging to start from seed (get some here), as a house or garden plant it’s easy to care for. It’s been cultivated and used both as a sweetener for tea and for its medicinal properties for over 1500 years by the Guarani people and for centuries in Paraguay and Brazil.

For diabetics, using stevia may be a good way to manage blood sugar levels while not completely omitting the sweet flavor from your life. Stevia has been used as a sugar substitute since the 1970’s in Japan without any known adverse effects, and it constitutes 40% of their total sweetener consumption.

One study showed that not only is stevia a good sugar substitute, but it may actually help to treat insulin resistance. (source)

In another small study, 60 hypertension patients experienced significant reduction in blood pressure after being give the active ingredient of stevia. (source).

Though a study from the 1960’s indicated that giving extremely high doses of stevia to rats may cause infertility, subsequent research all shows that stevia does not pose a risk to human fertility, especially in the dosages of normal consumption.  This article provides a great summary of the research around stevia and fertility.

In the U.S. stevia was approved as a dietary supplement since 1995. In 2009, the FDA approved rebiana, an active component of stevia, as a food additive at the urging of the likes of Coca Cola (who owns Truvia) and Pepsi (who owns Purevia). Stevia itself is not approved for use in packaged foods.

Not all stevia is the same

In it’s processed form, the chemical compounds called “steviosides” – which give stevia it’s sweetness – are isolated and extracted.

One of these compounds, called Rebaudioside A (a.k.a. rebiana or Reb A) is the sweetest (250-300 times sweeter sugar) and has the least bitterness. For these reasons it is the compound most used in processed stevia sweeteners.

To extract Reb A/rebiana, stevia plants are dried, extracted with water, and then separated with a secret patented crystallization technique that uses ethanol or methanol. Many companies then use fillers such as dextrose (corn fiber), cellulose, erythritol, isomaltulose and/or the ubiquitious “natural flavors” to create the finished product that ends up on your grocery store shelf or in the sugar caddy at a trendy restaurants.

The secrets and fillers are where my optimism on stevia halts. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to stick with the more traditional preparations for food. Though stevia tablets and packets may be super convenient and are not likely to kill you, if you’re going to consume this stuff on a regular basis, I suggest going au naturale.

The Natural Choice:

How to Use Fresh or Dried Stevia Leaves for Sweetening

The leaves of the stevia plant are what yield the sweetness. You can use them fresh or dry them by laying them in a single layer on piece of paper in the sun or counter top.

You can sweeten hot tea or coffee by simply dropping a single leaf (fresh and crushed or dried) into the drink.

I’ve experimented with making stevia “simple syrup” using fresh and dried leaves, water or alcohol, and my favorite method I discovered from my friend Kristen at Food Renegade.com in her post, How to Make Liquid Stevia Extract which uses dried leaves and vodka.

This solution is nice for sweetening hot or cold drinks and would work well in homemade jello, barbeque sauce, or even butter cream frosting.

Get organic stevia leaves here to make your own extract.

What about commercial liquid extracts?

If you don’t have the time, energy or interest in tending a stevia plant or making your own extract from dried herbs, the next best option is store bought extract. While this Clear Liquid Extract is said to be extracted without any bleach or chemical whiteners, my guess is that the Whole Leaf Concentrate is the closest to making your own.

All in all, stevia makes a decent sugar substitute, even more so when you choose a natural preparation.

 Do you use stevia?

Why or why not?

Additional Reference:

http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=609

http://www.livestrong.com/article/54052-stevia-processed/

This post can be seen at the following blog carnivals: Fat TuesdayFresh Bites FridayFight Back Friday, Thank Your Body ThursdayKeep It Real ThursdaysSimple Lives Thursday, Pennywise PlatterWhole Foods WednesdayHealthy 2Day Wednesdays and Real Food Wednesday. Hop on over to check out some other posts you may enjoy!

 

 

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Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I grew a stevia plant two summers ago and harvested a whole lot of leaves — they’re now dried and crushed in a jar, as well as in a liquid extract I made with vodka. Honestly, though, I don’t use the stevia. It has an odd taste that I don’t enjoy, so all the stevia is sitting in the cupboards.

    • kate says:

      yes, the same thing happened to me – that is until I read the books on the topic of parasite cleanse. there are numerous positions out there (unfortunately for American audience – only in native tongues of Russians, Hungarians and Germans) with studies for over 20 years done by PRACTICING physicians that point to the importance of stevia/spirulina combination. We need both for getting rid of all the crap swimming in our blood (yes, you too, Elizabeth, are infected with countless parasites) so I grow my own organic version, wash it fresh in lugol iodine solution and pound/crush (save for winter) to add to the food i eat. I am 1/2 way to raw food lifestyle (switch to it as soon as my garden and farmers market starts) and had never been healthier. Testing using dr Voll’s method shows that I still have more than 15 parasites, but they are on the way out.
      I wish all the same diligence in cleaning own bodies as I see in pursuing social media… :)

  2. i´m using it sometimes :) the fresh leaves with strawberries are very tasty :)

  3. Jamie says:

    Stevia was very valuable for enabling me to break a sugar addiction that was causing hyperthyroid symptoms. I used it generously for 1.5 years, usually the white powder, Trader Joe’s brand. It was not until two months ago when I went without it for a few days that I realized it was the cause of an ongoing, mysterious bout with searing, painful hot flashes. I quit using it immediately except to sweeten homemade toothpaste and the hot flashes went away. I might be willing to give the natural plant a try but I no longer trust any processed version. If you buy the Sweetleaf liquid brand, be sure the bottle doesn’t have “natural flavors” on it. In my experience, it might as well have said “instant migraine.” Thanks for doing the research. :)

    • Emily says:

      Wow. Thank goodness you figured that out, Jamie. And thanks for sharing your experience here!

    • April says:

      Thank you so so much for this post, I to about three months ago started these incredible hot flashes and cannot explain why, I am going to eliminate the processed stevia and see what happens. We have fresh stevia plants available this year at our market so here I go… :) Thank you for this article.

    • Nan says:

      I have used the processed stevia only occasionally over the course of a few years. However, after experiencing sudden dizzy spells a few times I traced it to Stevia. Each time I had the dizziness, I looked back at what I ate and what was different….each time it was Stevia. I will not touch it! At this point, not even the pure leaf. I believe it has to do with the blood pressure lowering and/or the blood sugar lowering qualities. I know the processed stevia with added ingredients cannot be good for us. Some of the additives are wood alcohols. Pure food in it’s pure state is always best.

    • Brenda Daniels says:

      Thanks so much for posting this information. I have been on Stevia for about a year. We just had a Trader Joe’s open in the Burlington, Vermont area around 3 weeks ago and I purchased a “bottle” of Stevia from there. Well I have been having such intense hot flashes since starting that, I would get a knot in my stomach as a precursor to the major hot flash. After I saw your post yesterday I decided to stop the Stevia today and I have hardly had a “hot flash” all day. Supposedly it is just Stevia so I thought it would be better than any of the other ones I have tried like Sweet Leaf brand and another organic one…well who knew!

      • Abigail says:

        Exactly! as one section of this very article said, not all stevia is equal! Truvia is one of the worst, they add all kinds of crap to it that makes it toxic as heck. As for Trader Joe’s… never EVER EVER shop at Trader Joe’s. PERIOD. Everything there is cheap cheap CHEAP. And I’m not just talking price, I’m talking quality too.

        Personally, I don’t even trust the Sweet Leaf brand, because it too has additives. I also personally avoid extracts prepared with any kind of alcohol, and especially corn based.

        I’ve been using a water-only then dried white extract powder from Z Natural Foods based in Florida (they ship throughout the US and internationally) for a couple years now and it has no crazy additives and no weird effects and no weird mouth feel. Unlike the mixed stuff it does not dissolve easily, however. You either need to put it in a sealed container and shake vigorously, use a blender/mixer, or wait a half hour or so for it to eventually dissolve on its own.

        I previously used NOW’s Better Stevia liquid, it is also a water-only extraction method, and since it’s not been dried into a powder it does not require any special process to get it to dissolve, but it’s more expensive because it’s also not as concentrated, so you use more.

  4. Beth says:

    I was going to plant stevia last year, but ended up forgetting about the seeds. Other than that, I haven’t actually tried it because I, too, was suspicious about the white powder available at the store. Thanks for this post; now maybe I’ll actually grow some this year and give it a try!

  5. michele says:

    I initially used it too to help transition away from white sugar, but have since switched to xylitol (in my coffee). I thought it had a strange aftertaste and didn’t trust processed versions of it like truvia which I heard is owned by Coca-Cola ;) When I bake for the kids I usually use coconut sugar now.

  6. Judy Montes says:

    Thanks for the great article. I’ve been interested to know about Stevia, but also very suspicious of any “white” processed powder. I think I will stick to the few calories I get with the honey in my tea.

  7. Dora says:

    When I first tasted Stevia, I did not like it at all. But i tried a different brand, I used it mainly for my teas but since I started eating more healthy it’s not bad at all. I guess the taste grew on me. I would like to grow my own and make my own extract. I use Stevia in the raw.

  8. Cheri says:

    I use NuNaturals Pure Stevia Concentrated Powder for most of my beverages and rotate that and honey and xylitol with other things, cutting white sugar completely out of my diet. Splenda, Truvia and all those contain a mixture of nasty other products, so it’s best to just use a pure stevia. If you look at the reveiws on amazon or vitacost or places like that, you’ll find people have varying opinions of any aftertaste. Different brands work for different people, so it may take some trial and error finding a particular brand that you enjoy, but I’d say the health benefits of not consuming sugar are well worth the trouble.

    • Nan says:

      I have come to believe that if you are going to have something sweet, use honey or raw sugar or coconut sugar or maple syrup. You at least will be getting some mineral content out of it. Moderation is key. Too many people think that by using the sugar substitutes that will allow them to eat more of it without effects. A moderate amount of sugar occasionally will not hurt you. The artificial sweeteners make us want more sweet taste. I find the substitutes are way too sweet and they make it harder to experience natural sweetness, say, of fruits. They dull the senses.

  9. Mary says:

    I have to assume that rules not allowing stevia in packaged foods have changed. I have seen fruit juices and some sodas (Zevia, Virgil’s Zero) that contain stevia.

  10. I haven’t used much stevia powder because I am also suspicious of it (although Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has done some research and determined that SweetLeaf stevia powder is about as pure and natural as you can get), but I have used the storebought extract extensively. It’s just stevia and alcohol or glycerin. I had a plant last year but something happened to it before I could use it at all – it turned all black for some reason! Anyway, I hope to try again this year and make my own stevia extract. Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2day Wednesday; see you next week.

  11. I grew some in my herb garden last summer and used it fresh in teas. The taste of the fresh leaf was so much better than the processed stuff they sell, in my opinion anyways. :-) We don’t consume it regularly though, I know to many people who find they have endocrine issues when they consume a lot of it. (plus there are some studies on PubMed that show it has links to infertility, in larger amounts anyways)

  12. Susan says:

    I tried Stevia once. It tasted like cr@p. I went running back to my sucanat!

  13. Fiona says:

    I’ve been using it for about 6 months. I use a liquid that was recommended by a nutritionist (can’t remember the brand). I only use it in mycoffee and occasionally in baking when I cut down on the “regular” sugar. So far, so good. Apparently, it’s been extensively used in Japan for decades.

  14. I have been using Stevia for the past ten years. I only use 100% extract from an on line supplier. I would never buy stevia (truvia) from the supermarket because it’s highly processed and actually still contains sugar (dextrose)! I adore sweetening coffee with stevia (the extract I use comes in powder and liquid form… the liquid form is great for beverages) and I also love sprinkling stevia on pureed pumpkin or roasted butternut squash.

  15. Carolyn says:

    I think you should check out vaughter wellness/truvia…..in its whole form Stevia may be a sweet treat, but in an altered state as is being used by Coke and Pepsi, it is causing digestive symptoms and even blistering in the mouth.

  16. KarenL says:

    I use the green powdered stevia…straight from the plant. Every day, I make an ‘egg drink’ (raw eggs, fat, water, spices plus veggies in the blender) and add 1/4 tsp stevia powder. It makes up two drinks, so I consume 1/8 tsp per drink or 1/4 tsp/day. I’m currently finding even that to be too sweet, so will reduce the amount of stevia.

  17. Karen says:

    I only use KAL brand stevia. I have tried others but they taste terrible. I would have hated Stevia if I hadn’t started with KAL. A friend told me about KAL and not to use others. When I first started using KAL stevia I thought it had a licorice taste but after I used it for a while I didn’t notice that taste. It just tastes sweet now. I LOVE KAL stevia. I tried to start seeds for plants but wasn’t successful. I want to try again someday to grow stevia and dry it. I have a friend that grows it and just pinches off a leave and puts it in her coffee/tea.

    • Kay says:

      I completely agree with Karen on Kal Stevia. I use it in my coffee, hot tea and hot chocolate and love it. I don’t know about any other brands. I just know that I can depend on Kal Stevia.

    • Kisha says:

      I agree, Kal is my personal life saver. The first Stevia I tried was Stevia in the Raw, and then Nu Naturals Stevia, and I hated both of them so much that I was afraid to try another one, but I am so glad I did. So then I decided to try Now brand Stevia…BIG MISTAKE!!! Kal in my opinion is the very best on the market.

      • Kerragh says:

        I agree with the others that KAL is a superior brand of stevia. I would also like to mention that it is the only brand supported and used by Dr. Andrew Weil in his restaurants. To my knowledge, they are the only company that uses a process of water osmosis to extract the sweetness from the leaf. I am sure this accounts for the superior taste and quality. I have tried other brands, including NOW and NuNaturals and there is no comparison.

    • Cheryl P says:

      I will join the peon for KAL stevia. It is the ONLY brand I use. When first trying Stevia about 7 yrs ago, I tried several different brands including SweetLeaf, and NuNaturals. They all had discernible after taste and weren’t nearly as sweet per vol. KAL is the sweetest, in my experience, and only ever has any aftertaste if I use too much! hehe Also, KAL is only water extracted. Check out this article, http://ezinearticles.com/?Will-The-Real-Stevia-Please-Stand-Up?&id=6397438

  18. farmer_liz says:

    thanks for this post, I am so confused about sweeteners! I have just been using rapadura in baking and honey in bread making and cooking (sauces and salad dressings), but I don’t really need sweet for anything else.

  19. [...] analysis of stevia by The Holistic Squid is informative and helpful if you’re wondering whether or not you should consider replacing [...]

  20. [...] analysis of stevia by The Holistic Squid is informative and helpful if you’re wondering whether or not you should consider replacing [...]

  21. [...] analysis of stevia by The Holistic Squid is informative and helpful if you’re wondering whether or not you should consider replacing [...]

  22. Aimee G says:

    I have been using the Sweetleaf Stevia clear liquid for 8 years with absolutely no side effects and upon the recommendation of my naturopath. It has helped break the sugar addiction in our house so we love it!

  23. Joanne says:

    Do you think stevia is safe for nursing moms?

  24. [...] analysis of stevia by The Holistic Squid is informative and helpful if you’re wondering whether or not you should consider replacing [...]

  25. Sarah says:

    I did’nt think I would ever get used to it in my coffee when I switched from sugar but I have. I use a tiny bit so it sweetens but cant really taste it. Wonderfoods is the brand I use. I have always wondered how they get it so white even though it says organic and that it’s extracted with only water? I also have a green organic stevia powder but it’s taste isn,t very pleasant. Thanks for the article.

  26. Sarah says:

    oops forgot to tick the boxes before posting……

  27. angie says:

    I myself am only using Stevia for smoothies, bbq sauces etc., BUT I just started following this blog and this is the link to her tips and article section on Stevia–it is possible to bake with it, she explains throughout her blog and she has a few recipes on how to fill the batter with unsweetened applesauce or pureed fruit–http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/top-3-refined-sugar-free-sweeteners/

    THe other thing her article talks about is why there are aftertaste with Stevia–if it has fillers which is so bad for our bodies, it will have the nasty aftertaste–when I switched to the liquid and dry brands she suggested I didn’t have that. Also, read labels–I bought Stevia in the raw, and it has fillers in it! in the raw should suggest pure…but it obvious doesn’t in the marketing world…

    THanks for putting in this article–I was wondering your thoughts and I like to follow your suggestions!

  28. Sperry says:

    The first time I tried powdered stivia, it tasted truly nasty. Then I found out I was using far, far too much. It seems that if you use too much, it produces a dreadful bitter taste. I cut back to a minute fraction of what I first used and found it to be an excellent sweetener. The only downside I’ve found is that it doesn’t provide the same “mouth-feel” that sugar does. Sugar tends to thicken liquids just a bit.

    As far as Sweetleaf is concerned, it contains stivia and inulin. Inulin is a naturally occurring polysaccharide composed of fructoses and glucoses, i.e. sugars. Foods like bananas and jicama contain high concentrations of it. If you’re a diabetic and you have questions about using Sweetleaf, check with your physician.

  29. sharon says:

    As I sit here drinking my coffee sweeten with stevia reading these comments, I’m wondering what my stevia has in it. I’m using NOW better stevia, the ingredients are rice maltodextrine ( I need to check this out) ,certified organic stevia extract and silica. what’s your opion on this?

  30. Susan says:

    We follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info) because my daughter was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 5 (though I think she’s had it since before her juvenile arthritis diagnosis at age 2). We have avoided Stevia because of Elaine Gottschall’s concern that Stevia’s molecular structure resembles a steroid and the unknown side effects that may cause in the body.. Unfortunately she passed away several years ago and I do not believe anyone has thoroughly reviewed Stevia to see what, if anything, Stevia could do to someone with a wacky immune system like my daughter, but we get along fine using honey as our sweetener.

    http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/knowledge_base/detail/stevia/

    • Emily says:

      Thanks for sharing Susan – That’s interesting about the molecular structure of stevia. I’d love to learn more about the potential problems caused by that!

  31. [...] Is stevia healthy? from Holistic Squid [...]

  32. [...] Is Stevia Healthy? [...]

  33. [...] Is Stevia Healthy? While we’re talking about sugar-alternatives (in diet sodas), let’s jump over to Holistic Squid and learn about Stevia! [...]

  34. We use the dried leaf in our tooth powder. I’m with you, though, on using sugar and honey in moderation . . . the possibility of fertility related issues at higher doses just doesn’t seem worth it to me :)

  35. Diane says:

    I get that same icky feeling when i accidently taste aspartame when I use anything with stevia. Maybe I am supersensitve.

  36. ashley says:

    I’ve been sugar free for 3 years & 5 months ago gave up my beloved diet coke & all fake sugars..I do use sweetleaf once in a blue moon,but I know once it gets warm again (I’m in Texas so its gonna be here quick) I’m going to be wanting a cold pick me up,not hot coffee..I know the perfect answer is to drink tea or cold coffee…but we all have our vices & I’m not sure how long this no diet coke thin is gonnna last…soooooo…my? Is do you think the sodas that use stevia would be ok? Or is the stevia they use super funk

    • Emily says:

      Hi Ashley – I think it’s all relative. A bit of stevia soda isn’t going to kill you. Just listen to your body. If it works for you, great. :)

  37. [...] pertinent facts. And here’s another blogger’s discoveries about Stevia as a substitute: http://holisticsquid.com/is-stevia-healthy/) Sugar names ending in -ol are sugar alcohols which are also another [...]

  38. Mechele says:

    I was using the Sweetleaf brand of stevia in my morning coffee but I quickly realized it was causing me daily joint pain and all over body aches. I thought I would mention it in case anyone else finds they are sensitive and having similar symptoms.

    • Tena says:

      I also have have found that by using stevia in the raw has caused me increased pain throughout my body. At first I thought they were workout injuries but I’ve been in physical therapy for months and I put myself on an eliminating diet recently, and found the stevia seems to be the root cause. I didn’t want to believe it but it does seem to cause of my shoulder, neck, back and hip pain. mot a coincidence.

  39. Cassie says:

    Whew! I was concerned about what knowledge I might gain in this article ;) lol. I do believe in researching and finding the truth, no matter how unpleasant it may be, but but this one I had definitely put off for a while. I use the liquid Stevia, most often just a couple drops per day or so. Glad to hear it’s not a major cause for concern. The agave stuff has pretty much broken my heart. LOL! Thanks for all the great information you share!

  40. [...] concerned about the calories, keep the milk and sugar to a minimum.  Pure (without additives) Stevia is a natural, and very strong, sweetener.  Artificial sweeteners are always [...]

  41. Karen says:

    Thank you for this! I clicked the link you offered for the “whole leaf” stevia manufactured by Sweet Leaf. Do you know if all of their products are made with the ‘whole leaf’ or only the bottle that says whole leaf stevia on it? I ask because I have the liquid clear stevia, but now I’m wondering if it has something in it I don’t want in my body.

  42. [...] and loss http://thewellnesscouch.com/uc/uc-08-review-of-grief-and-loss Information about stevia http://www.holisticsquid.com/is-stevia-healthy/ The town of Roseto, Pennysylvania and their lack of heart disease in the 1960s [...]

  43. Mel says:

    I would like to know why in bottles of Stevia I have purchased recently it says to use a certain amount, let’s say 3 to 5 drops DAILY. It sounds like a pharmaceutical prescription.

  44. cheryl says:

    Stevia has been know for a long time to be used as a natural birth control form maybe this is why is gets a bad reputation for infertility.

  45. PAULA says:

    I am an insulin dependent diabetic. I stopped using a sweetener with an added probiotic and started using stevia. I haven’t noticed any difference in my sugars.

  46. becca says:

    Where do you get a Stevia plant from? Can it grow indoors? Great article! – Thanks!

  47. anne says:

    Nustevia white powder. I thought it was sooo great! Until my eczema got crazy worse, my soon developed eczema for the first time and then i started getting headaches. Awful!

    I do recommend NuNaturals pure liquid stevia. I have not had issues with this one and love the flavor!

  48. Sarah @ OCT says:

    I use stevia when I’m out at restaurants, for my tea instead of the regular sugar. Most of the time when I am at home I use just local honey for sweeter for may of reasons.

    Great information on this article hits a lot of points. And thanks to the comment above about nustevia white power in regards to eczema. (daughter has)

  49. [...] Is Stevia Healthy? Or Just Another Toxic Processed Chemical? [...]

  50. Roger says:

    I’ve been using Stevia in the Raw for the past 1 and 1/4 months and recently purchased NuNatural Clear Liquid Stevia to use in a homemade low carb ice cream recipe. I am doing a self created alternative Ideal Protein Diet and in order to continue drinking my coffee had to switch to substitutes. I found stevia to be bitter at first but it grew on me. I used to drink my coffee with extra sugar at Dunkin Donuts (4 teaspoons), sometimes twice a day. Needless to say I’ve lost a lot of weight and feel great.

  51. kate says:

    Great summery. I’ve been unsure of stevia for some time as well.
    Can we get the run down on xylitol sometime soon, pretty please?

  52. anna says:

    NuNaturals has changed their formula and it is now ver bitter. I used to use the liquid vanilla alcohol free in everything and now I can’t tolerate it. Many faithful users have walked away from this brand and are in search of another. I think NuNaturals lost a licensing agreement for the processing of their stevia formula and now whatever their doing is awful!

    I saw some of you mentioning KAL stevia earlier. I will try that.
    Thanks.

  53. Cathy says:

    I use stevia in baking no problem. Though prefer agave nectar or coconut sugar as a sweetener and may eventually switch to those fully.

  54. […] stevia? Read ‘Is Stevia Healthy‘ […]

  55. Rebecca says:

    I use Stevita and really like it in coffee and chocolate milk (raw) BUT now that I am reading this, I think that my increased psoriasis and weight gain might have corresponded with my increased usage. It was a great option for my cocoa when I had gestational diabetes though! It’s not bitter. Anyway, any thoughts on whether it might be the culprit for psoriasis flair up/spread and sudden weight gain?

  56. Emily says:

    Hi Rebecca, thank you for your question. I would look into how it is processed and whether or not it contains any additional ingredients that could be the cause for your symptoms.

  57. Are you not concerned about recommending whole stevia leaf when the FDA produces statements such as this?

    “With regard to use in conventional foods, stevia leaf is not an approved food additive and has not been affirmed as GRAS in the United States due to inadequate toxicological information. Whole leaf stevia has not been the subject of a GRAS notice. ”
    – FDA, March 30, 2013

    You can read the full alert here
    http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cms_ia/importalert_119.html

    Some studies have reported certain components of the stevia leaf to be mutagenic. i.e. causes cancer (see below). This does not include the steviol glycosides, hence why the FDA has produced GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) notices for stevia products of >95% steviol glycosides only.

    Mutagenicity of steviol and its oxidative derivatives in Salmonella typhimurium TM677.
    Terai T, Ren H, Mori G, Yamaguchi Y, Hayashi T.

    Abstract
    Stevioside is natural non-caloric sweetner isolated from Stevia rebaudiana BERTONI, which has been used as a non-caloric sugar substitute in Japan. Pezzuto et al. demonstrated that steviol shows a dose-dependent positive response in forward mutation assay using Salmonella typhimurium TM677 in the presence of metabolic activation system (Aroclor induced rat liver S9 fraction). Our studies were carried out to identify the genuine mutagenic active substance from among the eight steviol derivatives. Steviol indicate almost similar levels of mutagenicity under the presence of S9 mixture, as reported by Pezzuto et al. 15-Oxo-steviol was found to be mutagenic at the one tenth the level of steviol itself under the presence of S9 mixture. Interestingly, specific mutagenicity of the lactone derivative under the presence of S9 mixture was ten times lower than that of the lactone derivative without the addition of S9 mixture.

    Like I said, some studies such as this one have reported mutagenic properties of certain stevia components. I’d recommend the FDA approved, purified, mutagen-free stevia extracts over a potentially cancer causing whole stevia leaf.

  58. TheEngineer says:

    Sue,
    Which brand Stevia where you using? I’ve faught of Both sinus and heartburn issues but you need to be careful because most Stevia brands have other ingredients mixed in. There are 2 that I use now
    1 is Mood & Mind Stevia and the other one is from Bulk Supplements both state that are Pure stevia and sold on Amazon. Its in a powder form and when I sweeten tea with it you just need like 1/20 of teaspoon and maybe even less. Also regarding the sinus issue you should consider taking a probiotic to get the good bacteria back in your stomach and intestines from when the antibiotics killed them all. Best of luck!

  59. Rosy says:

    IF I were to make my decision as an intuitarian, I would think perhaps it is not good for ME, since I cannot like it, an any way, shape, or form that I have ever tried (and I’ve tried them “all”)…? I just don’t know!

  60. Norman lund says:

    I have used s
    Pure stevia for about 7 years now, and it matters how you get it. With the market saturated with fillers and such, I don’t deal with brand names. I started off with a brand at sprouts named Kal, and it was great just more expensive then I wanted to spend continuously. I use bulk 100% powder stevia now (for the last 3 years) and its wonderful. Of course it tastes a little different than sugar, since well, it’s not sugar. Then again, so does agave syrup or anything else.

  61. Lisa Grey says:

    I always wondered how to use the plant. Thanks :) The only brand of dried stevia that I will use is NuStevia by NuNaturals (it’s the one in the purple box). I actually bake with it, too on occasion. It does contain a bit of malodextrin which, according to NuNaturals, is responsibly sourced from corn.

  62. Cor'e =) says:

    I’ve been buying 100% Stevia for 12 or more years, the only way to go is 100% (no fillers or additives. period.) Unfortunately it all seems to be made in China, we all know how polluted China really is and the tricks they play to make their profits.

    All Truvia is horrible, i repeat, horrible. The Coke Co. version is also horrible. Anything added, especially other “sugars” will make it taste horrible; and be as horrible as any other man-made sweeteners, which anything labeled in North America “sugar” is (Corn syrup etc.), btw.

    Someone said Trader Joe’s was bad, i do not agree, their 100% Organic Stevia is strong and tastes good and i’ve bought it for years, but a little above market price @ $10/ounce. Whole foods sells a better priced 100% Natural Stevia, iirc $7-8/ounce, also good if not exactly the same as TJ’s.

    KAL Pure Natural Extract Stevia was great, but now it has additives, i called them up to ask why the change and the rep said the additives are to help their machines process Stevia, wth!? That version is $10/ounce, however, the rep said to get the KAL Raw Organic Extract Stevia to avoid the additives, it is brown, i have not tried it or found it on shelves, online it is ~$5/ounce.

    Now Better Organic Stevia is a weak white fluffy powder (others i mentioned above are a slightly yellow dense powder), so it will take twice as much to equal the others above, therefore @$10/ounce it is actually $20/ounce!! Maybe paying more for less is the Now way…

    Basically, avoid *all* additives of any kind, and expect… to pay a price for pure…; but since Stevia has gained an understandable popularity the prices will drop. As may the quality or strength as more big profit-centric and disreputable companies like Coke®, In The Raw®, Truvia®, SweetLeaf®, etc. get involved. (Regarding SweetLeaf’s or others’ use of industrial processed Inulin additives, i don’t know the taste or effect or why they add it, i just avoid it).

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