It seemed too good to be “true” (pun intended): mild taste, didn’t cause cancer, derived from plants, and none of the fat-promoting calories of regular sugar.The Stevia rebaudiana plant hails from South America (Paraguay), where its leaves have been used for centuries to sweeten beverages and make tea.One study showed when rats were fed high dosages of stevia, it reduced their sperm production.It definitely has an earthier, slightly bitter taste because it’s in its natural state, but you only need a tiny little pinch to sweeten your favorite recipes.Plus, most food processors add an excipient (filler) that’s usually derived from a genetically modified product (i.e., maltodextrin, a processed starch made from GMO corn).All commercial brands of “stevia” use chemical solvents, GMO derivatives, and/or other processed sweeteners.Organic, whole stevia leaf powder in its natural state is a healthy, green, all-natural sweetener.Learn more about why each of our ingredients are safe, clean, and healthier than any other protein powder on the market and grab a sample bag for just $5 (including shipping) for a limited time. .
How 'Natural' Is Stevia?
Special editions are collections of previously published articles on topics of interest to this newsletter's food industry readers.The holy grail of food technology is to find a no-calorie sweetener that tastes as good as sugar, has no bitter aftertaste, and can be marketed as "natural" because it's extracted from plants. .
How 'Natural' Is Stevia, Anyway?
The leaves of the plant contain sweet compounds, stevioside and rebaudioside A, that are used to make a sweetener hundreds of times sweeter than sugar.The Daily Beast, for example, penned a piece titled The Bitter Truth About Stevia: It Ain’t “Natural” that underlines big food’s hand in producing the sweetener.Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, wrote a piece on her blog titled Stevia and Other “Natural” Sweeteners: Are They?“The FDA has not engaged in rule making to establish a formal definition for the term ’natural,′ but we expect the term ‘natural’ to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food,” a representative from the FDA told HuffPost.Walters has studied artificial sweeteners for the past 25 years, and has even penned a book on the subject.The roasting pyrolyzes fats, proteins and sugars, producing dozens of pyrazines and other aromatic chemical substances that many of us have grown to love.”.“In direct response to consumer requests that the FDA explore the use of the term ‘natural’ on food labels, the agency asked for information and public comment on the use of this term in the labeling of human food products,” shared a representative from the FDA.“We are currently reviewing comments submitted to the public docket on use of the term ‘natural’ on food labels to help determine next steps.”. .
How Is Stevia Processed?
It contains compounds called glycosides -- or more specifically, steviosides -- that produce the intensely sweet taste, but provide no calories.It can be used in its natural state, pulverizing the whole, dried stevia leaves, crumbling or crushing them into a green powder.The only processing involved in the production of this form of stevia is drying the leaves out, then using your fingers or a pestle to grind them up.The liquid becomes clear rather than green because the extraction process removes the chlorophyll, and white glycosides remain.It is made by boiling the stevia leaves in water, cooking them without any chemicals or alcohol, until the proper thickness or concentration is reached .Most commercial processes consist of water extraction, decoloration, and purification using ion-exchange resins, electrolytic techniques, or precipitating agents," according to SteviaPowder.com.Some powdered forms of stevia extract can contain maltodextrin, a food additive derived from cornstarch that may contain MSG. .
First, the rebaudioside is extracted from the stevia leaf, and then chemical solvents are added, including acetonitrile, which is toxic to the liver and is a carcinogen.Cargill to Settle Deceptive Marketing Lawsuit alleging Truvia, Stevia Based Sweetener is Not Natural.Since highly processed stevia starts as a natural substance but gets so significantly refined, the FDA finds it hard to label stevia packets and drops, so they label them as novel sweeteners (a combination of multiple types of sweeteners).Metabolism Change – Experiments showed that refined, processed stevia can cause interference in the way the body absorbs carbohydrates.Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beersheba, Israel, focused on stevia in a study that recently featured in Molecules.Green leaf stevia (shown here) are basically just dried and ground into powder form – that’s it!This is the type of stevia that’s been used in South America and Japan for centuries as a natural sweetener and health remedy. .
AVOID! The Toxic Truth About Stevia
But surprising new evidence indicates all stevia sold in grocery stores is highly processed with methyl alcohol or other toxic chemicals.However those white powders and clear drops we find in groceries have very little to do with stevia leaves.When you look at the chemical refinement process, stevia is no more natural than Aspartame, Splenda, NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet N Low, etc.The leaves can be dried and powdered into a pure sweetener about 40 times sweeter than sugar.These raw, unprocessed stevia leaves have a strong aftertaste akin to licorice, and taste artificial.Pure unprocessed stevia leaves and green powder are not widely available due to their strong aftertaste.If you live in Santa Fe like I do, buy them bulk at the Coop on Alameda near the almond butter grinder.In grocery stores, we find an entire shelf of “stevia” in the form of processed liquid drops and white powders – all highly refined chemical extractions from the leaves, in the hopes of reducing the aftertaste.Don’t be fooled by the name, that seemingly innocent stevia we find in grocery stores is a chemical concoction just like Splenda and Aspartame.In fact, it’s highly probable that you’re buying a blend that’s 99.8% Erythritol, a fermented sweetener made from genetically modified corn, with a pinch of refined stevioside powder.Even the world’s top stevia marketer, international sugar giant Cargill, top food manufacturer in the world with over $102.7 billion in 2016 sales, manufacturer of Truvia and PureVia with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, has all of its stevia produced in China.Check out my two preferred sugar-free sweeteners: Just Like Sugar Table Top, and PureLo LoHan by Swanson.To learn how Stevia leaves are processed into a toxic sweetener, it required a bit of digging.The stevia cell walls are so tough that they resist the usual methods of boiling or centrifuging.Producers aim to to extract the active sweet compound, stevioside, and remove the funny aftertaste.The world’s largest producers of stevia hold patents for undisclosed, proprietary extraction methods.These patents belong to industry giants such as Coca Cola, PureCircle in Malaysia and USA, Cargill – maker of Truvia and PureVia, JustBio – A Canadian Biotech firm, McNeil Nuritionals LLC- maker of Splenda, and Chengdu Waggott Pharmaceutical Company in Sichuan China.Here are 5 common stevia extraction methods I located in public patent records.One of the more popular methods of producing stevia extract was developed by D. Payzant, U.S. Pat.In summary, sweet stevia glycosides are extracted using methanol, a toxic, colorless, volatile flammable liquid alcohol.To extract the sweetness and discard a bitter aftertaste, this method also requires the use of various toxic solvents.The major drawback is still the presence of toxic solvents, and their complete removal is not possible and not considered commercially viable.Sato Toru, Japan Patent JP57005663 uses a new and improved process to extract sweetness from stevia hydrated in water containing alcohol, with the addition of calcium, iron, or aluminum.These compounds are then removed, passed through an acid-ication exchange resin using toxic solvents such as ethanol, acetone, etc.Again, removal of solvents is not commercially viable, therefore most stevioside products generally contain these toxins.Well, you can start with the knowledge that there’s almost NO pure stevia out there, except for that rare green powder with a funny aftertaste.A low serving size of one gram or less is a good indication that the manufacturer is taking full advantage of the legal loophole, and omitting certain chemicals or ingredients.Better Stevia liquid This is a NOW Foods blend of refined Stevioside with Vegetable Glycerin, a non-glycemic fermented sweetener.Better Stevia packets NOW Foods makes this product of powdered refined stevioside blended with Non-GMO Rice Maltodextrin.It often contains toxic chemicals, however the amounts are usually under the 0.5 grams per serving, therefore disclosure is not required.Green Leaf Stevia This is a proprietary blend by Swanson made of refined Stevioside powder and high-glycemic non-GMO rice Maltodextrin.Pure dried stevia leaf is available in a fine green powder that is 30 – 40 times sweeter than sugar.8 NuStevia This sugar substitute blends high glycemic GMO Corn Maltodextrin with refined stevioside.9 PureVia™ Made by Cargill, this sweetener blends genetically modified corn Erythritol with refined Stevioside or Rebaudioside.Pyure Organic Stevia A sweetener made from refined stevioside sold in sachets or liquid.Slimstevia A Chinese sweetener similar to Truvia made from genetically modified corn Erythritol with refined Stevioside and/or Rebaudioside.Stevia by Xymogen A sweeter blend of high-glycemic Maltodextrin and refined Stevioside Extract (Rebiana).Unrefined, dried leaves of the South American plant Stevia Rebaudiana are 30–45 times as sweet as table sugar.Find it as leaf particles or green powder in food coops and online.Its sweetness is isolated and concentrated using heat and chemicals into a powder c. 300 times sweeter than sugar, with reduced aftertaste.Refined Stevioside and Rebaudioside are often sold in proprietary blends with cane sugar, artificial sweeteners, or other chemicals and rebranded under the generic name of ”Stevia”.Sweet Serum A low-carb, low-glycemic liquid sweetener that contains organic raw agave inulin, Yacon root and Stevioside.Truvia™ A toxic blend of GMO corn Erythritol, refined Rebaudioside, and other ingredients by food giant Cargill.Now stevia is refined with toxic chemicals in private proprietary procedures deeply linked to the largest international corporations and the sugar industry.If you still believe your stevia to be healthy, check out the links below for a journey of deception and international intrigue that will make your hair stand up on end.Patent – Manufacturing method of pure natural high-purity stevioside – CN 102199177 (Translated from Chinese) http://www.google.com/patents/CN102199177A?cl=en.Patent – Process For Extraction And Debitterizing Sweet Compounds From Stevia Plants http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2016/0015066.html.Method for extracting active ingredient of natural product (stevia) and uses thereof CN 101138686 (Translated from Chinese) A http://www.google.com/patents/CN101138686A?cl=en.Cargill to Settle Deceptive Marketing Lawsuit alleging Truvia, Stevia Based Sweetener is Not Natural.
Stevia: Side Effects, Benefits, and More
They’re made from a highly refined stevia leaf extract called rebaudioside A (Reb-A).You can grow stevia plants at home and use the leaves to sweeten foods and beverages.It also left study participants satisfied and full after eating, despite the lower calorie intake.However, one noted limitation in this study is that it took place in a laboratory setting, rather than in a real-life situation in a person’s natural environment.Study participants consumed 20 milliliters of stevia extract daily for one month.Although stevia is considered safe for people with diabetes, brands that contain dextrose or maltodextrin should be treated with caution.A 2019 study reported a possible link between nonnutritive sweeteners, including stevia, and disruption in beneficial intestinal flora.The same study also suggested nonnutritive sweeteners may induce glucose intolerance and metabolic disorders.In some people, stevia products made with sugar alcohols may cause digestive problems, such as bloating and diarrhea.There’s some evidence to suggest that stevia may help fight or prevent some types of cancer.It found that many stevia glycoside derivatives were toxic to specific leukemia, lung, stomach, and breast cancer cell lines.sprinkled on unsweetened yogurt Some stevia brands, such as Stevia in the Raw, can replace table sugar teaspoon for teaspoon (as in sweetened beverages and sauces), unless you’re using it in baked goods.Stevia in the Raw recommends replacing half the total amount of sugar in your recipe with their product.You should add extra liquid or a bulking ingredient such as applesauce or mashed bananas to your recipe to make up for the lost sugar. .
Stevia: Health Benefits and Risks
In South America and Asia, people have been using stevia leaves to sweeten drinks like tea for many years.Major U.S. soda companies now sell diet cola soft drinks sweetened with stevia.The FDA says it doesn’t have enough information about their potential impact on your health, including kidney and cardiovascular problems.
Stevia Conspiracy Theory
Few days ago my good friend Mr. Richard Howes, Chief Innovation Manager, South African Cane Growers’ Association drew my attention to a webpage “Toxic Truth About Stevia”.I visited the webpage and was quite surprised to find some tedious piece of work deliberately aimed to spread misinformation about Stevia.It was really perplexing and I felt real clueless about the motives of some people who take these extraordinary efforts to create planned confusion.