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sweeteners, are not very healthy for us. Stevia is a plant indigenous to South America in the area of Paraguay and parts of Brazil used by the local Guarani Indians as a sweetening agent. We will demonstrate how to lose weight and how to lose belly fat by incorporating stevia into your diet when a sweetener is desired.
Stevia is a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the
sunflower family ,native to subtropical and tropical regions from western North America to South America. The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweet leaf, sugar leaf, or stevia is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sucrose. The plant's interest today, and for the last 30 or 40 years, is that it has a very high sweetening capacity. Stevia leaf is about 50 times sweeter than sugar, maybe more, and the compounds in stevia could be up to 300 or 400 times more sweet than sucrose (table sugar). So, the individual compounds in the leaf that convey its sweetening activity or flavor are highly concentrated sweetening agents with no caloric value whatsoever. The great thing about stevia is that you can flavor coffee or tea or drinks or cook with it without adding calories. Now, in today's society, where obesity is considered by public health officials at epidemic levels, and the problems that are associated with obesity, like diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease are also prevalent, we need to find ways to sweeten and flavor our foods and simultaneously reduce caloric intake. Particularly with all the high calorie drinks consumed by children that are most commonly sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
The availability of stevia varies from country to country. In a few countries, it has been available as a sweetener for decades or centuries; for example, stevia is widely used as a sweetener in Japan where it has been available for decades. In some countries, stevia is restricted or banned. In other countries, health concerns and political controversies have limited its availability; for example, the United States banned stevia in the early 1990s unless labeled as a supplement, but in 2008 approved rebaudioside-A extract as a food additive. Over the years, the number of countries in which stevia is available as a sweetener has been increasing.
In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) performed a thorough evaluation of recent experimental studies of stevioside and steviols conducted on animals and humans, and concluded that "stevioside and rebaudioside A are not genotoxic in vitro or in vivo. The report also found no evidence of carcinogenic activity. Furthermore, the report noted that "stevioside has shown some evidence of pharmacological effects in patients with hypertension or with type-2 diabetes but concluded that further study was required to determine proper dosage. The WHO's Joint Experts Committee on Food Additives has approved, based on long-term studies, an acceptable daily intake of steviol glycoside of up to 4 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
The alternatives to stevia are usually chemical sweeteners, in most cases, and a lot of people have safety concerns about them. The thing about stevia is that repeatedly, the data shows that stevia is safe. As a matter of fact, just this last June of 2008, the Joint Expert Committee for Food Additives--a special expert
committee of the World Health Organization and United Nations-after a three year review of all the chemistry, toxicology, pharmacology and clinical trials on stevia have concluded that stevia is a very safe plant extact. Based on this report, Australia has already approved, just recently, stevia as a food additive in Australia. It's already being used extensively, for like 30 years, in Japan and Korea.
On December 19, 2008. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the herb stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) as a safe food additive. Prior to this official approval from the FDA, several companies, including food giants Cargill and Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Wisdom Natural Brands, performed reviews self-affirming GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of stevia as a natural, no-calorie sweetener. The good news is some major cultural and food-based companies in the United States—multibillion dollar companies are putting money into stevia, putting money into science confirming the safety of stevia. The end result will be that the consumer, in the United States, presumably within the next few years, are going to be able to have access to sweeteners and products sweetened with stevia, and that would have nothing but a positive effect on public health.