By Dr. Joseph Mercola Mercola.com
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana), a perennial shrub native to South America, has a long history of use as a natural sweetener for food, medicines and beverages. Whole stevia contains a number of substances, including various stevioside compounds, rebaudiosides and glycoside.
Steviol glycosides, including rebaudioside A, rebaudioside D and rebaudioside M (Reb A, Reb D, Reb M respectively), are what provide the sweet taste, with Reb A being the sweetest. In its isolated, purified form, Reb A is 250 to 400 times sweeter than sugar.
Despite hundreds of years of safe use of stevia, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has labeled stevia leaf and crude stevia extracts “unsafe food additives,” granting GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status to certain high-purity steviol glycosides only.
In 2007, Hain Celestial Group Inc., maker of Celestial Seasonings herbal teas, received a warning letter from the FDA saying the stevia used in some of their teas may be dangerous to blood sugar and reproductive, cardiovascular and renal systems.
If this FDA action strikes you as backward, you’re not alone. More often than not, consuming whole plant products will be safer due to synergistic effects than using a single active ingredient by itself. Many suspect the FDA is protecting the sugar and artificial sweetener industries.
As noted by Rob McCaleb, president and founder of the Herb Research Foundation, “Sweetness is big money. Nobody wants to see something cheap and easy to grow on the market competing with the things they worked so hard to get approved.”
Beware of Cargill’s Genetically Engineered ‘Stevia’ Learn more: https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/buyer-beware-gmo-stevia-everywhere?utm_